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Why Apple is bringing the iPhone 6 back from the dead

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This is nothing new for Apple. A few years back, Apple stopped selling the iPhone 4s in the US and Europe, but it carried on offering it in selected territories such as India. (Image: Hale Erguvenc, Getty Images)

Thought that the iPhone 6 was long dead and buried? Think again. Apple has resurrected the old handset in certain countries. But why?

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So far, Apple has brought back the iPhone 6 — first released in September 2014 and then discontinued September 2016 — in India, China, and Taiwan.

There are a few interesting things about this iPhone resurrection.

  • First off, it’s being marketed as a limited edition. Whether it’s a true limited-edition release or just scarcity marketing remains to be seen.
  • It’s actually a previously unreleased 32GB iPhone 6. Originally, the iPhone 6 came in 16GB, 64GB, and 128GB flavors. This storage change brings it in line with the entry iPhone 6s and iPhone 7, while offering double the storage of the iPhone SE. It is unknown if Apple has made any other hardware changes to the device.
  • Only one choice of finish is on offer in each country: Gold in China and Taiwan, and Space Grey in India. These choices are more than likely based on which finish is the most popular in these territories.
  • Pricing seems to position the new iPhone 6 handsets as a bit cheaper than the iPhone SE.
  • It’s unclear if these are new smartphones or remanufactured handsets (new iPhones built from components reclaimed from old iPhones).

So, what’s going on here?

This is nothing new for Apple. A few years back, Apple stopped selling the iPhone 4s in the US and Europe, but it carried on offering it in selected territories such as India. The idea was to offer the older model as a cheap (or at least cheaper) gateway into the iPhone ecosystem without having to release a completely new handset, thus saving on design, R&D, and so on.

But then Apple changed things up and released the iPhone SE.

The idea behind the iPhone SE was to release a new handset custom designed to be a low-cost alternative to the iPhone. Also, because it went back to the iPhone 5/5s design, it also appealed to those who wanted a smaller display.

But that smaller display might not be a big draw in some places, and so now it looks like Apple is using an iPhone 6 with upgraded storage to woo those not interested in a device with a 4-inch display with a 4.7-inch display.

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