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.