Taipei, March 11 (CNA) The latest iPhone SE got off to a good start in Taiwan on Thursday, with consumers quickly booking the phone on the first day it could be reserved, according to two of Taiwan's big three telecom companies.
Chunghwa Telecom Co. said its full allotment of the third-generation iPhone SE phones that could be reserved on Thursday were snapped up in five minutes, though it did not divulge the total number of phones available.
Rival Far EasTone Telecommunications Co. said almost 10,000 people made reservations on its website for the iPhone SE and iPhone 13 series models in new colors on Thursday, but it also did not say how many iPhone SE phones were available to be reserved.
Customers making reservations did not have to put any money down and will pay for their phones when they pick them up on or after March 18, the first day they will be available.
Apple will open up the new iPhone SE to pre-orders globally, including in Taiwan, starting at 9 p.m. Friday Taipei time.
Taiwan Mobile Co., Taiwan's other leading telecom operator, opted against a reservation system and instead will join Apple in accepting pre-orders, in which consumers have to pay for the phone they order in full, beginning Friday night.
The new phone will be available in stores starting on March 18.
According to Apple, the new 4.7-inch iPhone SE is the most affordable iPhone with a starting price of NT$13,900 (US$489), supports 5G connectivity, and features a 12-megapixel ƒ/1.8 aperture wide camera that offers computational photography benefits.
It also has upgrades, such as the A15 Bionic processor that will power advanced camera capabilities and improve photo editing and power-intensive functions, and is equipped with the same glass used on the back of the iPhone 13 Pro and iPhone 13, which were unveiled in September 2021.
The new iPhone SE will be available in three colors -- midnight, starlight and red -- and its price with storage of 64GB, 128GB and 256GB, will be NT$13,900, NT$15,500 and NT$19,000, respectively, Apple said.
Chunghwa Telecom said almost 50 percent of its iPhone SE reservations were for the starlight color, and roughly 30 percent favored the midnight color.
The starlight 256GB model was the most popular type of phone reserved, followed by the midnight 256GB model and the starlight 128GB model, the company said.
Far EasTone, meanwhile, said almost 30 percent of its reservations were for the 128GB model in the midnight color.
All three telecom companies will offer packages that provide the iPhone SE in exchange for long-term subscriptions.
Chunghwa Telecom subscribers can get the phone for free if they pay NT$1,199-1,399 per month for 30-48 months, while Far EasTone subscribers get a free iPhone SE by paying NT$999-NT$1,399 per month for 30-48 months.
Taiwan Mobile's program will give subscribers a free iPhone SE if they pay NT$999 to MT$1,399 per month for 30-36 months.
In addition to the new iPhone SE, Apple is also making the iPhone 13 Pro and iPhone 13 Max available in a new color, alpine green, and is now offering the iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 mini in green.
Those models could be reserved Thursday and pre-ordering in Taiwan will also start later Friday, with the phones becoming available on the same day as the iPhone SE -- March 18.
Chunghwa Telecom said the two new colors of the iPhone 13 series were well-received during the reservation process Thursday, while Far EasTone said 30 percent of the total reservations it received Thursday were for the iPhone 13 Pro and iPhone 13 Max in alpine green.
(By Jiang Ming-yan and Frances Huang)