Target said to be returning iPhone SE stock to Apple

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iPhone SE
Recent rumors have promised an iPhone SE refresh this month.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

Target is reportedly returning unsold iPhone SE units to Apple ahead of a rumored March event that could bring an improved model.

A leaked memo reveals that stores were instructed to send back certain models of Apple’s most affordable smartphone by today, March 1.

Apple launched the iPhone SE a year ago this month. With high-end specs packed into a throwback design nicked from the iPhone 5, the tiny terror became a surprisingly big hit in the phablet era.

Still, the iPhone SE is certainly ripe for a refresh.

iPhone SE update coming soon?

According to a recent rumor, the device will get updated sometime this month (possibly at an Apple event that will showcase a new iPad Pro lineup and a red iPhone 7). Apple is expected to increase iPhone SE storage while retaining the existing design and specifications.

The leaked Target memo strengthens this rumor. The corporate communique instructs Target stores to return certain iPhone SE models to Apple this week.

“iPhone SE devices that are to be returned include six unlocked 16GB and 64GB models in Gold, Silver, Rose Gold, and Space Gray, and two Sprint models,” reports MacRumorswhich obtained a copy of the Target memo.

Of course, the move could mean very little. It’s normal for retailers to return stock that isn’t selling. And it could be that Target is simply struggling to shift certain models of the iPhone SE. However, it’s possible that the return is designed to make way for updated models in the pipelin.

Some analysts expect that Apple will introduce 32GB and 128GB storage options to replace the existing 16GB and 64GB models of the iPhone SE. That would give users twice the space for the same money, possibly boosting sales of the iPhone SE ahead of an even bigger update later this year.

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  • ukw

    I’ve been using iPhone SE for like 6 months now and I can say 16 GB is a real struggle. Other than that I’m pleased with it and it’s a good, snappy phone.

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  • Grayson

    Another storage option and no spec bump? I feel bad for iPhone users who like tiny phones.

    • Greg_the_Rugger

      If they are doing a red iPhone 7, why not a red SE phone?

    • ukw

      Well honestly if you need to buy a phone this expensive every year you’ve got a problem.

      • Grayson

        Or you’re an app developer and need the latest phone to best do your job, or you’re simply a tech enthusiast that enjoys it as a hobby and has money to burn. I’m both. But I don’t get the SE anyways, I was just commenting on it. Too small for me, and too outdated specs as well.

      • ukw

        Indeed, that might be the case for some, but lets be honest that most of the iPhone buyers are not devs. I like the form factor of iPhone SE. I mean sure it’s kinda tiny, but it does it’s job and its easy to use with one hand and you don’t drop it by accident like a bigger phone. Outdated no, same CPU, same ram, same back camera like iphone 6s, same pixel density, better battery life and fewer problems than 6s as far I’ve read. So in the end this is the better phone.

      • Grayson

        6s is from 2015. It’s 2017.

      • ukw

        There you have it. You’ve become a tech zombie Mr. its 2017 so I have to get a better tech because the old one still does everything flawless, but Its not 2017 so I need something new!

      • Grayson

        Nah, it’s not like that. But I do think the iPhone SE is outdated. The 2015 processor is actually the newest thing in it. The screen tech in that bad boy is straight outta 2012. And it’s not the year of the tech that makes me dislike it either, it’s the fact that the screen just doesn’t look very good compared to the latest screens to me.

      • ukw

        Indeed, screen its not the strong point, but processor, back camera and ram and I think even battery are all newer. Bottom line is that we all know there are better screens out there outside apple and that’s the thing that might make them switch to oled in the future.

  • The Calm Critic

    Or round the battery up to 2000mAh. No I’m not kidding I mean how hard is it for people to “lug” a 4″ phone that’s just slightly thicker.

    • ukw

      They wanna make some cash from scrapping components off other iphones, not make an entirely new phone that will be expensive to make and rise the price into flagship territory.