Mark Gurman reveals at 9to5Mac that the new phone I’ve been waiting for will be called the 5SE:
“The ‘se’ suffix has been described in two ways by Apple employees: as a ‘special edition’ variation of the vintage 4-inch iPhone screen size and as an ‘enhanced’ version of the iPhone 5s. Indeed, the upcoming ‘5se’ features a design similar to 2013’s flagship but upgraded internals, software, and hardware features that blend the old design with modern technologies from the past two iPhone upgrades.”
Seems odd to keep the “5” name for a phone that more closely resembles the iPhone 6/6S except for size. But I don’t really care what it’s called. This phone matches my expectations or exceeds them. Fantastic that it even supports Live Photos.
I’ve talked about my hope for a new 4-inch iPhone several times on Core Intuition, and a few times on this weblog, like here and here. The rumors keep growing, and Stephen Hackett has written out his thoughts on a potential iPhone 6C:
“The easy assumption is that the 6C would replace the aging 5S as the free-or-very-cheap option, but the recurring rumor of the 6C being powered by the A9 makes me think this may slide in roughly where the iPhone 6/6 Plus currently sits in the lineup.”
I’d love to see an A9, but I’m not counting on it. I think an A8 is fine too, mostly matching the internals of the latest iPod Touch. This wouldn’t be competitive with the iPhone 6S but it would still be a great upgrade from the iPhone 5S, which is the primary phone for anyone (like me) who still clings to the 4-inch design.
The larger 4.7-inch and 5.5-inch designs will remain the top of the line iPhones for years to come. The 6C doesn’t need to change that; it’s not a peer to the larger phones. It just needs to clean up all the money Apple’s left on the table from customers who want a smaller phone. I’ll buy one right away.
In the spirit of replying to podcast topics with blog posts, I have some comments after listening to a recent Clockwise. It was another great episode, featuring hosts Jason Snell and Dan Moren, and guests Christina Warren and Susie Ochs.
The panel was split on the likelihood of a new 4-inch iPhone from Apple. Apple is a company of patterns, so it seems counterintuitive that they’d release a new phone in the Winter or Spring instead of the Fall. But doing so has a couple of nice advantages: first, you can bump up an otherwise slow sales quarter with a new product; and second, you don’t hurt sales of the primary iPhones (the 6S and 6S Plus) by confusing buyers with another choice. Customers perfectly happy with their iPhone 6 from last year, and who were planning on buying a 6S as a natural upgrade, now would be faced with an unexpected choice in screen size if the 4-inch phone had been announced alongside the 6S.
Everyone also seems to forget about the newest 4-inch iPod Touch. It went on sale in July, features an A8 processor, better camera than the iPhone 5S, and sells for only $199. It’s easy to imagine Apple basing a new 4-inch iPhone on this design, reusing both the screen and many of the internal components from the iPod Touch.
Apple has sold a lot of iPhone 6 and 6S phones. But there are also a lot of 4-inch devices out in the world: of course the iPhone 5, 5C, and 5S, but also every iPod Touch sold in the last few years. There are many people who would love to replace their old phone with a new one that’s better and faster, but not bigger.