In the past couple of weeks, rumours have emerged surrounding the possible release of the Apple iPhone 5SE. Apple sources have stated that the iPhone 5SE, apparently code named ‘N69’ internally, suggest that the phone will be an upgraded version of the iPhone 5, rather than a budget version like the iPhone 5c. These reports have surfaced a couple of weeks after it was rumoured that Apple will be releasing an iPhone 6c, but these reports have been deemed false by internal sources. So why are Apple going back to the smaller screens rather then going with a 6c and a bigger screen? It’s simple; market share.
In recent years, popularity in bigger screens have grown, with all manufacturers. Let’s look at arguably Apples biggest competitor, Samsung. The Samsung S series began its life with the Samsung S with a 4″ display, versus Apples iPhone 1 with a 3.5″ display. The S II immediately upgraded its screen size with a 4.3″ screen and gradually getting larger and larger with each new model, with 4.8″, 4.99″ and 5.1 for the S5 and S6. Apple kept the 3.5″ screen for 4 years before upgrading to 4″ with the iPhone 5. The main reason behind this was Steve Jobs. He believed that people didn’t want big phones, instead opting for small, powerful compact models. It wasn’t long after his death that Tim Cook, Jobs’ successor, realised that people did want bigger screens, and with the iPhone 5, Apple increased their screen size to 5″. 2 years , later upgrading again to 4.7″ with the 6 and 6s. Still 0.3″ smaller then the S5 and S6 but making up for it with incredible screen resolution and a slick curved screen.
The difference between Apple and Samsung is that Apple have seen themselves as a premium brand since day one. They have no interest in bringing out budget phone like the Samsung Pocket Neo or the very successful Samsung Core Prime. However, just this week, reports have been released that sales of the Apple iPhone are in decline. Maybe the iPhone 5SE is their answer. Forecasters within the company could have spotted this 6 months ago and saw that something urgent needed to be done. It is unclear what the price is going to be, but by looking at the rumoured specs, it’s still going to be a premium price. With that in mind, it won’t be as steep as the iPhone 6s and the upcoming iPhone 7.
Apple are looking at their competitors and seeing that not everyone wants big screens even though most flagship phones these days have approximately 5″ screens. With the iPhone 5SE, Apple are scaling it back to 4″ again, similar to the iPhone 5, iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c. This new model will be more appealing to customers who like Apple devices but don’t like the largely screens. From my experience within the mobile phone industry, I can say that this will be appealing to the older generation of customers who got their iPhone 5s on a two year contracts and want to upgrade to a new iPhone. The larger, modern screens might be too much of a change for this generation, leaving the door wide open for the iPhone 5SE to be a success. Going back to Apple possibly forecasting this, it is rumoured to be released in March or April, which is strange for Apple as they usually release their new models in September/October. Between the reports of sales loss and the release date, it’s hard to believe that Apple aren’t trying to salvage their sales before they lose their competitiveness with Samsung.
Anyway, enough about the business side of the iPhone 5SE, let’s talk about what we can expect from it.
iPhone 5SE screen size
The 4″ screen. More appealing to customers. Also it will be curved. Not in the sense of Samsung’s S6 Edge, but more closely similar to the curve screen we see on the iPhone 6s.
iPhone 5SE camera
They are supposedly scaling back the camera features to 8MP main camera and 1.2MP frontfacing camera, which we can see on the iPhone 6. It will also support Panoramic pictures, auto focus and video recording. No major surprises there, but it gets better as it also supports Live Photos, which we saw in the latest iPhone 6s model.
iPhone 5SE connectivity and brain
Expect the iPhone 5SE to have NFC, making it compatible with Apple Pay. The iPhone 5s was not able to use Apple Pay without an Apple Watch, so this is a nice upgrade for the users of iPhone 5s.
iPhone 5SE users will also get a built in Barometer which they can use in the Health App, again an upgrade from the iPhone 5s. The main feature the 5SE will not see from previous models is the 3D touch we saw in the 6s. But when you put it all together, this seems like an incredible phone so we’ll take the loss off the 3D touch.
In terms of the brain power within the iPhone 5SE, it was initially rumoured that it would come with an A8 and M8 chip, which we saw in the iPhone 6, but recent updates on the rumours have reported it will have an A9 and M9 chip, as seen in the iPhone 6s. This is an incredible amount of power coming from a relatively small phone in comparison to other phones in the market that support this kind of power – the Galaxy S6, LG G4′ and HTC One M9.
iPhone 5SE colours
You can expect to find the iPhone 5SE in all the colours available in the 6s range, gold, silver, space grey and rose gold.
If Apple did see this loss in sales coming and this is their strategy turn this around, I have to say, bravo Apple. They have managed to put some very powerful technology into this small compact device. The A9/M9 chips tells us that alone, but to be able to put technology from the iPhone 6s into it is an achievement in itself. The only other phone on the market that I think could compete with the iPhone 5SE, besides flagship phones with 5″ + screens, is the Sony Xperia Z5 compact. It is no secret that Apple’s market share in the phone industry is greater than Sony’s, so it’s possible it could very much compete with it.
I think Apple know exactly what they are doing. I think they will come out of this potential crisis before it even gains legs. And I think this will set up even more anticipation for the new iPhone 7 expected to be released in October. And I also think other companies, including Samsung, should be worried, because Apple could come out of this stronger than ever.