A new rumor stemming from German site iPhone-ticker.de suggests that the upcoming low-cost iPhone — either the iPhone 9 or iPhone SE 2, we’re not sure yet — could land as early as March 31. It could then go on sale on April 3.
While these two dates are just rumors and should be viewed as such until we have direct confirmation from Apple, they do make sense. March 31 is a Tuesday which is when Apple traditionally holds its events. April 3 is a Friday which is when the company traditionally releases its phones in stores. And last time Apple launched a low-cost iPhone (the original iPhone SE) was in the month of March, so this all appears to line up.
If this rumored iPhone 9 launch date ends up being true, though, that should make Google very nervous.
According to rumors, the iPhone 9 will be priced to directly compete with mid-range devices such as Google’s own upcoming Pixel 4a series. At a supposed retail price of $399, the iPhone 9 will likely have the same or similar starting price as the Google Pixel 4a — and launch a month earlier.
We expect the Pixel 4a to see its debut on May 12. By then, a portion of the consumers who are looking for a low-cost smartphone solution may have already decided on the iPhone 9.
Although we expect the two phones to be matched in price, they won’t be the same as far as specs. The iPhone 9 will likely have the same chipset as the iPhone 11, which is definitively a flagship processor. Meanwhile, the Google Pixel 4a will not likely have a Snapdragon 800-series chip.
However, there is a possibility that the Pixel 4a could have a 5G variant, something which the iPhone 9 will almost certainly not have. This could end up being the deciding factor for consumers.
Regardless, Apple and Google have a lot riding on these phones. With the flagship market overcrowded in the United States and more people around the world looking for cheap-but-still-powerful alternatives, there’s a lot of money to be made from a successful mid-range phone line. Google has a head start on Apple, but the iPhone 9 could turn the tide.