The iPhone SE has been a quiet hero for small-handed folk ever since it launched in March of last year. The body of an iPhone 5 with an iPhone 6s’s guts was a good proposition in 2016, but with an all-new iPhone 8 expected this year and Samsung stepping up its game, the iPhone SE needs some help to stay relevant.
The latest signs all point to Apple changing things up in a rumored March event. According to MacRumors, Target began returning iPhone SE models to Apple this week, which is a big hint that something new could be just around the corner.
According to a report seen by the site, Target was returning six unlocked models of the iPhone SE, including 16 and 64GB versions in Gold, Silver, Rose Gold and Space Gray. Two models locked to Sprint were also returned.
It’s possible that these recalls are completely unrelated to an updated iPhone SE. Especially since all iPhone SEs aren’t being returned to Apple, it’s possible that this is just a move to shift around inventory between countries, or to change out certain underperforming models.
But equally, it could be clearing shelves before an updated version comes in. An update probably wouldn’t look that big: if anything, we’ll see an internal spec bump to equal the iPhone 7’s guts, and possibly a boost to the camera and Touch ID sensor. Changing the form factor or adding features like a dual camera or 3D Touch would cannibalize sales of Apple’s much more expensive smartphones, which is anathema to Cupertino.