As the iPhone 14 Plus flops, the iPhone SE dies (allegedly)

Apple has some thinking to do about its next move with the iPhone line for 2023.

There are a couple of iPhone tidbits floating around in the rumor mill that I wanted to mention, if only because it signals a sort of disarray that’s not very common with Apple’s iPhone line. The iPhone 14 Plus, an $899 iPhone 14 with a larger 6.7-inch screen, is reportedly selling so poorly that the company is actively considering lowering the starting price. It’s also leading to a reevaluation of the upcoming iPhone 15 line, according to the report. In addition, the rumored fourth-generation iPhone SE – the one that looks almost exactly like an iPhone 11 – is apparently cancelled due to demand for mid-range smartphone shrinks to new lows.

The whole iPhone 14 Plus situation is bonkers. If you asked any tech reporter or creator when the iPhone 14 series was released, they’d tell you the 14 Plus had the best chance of being a smash-hit. People love big phones at cheap prices, and while $899 is far from cheap, it’s $300 less than the 14 Pro Max which has the same size display. The iPhone 14 Plus also has the best battery life of any member of the iPhone 14 family, which was expected to be a major factor in its success.

But alas, it seems that no one is buying it. Both preorders and general sales have been extremely low, while the rest of the lineup continues to succeed. To this day, it remains hard to buy an iPhone 14 Pro or 14 Pro Max due to high demand and issues at Foxconn in China. Meanwhile, there’s more than enough iPhone 14s to go around, let alone 14 Plus units.

The iPhone 14 Plus was supposed to pick up the slack from the iPhone mini lineup, which only lasted two generations due to low demand. There was still enough interest for a sequel to the iPhone 12 mini, though, as the iPhone 13 mini succeeded it a year later. But right now, it doesn’t seem like an iPhone 15 Plus is even a possibility. That alternative-to-the-base-iPhone slot in Apple’s lineup will probably turn over again in 2023, but who’s to say what shape it’ll take.

iPhone SE 4 render from Jon Prosser.
Source: John Prosser/FRONTPAGETECH

Then there’s the fourth-generation iPhone SE which… ugh, this is kinda depressing. Famed Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo was among the first to report that the next iPhone SE will probably get cancelled or postponed due to “consistently lower-than-expected shipments of mid-to-low-end iPhones (e.g., SE 3, 13 mini, and 14 Plus).” The fourth-gen SE was rumored to come with an iPhone 11-esque design and finally drop the Home button, which is a huge deal considering the SE line has stuck with thick bezels and a tiny screen since its inception in 2016.

If that phone gets canned, it likely means some major changes will be coming to the iPhone line. I can’t imagine Apple won’t sell a phone for under $500, so they’ll probably stick with the current-gen SE, but for how long? Similarly, if a miniature flagship iPhone nor a Plus-sized iPhone works, what will?

Right now, Apple knows it killed it with the iPhone 14 Pro and 14 Pro Max. Sales have been consistently high since their launch, people can’t stop talking about them on social media, and they’re fundamentally great phones. Everything priced below $999 is probably under a microscope, and there’s bound to be some shifts in how the next iPhones are released as a result.