Apple Rolls Out ‘Affordable’ iPhone During Global Coronavirus Pandemic

Apple Inc. (AAPL) is launching a smaller iPhone, which the tech giant named its “most affordable” second-generation smartphone device, at a time when the global economy is expected to fall into a recession amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The smaller iPhone SE priced at $399 will be available to pre-order on Apple’s website and via Apple Store app from  April 17, with delivery expected to start April 24, in the U.S. and more than 40 other countries and regions. The new iPhone comes with a 4.7-inch HD display, paired with Touch ID, the same processor chip as the iPhone 11 and iPhone 11 Pro, and a 12-megapixel camera.

“The first iPhone SE was a hit with many customers who loved its unique combination of small size, high-end performance and affordable price; the new second-generation iPhone SE builds on that great idea and improves on it in every way, including our best-ever single-camera system for great photos and videos, while still being very affordable,” said Phil Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing.

Apple shares advanced 1.2% to $287.89 in pre-market trading in the U.S. on Thursday.

Five-star analyst Harsh Kumar at Piper Sandler reiterated his Buy rating on the stock  with a $300 price target, saying that Apple’s second-generation iPhone is the “right phone at the right time.”

“The new, lower cost offering is a great way to preserve Apple’s customer base given the increasing competitive pressure in China from 5G phones and the consumer feeling pressure in the current economic environment,” according to Kumar.

Moreover, Kumar contends that the timing “corresponds perfectly” with U.S. customers who may be receiving their stimulus checks over the next several days, and it should also “help fill the gap” until Apple releases its 5G offering.

Overall, Apple has a Moderate Buy analyst consensus rating based on 26 Buys, 7 Holds and 2 Sells. The $308.42 average price target indicates a 7.6% upside potential for the shares in the coming 12 months. (See Apple stock analysis on TipRanks).

In addition, Apple announced that a portion of iPhone SE sales will go directly to global funds dedicated to provide coronavirus assistance to countries in need of diagnostics treatment, lab equipment, public safety communications, supply chain support and more.

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