Brown’s Bytes – The Cost of iPhone in The Enterprise

Welcome to Brown’s Bytes! Your weekly insight from Mobliciti’s CTO Andy Brown. Follow #brownsbytes

20th April 2018

The rumour mills are gearing up…

Apple are set to hold World Wide Developer Conference (WWDC) in June and there are a number of “leaks” that new iPhone(s) are on the way and, based on its age, the most obvious target for a refresh is the iPhone SE.

This is therefore interesting to the Enterprise market, who must be the largest (and arguably only) customers of the SE.

Personally, I have always had a bit of an issue with the iPhone SE. Launched back in 2016 it is really an iteration of the iPhone 5S which itself was an iteration of the iPhone 5. The DNA of the current SE can be traced back to 2012… this is an eternity in the mobile phone market.

And it shows! Even when it was launched the iPhone 5 looked rather small compared to what Samsung was doing with the Galaxy S3/S4/Note3 ranges. Pick up the SE today and it really does feel like it is from another time. Yes, it has a more modern CPU and the latest OS, but the screen is absolutely tiny. I’d need my glasses on to even use one these days!

So why do Enterprises buy them? Simple really… they’re the cheapest way into the iPhone world and from a cost perspective, if you’re buying lots of them it can make a massive difference to the budgets.

Based on the Apple UK Site this morning the current listed iPhones and costs are (from):

iPhone SE£349
iPhone 6S£449
iPhone 6S Plus£549
iPhone 7£549
iPhone 7 Plus£669
iPhone 8£699
iPhone 8 Plus£799
iPhone X£999

Putting aside the fact that you can still add a brand-new iPhone 6S to the basket (almost a #brownsbyte there on its own), you can see that even at list price you could drop the mobile spend by two thirds if everyone was given an iPhone SE instead of an iPhone X.

The problem in the Enterprise is that deploying an iPhone SE does rather make your users feel like second class citizens. Even though it has an Apple logo on it, I’m not sure it screams success (if a phone ever can, but this really does seem to matter to users).

We’ve seen a number of issues with cheaper handsets:

  • Unloved phones do not get looked after well by users which results in higher returns/swaps.
  • Users disengage with them and they end up being used as a very expensive Voice Only handset
  • The devices run out of memory, creating support overheads and implementation issues for new Apps
  • Phones just get left in drawers in extreme cases!

So, while buying the cheapest iPhone makes sense on the budget side, I’m not sure the ROI is anywhere near the same as a result. This should definitely be considered as part of a device strategy.

Now to the SE2 rumours… please take this with a pinch of salt as Apple are clearly doing a better job this time of keep a lid on things. So far, I’ve seen all kinds of conflicting reports, but broadly they seem to fall into two camps:

  1. The SE2 will be a bigger phone but will have a much bigger price tag to match – apparently somewhere near the £549 level in the UK.
  2. The SE2 will look like what I can only describe as a mini, chunky iPhone X and remain the entry level phone (although I suspect Apple would put the price up anyway – my guess would be £449 so the iPhone 6S can be taken off the list).

Either way I’d suspect you’ll need to budget more if you’re in the market for low end Apple going forward.

And of course, all this is rumour and subject to change!

I’ve waffled on enough this week! Next week I will follow up on this by seeing what else you can get for SE cost price that’s suited to the Enterprise market…

In the meantime, please do get in touch if you’d like help with procurement of Apple. We have a number of innovative options that really can open up the rest of the iPhone range without blowing the budgets.