Apple is believed to be planning to launch a smaller, 4-inch version of the iPhone that may help it tackle the more affordable smartphone market. The model, reportedly called "iPhone 5se," could reach retails shelves as early as March.
Tech blog 9to5Mac.com, who first reported about the unannounced device, mentioned that it is codenamed internally as "N69." The "se" suffix is said to be short for "special edition." The iPhone 5se is supposedly pegged as an improved version of 2013's iPhone 5s and will essentially be taking the guts of the iPhone 6 and stuffing them into the previous model's smaller body.
As such, the rumored model's hardware will inherit several features from the iPhone 6 (the standard one and not the S version). It will be powered by the same A8 and M8 chips as well as sport a similar camera combination with 8-megapixels at the back and 1.2-megapixels at front. It will also support larger panoramas and autofocus for video recording. The device will reportedly feature Live Photos, but what it will not have is the 3D Touch feature found on the latest model.
9to5Mac.com's Mark Gurman adds that the tech giant plans to replace the 5s' "chamfered, shiny edges" with the "curved glass" found on the iPhone 6s. It will have updated features such as Bluetooth 4.2, VoLTE, and 802.11ac Wi-Fi. Additionally, the iPhone 5se will have an NFC chip that will support Apple Pay. The company hopes this more affordable model could boost adoption of its new payment service in the US.
On Sunday, a photo purportedly showing the iPhone 5se has been shared by Apple blog One More Thing. In the image (shown below), the rumored Apple device is placed on a wooden table next to an iPhone 5. It is interesting to note that while Gurman said that the iPhone 5se would mostly be inspired by the 5s' design, the handset pictured looks more like a smaller version of the iPhone 6.
The iPhone 5se is predicted to be launched in the same colors as the iPhone 6s, such as Gold, Rose Gold, Silver and Space Grey. 9to5Mac says the device will be announced in late March or early April, around the same time when Apple will likely unveil a new version of the Apple Watch. The company is expected to discontinue the 5s once the 5se is released, so it might end up taking the 5s's spot in Apple's lineup and would likely hit the market with an approximately $500 price tag.