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Apple Is Reportedly Launching New Entry-Level iPhone SE As Soon As This Week

The phone will reportedly cost $399 and go on sale as soon as Friday, according to 9to5Mac.
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Apple is planning to launch a new budget iPhone imminently, according to a report. 

The Apple blog 9to5Mac reported late Thursday that Apple could open up orders for its long-rumored budget iPhone as soon as Friday. The forthcoming phone is called the iPhone SE. 

Apple's  (AAPL) - Get Apple Inc. Report retail stores outside of China are closed until further notice, but it is still selling devices on its website. 

According to 9to5Mac, the phone will come in three color options and storage tiers, and share a similar design with the iPhone 8. The blog did not confirm the price of the entry-level phone, but TF International Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said in a previous report that the iPhone SE will sell for $399 and up. 

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The iPhone SE shares a name with a prior budget phone released by Apple in 2016, but Apple will refer to it as the 2020 version. 

Apple's iPhone sales this year are expected to drop owing to the coronavirus outbreak. 

In addition to the retail store closures, Apple has moved its annual developer conference, WWDC, online and reportedly considered delaying the launch of its 5G phone slated for a fall release. 

The company was also hit hard by widespread supply chain disruptions in China during the height of the country's coronavirus outbreak. Factories in China have begun to resume normal operations, but the outbreak also significantly weakened demand for electronics and other products. 

Analysts expect smartphone sales to sink to their lowest level in a decade this year, with the research firm CCS Insights projecting a 13% drop in sales in 2020 followed by a rebound next year.