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Everything we know about the iPhone SE

Updated Dec 19th, 2018 9:14PM EST
iPhone SE Features
Image: Niels Epting

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Apple next week will finally introduce its long-rumored and highly anticipated iPhone SE. And while the iPhone SE unveiling obviously won’t attract as much attention as, say, the upcoming iPhone 7, Apple’s media event next week can’t come soon enough for users who have been patiently waiting endlessly for a new 4-inch iPhone packed with Apple’s most advanced technologies.

Arguably, the lone problem with Apple’s current iPhone lineup boils down to a lack of options. For users who find the 4.7-inch iPhone 6s and the 5.5-inch iPhone 6s Plus too unwieldy, there’s really nowhere to turn. Sure, Apple mercifully keeps the iPhone 5s around, but the device is about two and a half years old at this point. Put simply, it’s time for Apple to step it up, and with the iPhone SE, the company appears ready to do just that.

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The iPhone SE will finally offer consumers with no interest in a larger screened iPhone a compelling reason to upgrade. Though early reports pegged the iPhone SE as nothing more than a souped up iPhone 5s, more recent rumblings from the rumor mill suggest that the device will practically be the equivalent of an iPhone 6s in a smaller form factor.

Ahead of Apple’s media event next week, scheduled for Monday, March 21, we figured it was high time to run down everything we think we know about Apple’s upcoming 4-inch iPhone. Suffice it to say, next week’s media event may be more exciting than you might think.

Let’s dive in.

Underneath the hood, the iPhone SE is poised to be a huge upgrade over the iPhone 5s. The device will reportedly come with a speedy A9 processor (the same one used on the iPhone 6s), an NFC chip for Apple Pay support, an M9 motion coprocessor for enhanced fitness tracking and always-on “Hey Siri” functionality, faster Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.2, and last but not least, we’ve even seen reports that the device may come equipped with 2GB of RAM.

But wait, there’s more!

It’s also been reported that the battery pack on the iPhone SE will be slightly larger than what shipped with the iPhone 5s, though it remains to be seen if battery life is markedly improved upon.

As far as materials are concerned, Apple thankfully learned a lesson or two from its ill-fated iPhone 5c experiment and the device’s “unapologetically plastic” exterior. By most accounts, the iPhone SE will feature a metal frame construction. In fact, rumor has it that the iPhone SE will look remarkably similar to the iPhone 6s (read: slightly curved edges) with dimensions said to so closely resemble the iPhone 5s that the device will be able to fit comfortably in existing iPhone 5s cases.

Additionally, it’s believed that the iPhone SE will be available in four distinct colors, Space Grey, Silver, Gold and Rose Gold.

While we’ll have to wait until Monday to see what type of design Apple ultimately opted to go with, graphic designer Martin Hajek earlier this month put together a few iPhone SE renders based on various leaks that have sprouted up over the past few weeks. Personally, I think the render in the middle would be the way for Apple to go.

Moving along, you might recall that some early reports surrounding the iPhone SE claimed that the device would feature the same 8-megapixel camera module used on the iPhone 5s. Thankfully, more recent reports point to Apple bestowing the device with a more advanced camera system. Specifically, the iPhone SE will likely come packed with a 12-megapixel rear facing camera. What’s more, a recent rumor that sprang up yesterday claims that the iPhone SE might be able to record video in 4K.

As far as pricing is concerned, reputed analyst Ming-Chi Kuo recently relayed in a research note to investors that the device will likely be price somewhere between $400 and $500, markedly lower than the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus which retail for $649 and $749 respectively.

On the storage front, the iPhone SE will likely be available in two models, a 16GB model and a 64GB model.

And last but not least, we have software. As you’ve likely seen already, the iPhone SE will likely come with support for Live Photos. Indeed, the lone feature that the iPhone SE won’t support will reportedly be 3D Touch. Whether it’s a cost-saving measure or perhaps a subtle attempt to direct users towards more margin-friendly devices like the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus, 3D Touch will likely remain exclusive to Apple’s flagships for the time being.

Yoni Heisler Contributing Writer

Yoni Heisler has been writing about Apple and the tech industry at large with over 15 years of experience. A life long expert Mac user and Apple expert, his writing has appeared in Edible Apple, Network World, MacLife, Macworld UK, and TUAW.

When not analyzing the latest happenings with Apple, Yoni enjoys catching Improv shows in Chicago, playing soccer, and cultivating new TV show addictions.


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