iPhone SE launches in Singapore with little fanfare

It was an iPhone launch the like of which has not been seen in recent years: no snaking queues or rush by consumers eager to be the first one here to get their hands on the latest model.

The petite 4-inch iPhone SE was released yesterday in 12 countries, including Singapore.

But unlike previous unveilings of flagship Apple iPhone models, this was a relatively muted affair, with no overnight queues - despite two out of the three telcos not offering pre-orders as they have in the past.

Last September's launch of the Apple 6s and 6s Plus saw fans line up a day early even in the midst of the haze.

Both M1 and StarHub accepted only walk-in sales for the SE yesterday, though Singtel took pre-orders.

The iPhone SE is a very different phone from Apple's flagship models, being a mid-range phone with a smaller form.

With a display size of 4 inches, it is much smaller than the 4.7-inch and 5.5-inch displays of the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus respectively.

It is also significantly cheaper. The 16GB and 64GB models cost $658 and $828 respectively without telco subsidies, compared with the $1,048 price tag on the 16GB iPhone 6s.

IDC Asia-Pacific Research manager Kiranjeet Kaur attributed the slow response to the fact that the phone is targeted at a niche segment of users who want a small phone due to personal preference.

"Everyone has moved on to larger screens," she said.

"Singaporeans are hooked on their smartphones and consuming content like videos and games. So a small screen is not what fulfils their requirement at this point."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 01, 2016, with the headline 'iPhone SE launches in S'pore with little fanfare'. Print Edition | Subscribe