The iPhone SE – or 5se, or 6c – is expected to launch with in weeks. Here’s everything you need to know about Apple’s next smartphone
Sale: The phone may be in shops by March 18
Apple is expected to unveil its latest iPhone at an event in California later this month – but it may not be the phone you’re expecting .
The company traditionally updates its iPhone line once a year, at an event in September, but rumours have been building for months that Apple is developing a new device that will launch in the Spring.
Although there are plenty of rumours flying about the iPhone 7 , this is NOT that phone. The iPhone 7 is expected to launch in September 2016 – according to the usual schedule.
The phone that Apple is expected to launch later this month is what many people are now calling the iPhone SE – a smaller, cheaper device that will be sold alongside Apple’s iPhone 6s and 6s Plus models.
Break with tradition: Apple usually updates its phones once a year
Here’s everything we know so far about Apple’s “mini” iPhone.
After weeks of rumours suggesting that Apple’s forthcoming smartphone would be called the iPhone 6c , and then the iPhone 5se, it is now believed the Californian company has decided to simply call it the iPhone SE.
A report in 9to5Mac claims that Apple has decided against naming the new handset after the 5s and 5c range of 2013, for fear of confusing customers.
This would mark the first iPhone upgrade without a number in its name, and would logically remove it from a yearly update cycle – suggesting it may be a one-off device.
The “SE” suffix has reportedly been described by Apple employees as a “special edition” variation of the iPhone screen size.
Apple currently sells three iPhone models – the 4.7-inch iPhone 6s and 5.5-inch 6s Plus, which were both launched in September 2015, and the 4-inch iPhone 5s, which launched in September 2013.
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The iPhone SE is rumoured to be a replacement for the iPhone 5s – bringing Apple’s 4-inch iPhone up to date with the other two devices.
Drawings claiming to be leaked images show the new phone will be the same size and shape as the 5s.
While some rumours suggest the iPhone SE will be identical to the iPhone 5s, leaked photos appear to show that it will take design queues from the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus – with curved glass edges and a “Touch ID” fingerprint reader .
Bargain: The iPhoen SE is set to be cheaper than the iPhone 6
Designs for iPhone case makers obtained by 9to5Mac show that the lock button will be moved from the top to the right-hand side of the device, like on the iPhone 6″
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However, separate schematics obtained by OnLeaks appear to show that the button will remain on the top.
Apple originally moved the lock button from the top to the side of the device with the launch of the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus – partly because the larger screen sizes make the top difficult to reach.
If the iPhone 5se retains the 4-inch screen size of the iPhone 5s, there would be no reason to move the button, other other than to create consistency with the rest of the iPhone line.
Other rumoured features include a 12-megapixel rear camera – lifted from the iPhone 6S – an upgraded A9 processor, and a near-field communication (NFC) chip for Apple Pay transactions.
However, according to MacRumours , the components that enable the 3D Touch feature are missing in the iPhone SE handset .
The site got hold of some leaked pictures that supposedly show the screen assembly process for the new iGadget. It says the pictures were “captured by a source that on several occasions in the past proved to be reliable”.
Lacking: The iPhone SE won’t have 3D Touch, according to rumours
The iPhone SE is expected to come in the same Silver, Space Grey, Gold and Rose Gold colour options as the 6s lineup, and come in 16GB and 64GB storage options with a slightly larger battery.
Widespread rumours suggest that the new iPhone will be unveiled at an event on Tuesday March 15, alongside a new 9.7-inch iPad Pro and the Apple Watch 2 .
However, new reports suggest that it has been pushed back to March 21, because of Apple’s current wranglings with the FBI.
Apple typically leaves two weeks between the announcement of an iPhone and its retail date, but most rumours seem to suggest that the new device will go on sale the following Friday.
That means you’ll be able to buy the new device on March 18 if the event is on March 15, and on March 24 if the event is on March 21.
“Apple is unlikely to offer pre-orders for the new devices, according to sources who cautioned that the plans could still change,” 9to5Mac said.
The iPhone 5se will sell alongside the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus , but will be significantly cheaper , according to KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, who suggests it will cost around $400-500 (£250-350).
That means its will be cheaper than the iPhone 5s, which currently starts at £379. The 5s is expected to have its price more or less halved after the iPhone SE launches.
It will only account for 8-9% of next year’s iPhone sales, but it will help Apple expand its presence in emerging markets, and among consumers on tighter budgets, according to Mr Kuo.