The iPhone SE
The iPhone SE
  • Apple's new mid-range iPhone SE launches in South Africa on Monday.
  • It comes in three versions, and pricing starts at R9,999.
  • It's facing stiff competition from lower-priced rivals.
  • For more stories go to www.BusinessInsider.co.za.


Apple’s new mid-range iPhone SE will hit our shores on Monday, but it’s a bit pricier than we thought.

Local Apple distributor Core Group announced it has already started accepting pre-orders for the phone, and that it will start deliveries on Monday, indicating that you don’t need to worry about lockdown regulations keeping you from the newest Apple device.

The pricing is a bit higher than we expected, though.

In the US, the iPhone SE 64GB sells for $399 - which is equivalent to R7,400. But in South Africa, the iPhone SE will retail from R9,999 for the 64GB version, R12,499 for the 128GB version and R14,999 for the 256GB version

The iPhone SE's biggest asset is its A13 Bionic processor, the same powerful chip that drives the iPhone 11 and 11 Pro. That comes wrapped in a 4.7-inch design that looks and feels much like the iPhone 8 - yes, the iPhone SE is the first new iPhone to come with a Touch ID home button since 2017's iPhone 8.

Unlike last year's iPhone 11 and the rumoured upcoming iPhone 12, the iPhone SE isn't introducing attention-grabbing new features and technological advancements. Rather, it's positioned as a cheaper alternative aimed at those who can't afford to spend more than R15,000 on a phone.

With the iPhone SE, Apple is taking the next step in a strategy it has been pursuing for some time now - using the iPhone as a catalyst to lure people into its ecosystem and keeping them hooked for whatever come next.

However, the iPhone SE's pricing in South Africa means it’s facing quite a bit of competition locally, even from Apple itself. For instance, the 64GB iPhone 11 retails for R16,999, close enough to the top end of SE pricing to give prospective buyers pause.

Its biggest rivals in South Africa will be Samsung and Huawei. For R6,999 you can get a brand new Samsung A51, the sequel to one of last year’s top-selling smartphones. Although not as powerful as the iPhone SE, the Samsung also has a quad-lens camera with depth, ultra-wide, and macro lenses in addition to the standard wide lens. And if you’ve got a bit more to spend, you can reach the top-end of Samsung’s mid-range, the Samsung A71, for R10,999.

On the Huawei side of things, you can get a brand-new P40 Lite for R6,499 when it launches later this month. The P40 Lite has 128GB of internal storage and a four-lens camera, including one of a massive 48 megapixel. We don’t have pricing on the flagship P40 and P40 Pro models yet, but expect them to launch soon after their sibling in SA.

Finally, you could consider the slightly older Google Pixel 3XL, which Takealot is offering for R11,999. It’s not as powerful as the iPhone SE, but its camera and features have the Apple product beat.

While the iPhone SE certainly has a lot going for it, the phone is launching at a time when there's more competition than ever in the market for affordable smartphones. Some of those devices are even more feature-rich than the iPhone SE, particularly when it comes to the camera and display, even if they may not be quite as powerful.

- Additional reporting by Lisa Eadicicco

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