It has been more than six months now since Apple released the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus. Leaks and rumors regarding the iPhone 7 are already flowing in full force, but they are not expected to launch before September this year. Apple, however, seems all set to launch a new iPhone before that, dubbed the iPhone SE or the iPhone 5SE at a media event later this month.
The company seems all set to launch a successor to the iPhone 5s later this month that it is targeting towards markets like India and China. A lot has been said and leaked about this ‘budget’ iPhone, but until and unless its officially unveiled by Apple, nothing is confirmed. Until then though, we roundup all the rumors surrounding the handset to get an idea of what to expect from the handset when Apple launches it later this month — if at all.
Design and Display
The 4-inch iPhone SE will reportedly replace the ageing iPhone 5s in the company’s lineup, which was originally unveiled in 2013. Taking cue from its predecessor and the current generation iPhone, the 4-inch iPhone SE features a design language that has been clearly inspired from both these handsets — at least thats what the leaked images point to. From the front, the 4-inch iPhone SE looks like a smaller iPhone 6 with the curved 2.5D glass at the edges, while the back looks like an amalgamation of the iPhone 5s and the iPhone 6.
A leaked image of the 4-inch iPhone SE sitting beside the iPhone 5 clearly shows the alleged design changes between the two handsets from the front.
And if you have not already guessed it, the 4-inch iPhone SE is going to come with….well…a 4-inch screen! The resolution of the display has not yet been confirmed, but I am guessing to keep things consistent, it will have the same resolution as the iPhone 5s. To keep costs down, Apple will not be including 3D Touch on the iPhone SE’s display, which has already been confirmed by the leaked display assembly pictures of the phone. The feature will continue to remain exclusive to the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus for another six months to better differentiate their ‘flagship’ status from other iPhones.
There have been a lot of contradicting rumors regarding the internals of the iPhone SE. Some initial rumors claimed that the handset will launch with an A8 chipset, while recent ones point to it launching with an A9 chipset. The reasoning for the A9 chipset is that Apple wants to make sure that the iPhone SE does not feel outdated once it launches the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus six months from now. Apparently, once the new flagship iPhones are launched, the company will stop selling the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus. Instead, its lineup will look something like this: 4-inch iPhone SE at the very bottom; iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus at the mid-range; and the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus at the top.
The A9 chipset will provide the 4-inch iPhone SE with plenty of horsepower and make it significantly faster than the iPhone 5s, which it will be replacing in Apple’s lineup. I do, however, think that since the iPhone SE will use a lower resolution display, Apple will lower the clock speed of the chipset to improve battery life.
The inclusion of A9 chipset means that the iPhone SE will include support for Wi-Fi ac, LTE Cat. 6, Apple Pay, always-on Hey Siri, edit 4K videos, and support Live Photos.
While the official battery life numbers of the handset have not leaked yet, the 4-inch iPhone is expected to come with a bigger battery than the iPhone 5s. Any increase in battery size will, however, be offset by the more powerful and power hungry A9 chipset.
The 4-inch iPhone SE is expected to come with a 12MP iSight camera, which is of the same resolution as the one found on the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus. It is unclear if Apple will be using the exact same camera setup as found on its current flagship iPhones, though that seems unlikely to me. Not much is known about the camera, except that it will have a 12MP resolution. The inclusion of an A9 chip on the handset means that the iPhone SE is capable of recording 4K videos and taking Live Photos, but whether Apple enables this functionality or not, is still unclear. After all, the iPhone SE is a budget iPhone, so it makes little sense for the company to offer features that are only found on its flagship iPhones right now.
The FaceTime camera on the front of the phone is expected to have a 5MP resolution, though it is unlikely that it will feature Retina Flash.
Reports claim that Apple will be offering the 4-inch iPhone SE in its new Rose Gold color, beside its usual offerings like Space Gray and Silver. However, since the handset has not leaked in pictures yet, nothing really is confirmed at this point.
Release date and Pricing
Apple was initially expected to hold a media event on March 15th, but that has now apparently been postponed to March 21. The company is yet to send out official invites for the event, so until then, consider the March 21st date as a rumor as well. True to its style, I expect Apple to start selling the iPhone SE in the United States and other key markets within 10 days of its unveiling.
The handset will replace the iPhone 5s in Apple’s lineup, and will be priced at anywhere between $400-$500 for the 32GB and 64GB variant. An analyst also claimed that to clear old stock, Apple will continue selling the iPhone 5s for just $225 in the United States.
Have you been eagerly waiting for Apple to launch a new 4-inch iPhone? Will you buy the iPhone SE or iPhone 5SE?