iPhone SE Fails to Make A Splash

Note: This post was originally published on April 4th, 2016; we have provided an update with new data, as of April 26th 2016, at the end of the post.*

 The first weekend for Apple’s new smaller devices has come to an end. Both the iPhone SE and the 9.7 inch iPad Pro have received positive industry reviews, but we wanted to see if consumers reacted in the same fashion. We also wanted to see how the first weekend for these devices compared to their predecessors. Apple took a chance releasing smaller devices out of cycle - did it pay off?


iPhone SE - Lackluster Adoption in First Weekend

After one full weekend on sale, the iPhone SE managed to grab only 0.1% of the iPhone market, as measured by device adoption:



The new phone was unable to take away the iPhone 5’s share, the model it most closely resembled, suggesting that small-screen lovers have not yet been convinced to upgrade from their 5 models to the new iPhone SE. While the 5S, 5 and 5C all lost market share compared to two weeks ago (by 1 percentage point each), the 6, 6S and 6S Plus all gained share (by 1 percentage point for the 6 and 6S Plus and 3 percentage points for the 6S). The increase in share for the larger screen phones could be due to the deals many retailers, including Walmart, are having this month.

The iPhone SE was never a device that was going to attract early adopters. Both the look and features of the new device have been done before, so early adopters likely disregarded this model from the start. Supporting this view is the fact that the new phone did not attract long lines this weekend, and many stores were reporting 90% availability of the new device.

Additionally, the iPhone SE also had the lowest adoption in the first weekend of its availability compared to the iPhone 5S and all the “6” models.



The larger screen models and the iPhone 5S all had better opening weekends than the iPhone SE. In 2013, the iPhone 5S captured .9% of the Apple iPhone market in its first weekend of sales. Even the larger “Plus” models released in 2014 and 2015 (the 6 Plus and 6S Plus) fared better than the SE, at .3% each compared to the SE’s .1%.

For the non-early adopters, the demand for the SE could grow steadily as upgrades become available. Because the features are largely the same as the previous two years’ models, the SE doesn’t exactly scream “Buy me now!” Consumers who want the smaller SE phone may be waiting until their annual upgrade.

Only time will tell if consumers really wanted a smaller screen or if there is just another device for consumers (and companies) to manage during an already tumultuous time for mobile.


New iPad Pro - Steady Performer During First Weekend of Availability

The new 9.7 inch iPad Pro is the same size and weight as the iPad Air 2 but similar to the iPad Pro in features and hardware. As it turns out, the 9.7 inch iPad Pro performed very similar to these two models in their first weekends of sales, grabbing 0.4% adoption within the tablet market (compared to .4% in 2014 for the iPad Air 2 and .3% for 2015’s iPad Pro).



The new iPad has been well received, suggesting that there is potential for this model to make a long-term impact on the iPhone tablet market. A model that is easy to transport, but also provides top-notch performance, could be what tablet users have been looking for.


*April 26, 2016 Update

During its first weekend of sales, the iPhone SE only captured 0.1% of the market. As of today, April 26 2016, almost one month into the device being available in the market, the new phone has captured 0.4% of the iPhone market.

The early adoption of the SE is still lower than previous Apple models, including the larger 6 models in their first month of their respective sales. When it comes to similar models, the iPhone 5S and 5C, the iPhone SE is also behind both. In the first month of their releases, the iPhone 5S had 3% of the market share, while the iPhone 5C had 1%. However, given the nature of the SE model as one that is likely to appeal to users once they are due for an upgrade, this is still not a surprise. 



Localytics is the leading mobile engagement platform across more than 2.7 billion devices and 37,000 mobile and web apps. Localytics processes 120 billion data points monthly. For this study, Localytics examined over 100 million iPhone devices and over 50 Million iPad devices. For this analysis, we examined the relative adoption of iPhones and iPads in the first weekend after each device's release. The time frames for the iPhones were: iPhone 5S (Sept 20th-23rd 2013), iPhone 6/6 Plus (Sept 19th-22nd 2014), iPhone 6S/6S Plus (Sept 25th-28th), iPhone SE (Mar 31st-Apr 3rd 2016). The time frames for the iPads were: iPad Air 2 (Oct 22nd-25th 2014), iPad Pro (Nov 11th-14th 2015), iPad Pro 9.7 inch (Mar 31st-Apr 3rd 2016). The data of the original post is as of April 3rd, 2016 at 5 pm.