Apple’s new iPhone SE is, oh, whatever you want to believe.
It’s an Android challenger. It’s a small, cheap iPhone. It’s the gateway to a lifetime in the Apple ecosystem.
I’m guessing however, that it’s aimed at those who are really tired of paying silly money for a phone and just want to take nice pictures, follow all the world’s bad news, look at Instagram and text a lot.
Which made me think, yet again, of my wife.
Regular readers and those regularly enduring difficult Sunday mornings will remember that when my wife saw the Samsung Galaxy S20, she wasn’t moved. She’s been perfectly happy with her Galaxy S7 for four years, yet knows it may soon need to be put down.
On the whole, she’s viscerally anti-Apple. Yet, I conducted an experiment to see if the iPhone SE 2020 would stir her.
My imprecise research method — shameful, given that my wife is a scientist — was to show her Apple’s new SE 2020 ad. (Well, I couldn’t put the phone in her hand, could I?)
Her reactions were quite something.
The ad is, of course, yet another where the phone is made to look effortlessly beautiful and the words offer some glorious product benefits.
While the music sounds like every other iPhone launch ad you can remember.
At the beginning, the phone appears to emerge from the usual thick colored paint from which so many rise and hover.
“It floats. That’s nice,” said my wife.
No, she’s not easily swayed. Still, the next thing that caught her eye was the word small.
“Small’s nice because I have small hands,” she said. “That’s why I wouldn’t get a Galaxy Note, even though it’s Samsung and I like Samsung, because it’s huge and I’d have to use all my hands and feet to operate it.”
She has, you see, been researching phones a little of late. She hasn’t said much about it, so I assume she’s yet to be swayed.
The new SE was making progress, it seemed. Still, she’s not a gadget nerd. She’ll never even be a member of a gadget herd. I imagined, then, that this new iPhone might have more appeals.
Her next words: “What’s a bionic chip? Why do I care? Is it like Robocop?”
Yes, she’s funny. But it’s a fair observation. Those words sound good to the nerdly community. They sound like mere nerdly words to real human beings.
Apple’s next enticement also fell flat: “What’s 4K? Is that, like, 4,000? 4,000 what?”
Just when things had begun to go well, things took even more of a difficult turn.
“Oh, good. I can drop it in water. For 30 minutes,” she said. With a tinge of sarcasm, I feared.
I reminded her that a very good friend of ours adored her original SE until she dropped it down a toilet in a bar. The phone drowned. My wife bowed her head in remembrance and crossed herself.
She was pleased about the apparently good battery life, yet surprised Apple was pushing privacy in the ad: “Privacy built in? I thought it was always built in with Apple. I thought they won’t share my movements with stupid companies that want to sell me things I don’t need.”
We could have been submerged in that discussion and not emerge for 30 minutes. What’s interesting, though, is that Apple’s pushing of privacy now seems — to those not so versed in Cupertino’s wares — a given.
One element of the ad caused her to stop.
“Less to spend? Wait, this isn’t very expensive? What does that mean?” she asked with something approaching curiosity.
She asked to see that part of the ad again, then read it out loud and said: “Lots to love. Less to spend. Is it $500? I’ll take it.”
“What do mean, is it $500?,” I asked.
“When I look at the trade-ins, that’s the amount. I’m not going to pay $1000. That’s just stupid,” she explained. But $500 was apparently the price that would tempt her.
“What if I told you it’s $399?,” I ventured.
“Great. I’ll take it,” she said.
I’m not convinced she’ll switch to this phone quite so easily. With these sorts of purchases, she’ll want to take a look at the phone, hold it and see how it feels. She has no idea, for example, that this “small 4.7-inch” phone isn’t all that small. It’s iPhone 8 size.
Then again, my wife’s impulses seem in tune with Apple’s strategy for this phone.
Let’s hope Apple stores open fairly soon. Then I’ll see if I can take her over to the Dark Side, a place from which she may never emerge.