Apple’s newest iPhone is also its cheapest! In this article we will look at the price of the iPhone SE and examine why the iPhone SE is cheaper than the iPhone XR despite having a newer processor. We’ll also look at whether the iPhone SE is the cheapest iPhone ever sold by Apple - and whether the price is fair, with the price in the UK and elsewhere considerably higher than the price in the US. Here’s everything you need to know about the price of Apple’s cheapest iPhone.
iPhone SE price
The 2020 version of Apple’s iPhone SE starts at £419 in the UK and $399 in the US. In Europe it costs €489. In Australia it costs $749.
The iPhone SE pricing is as follows:
If you do a currency exchange you may be surprised to see that the prices don’t compare very favourably to the US price of $399.
Here’s what US$399 converts to according to the exchange rate at the time of writing:
That doesn’t look like a good exchange, but obviously we have to allow for various costs of doing business in overseas territories, such as importing goods, in addition to the usual currency fluctuations that Apple usually reference when adjusting the price according to the territory.
There is one other major difference in the prices quoted though. Apple doesn’t include sales tax in the US. Therefore you would need to add around 10% to the price (or deduct around 20% from the price) to get a better idea of what consumers will be paying.
Read about the latest news about the iPhone SE 2020 here.
Rip off Britain?
Even when you allow for the fact that Apple quotes the price before sales tax in the US there is still something a bit odd about the pricing in the US and UK (and there may well be for other territories).
Often you will see an Apple product with the same price in UK pounds as it has in US dollars. For example, nearly every Mac has a like-for-like price in the UK compared to the US. There are even products where the UK pounds figure is below the US equivalent - see the iPads below. Here are a few examples of Apple’s unique ‘exchange rate’ at work:
- MacBook Air, from $999/$999
- MacBook Pro, from $1,299/£1,299
- iPad Air, from $499/£479
- iPad Pro, from $799/£769
- AirPods Pro $249/£249
- Watch Series 5, from $399/£399
The one that really stands out is the Watch Series 5 - a $399 product sold for £399 in the UK. Here is proof that Apple can convert the price more favourably. If we’d seen the iPhone SE at this price we’d probably forgive Apple, but Apple’s charging more even by its usual calculations.
So, why has Apple added a few extra pounds on to the price of the iPhone SE?
Why does Apple charge more for iPhones in the UK
The iPhone SE is not the only iPhone that costs more in the UK than it does in the US. Here’s how the other iPhones compare:
- iPhone XR, from $599/£629
- iPhone 11, from $699/£729
- iPhone 11 Pro, from $999/£1,049
- iPhone 11 Pro Max, from $1,099/£1,149
What’s interesting is if you compare the 2016 price of the iPhone SE. When that original model launched in 2016 it cost £379/$399 for the 16GB version and £429/$449 for the 64GB version. While we appreciate that the value of the pound has fallen since 2016 the comparison between what Apple made UK customers pay in 2016 compared to 2020 isn’t very favourable.
We don’t know why Apple charges more in the UK for the iPhones than any of its other products. The company tends to justify the price difference by referring to higher operating costs: could Apple be passing its UK tax bill onto consumers? Another possibility is that in the US Apple is working more closely with the networks who could be subsidising the price - it does after all include options to buy your iPhone with one of four US carriers on its own website.
Is the iPhone SE the cheapest iPhone?
Whether you can refer to the iPhone SE as Apple’s cheapest iPhone depends on where you are based. If you are in the US then the price is the same as it was in 2016 when the first version of the iPhone SE first launched. That price was cheaper than the launch price of the iPhone 5c, which cost $549 unlocked when it went on sale in 2013. It’s a good price and people are suitably impressed.
However, the price of the 2016 version of the iPhone SE (we compare the 2016 SE with the 2020 SE here) was lower in the UK than the equivalent phone is now in 2020. In 2016 the phone cost £379 rather than £419. As in the US, the iPhone 5c when it launched cost more (£469).
It might not be the cheapest iPhone Apple has ever sold in the UK, but it’s still a decent price, despite everything we’ve said above about Apple’s incomprehensible pricing calculations.
Prior to the launch of the iPhone SE 2 Apple was selling the iPhone 8 (we compare it to the SE here) for £479/$449 for the 64GB model and £529/$499 for the 128GB variant. Before it discontinued the iPhone 7 (also compared here) in September 2019 Apple sold that model for £449/$449 for the 32GBn model. For some years now it has been Apple’s practice to continue to sell a few-year-old iPhone at a low price. With the 2020 iPhone SE Apple has introduced a brand new iPhone with the same processor as the flag-ship models for a lower price than it was selling a two-year-old phone for just a few days previously.
If it wasn’t for the fact that the iPhone SE costs so much less in the US we’d be really happy with the price of the 2020 iPhone SE in the UK.
Want to pick up an iPhone SE for less than Apple charges? We recommend you check out our iPhone SE deals article where we will be recording all the best iPhone SE deals, or check our tool below for the latest contract prices.
You can use our tool below, which updates automatically, to see the best price for the device: