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Apple might skip annual iPhone SE hardware updates

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iPhone 7 vs iPhone SE

Analysts are predicting that Apple won't roll out a refresh of its lower-cost iPhone SE in the first half of 2017, which would mark a different hardware strategy between its larger iPhone and the SE.

According to Ming-Chi Kuo of KGI Securities, cited by MacRumors, Apple's first half of 2017 could show a decline in the total number of handsets sold, in part because the Cupertino-based company has no iPhone SE refresh in the works.

If this is accurate, it would be a shunning of Apple's annual iPhone updates, as the SE was released in March this year, about six months before the firm's newest flagships were unveiled in the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus.

Kuo noted that the predicted fall in demand is likely to be due to a lacklustre performance for Apple's handsets in China, and will be compounded by the lack of a new SE model. However, 2017 will be Apple's 10 year anniversary of the iPhone, and the company is reported to be working on a significant hardware redesign for its flagship phones to mark the occassion. That new iPhone could well help balance out any slowing sales across older models, depending on what exactly is announced.

Overall, Kuo predicts that Apple could ship as many as five million fewer devices in the second quarter of next year, in comparison to Q2 2016 and that the hardware maker is likely to come under intense pressure to maintain its hardware margins in the face of falling shipment numbers, which could explain the decision not to refresh the iPhone SE in the first half of next year, if Kuo is correct.

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