Wednesday 21 February 2018

iPhone SE: The five features we want to see

iPhone 5SE leaked picture. Credit: 9to5 Mac
iPhone 5SE leaked picture. Credit: 9to5 Mac

Rhiannon Williams

The iPhone SE, or iPhone 5se, depending on who you believe, is expected to be launched before the end of March.

This would make it the first iPhone released outside of Apple's established September launch cycle.

While details remain hazy, here are the main features we want to see in a new, potentially cheaper iPhone.

1. A smaller screen

It's worth remembering that the larger iPhone dimensions, introduced with the 6 and 6 Plus in September 2014, are still not everyone's cup of tea. The iPhone 5s is the only 4-inch model left in Apple's current line up after the retirement of the 5c, and with the 6 and 6s sized at 4.7-inches and the 6 Plus and 6s Plus measuring 5.5-inches, there is a considerably large customer base who will want the newer features of the more recent handsets without buying a phablet.

2. Apple Pay and Touch ID

Once you've become accustomed to unlocking your iPhone via the home button's fingerprint sensor and Touch ID technology, reverting to tapping in your passcode seems cumbersome. Likewise, making a new phone without a near-field communication (NFC) chip to facilitate payments over Apple Pay would seem pretty backward at this stage.

3. Better battery life

Apple is likely to be reserving long-awaited waterproofing until the iPhone 7 in September, but a better battery life in the SE should be not only desirable, but achievable. The Low Power mode introduced in iOS 9 went some way to making amends, but rumours suggest the iPhone SE will feature a 1,624 mAh battery - larger and more powerful than the iPhone 5s' 1,440 mAh battery, but not as beefy as the 6s' 1,715 mAh.

4. A pressure-sensitive screen

A pressure-sensitive display is actually looking pretty unlikely, after new images posted on French rumours site, which has a long history of accurate leaks, purport to show the new phone free from the components required for 3D touch, Apple's pressure-sensitive display technology present in the Apple Watch and iPhone 6s and 6s Plus.

While this would be a shame, it is still possible Live Photo support will be built into the new handset.

5. A low(er) price tag

Although we're never going to see an Apple product described as cheap, the iPhone SE is the perfect opportunity for Apple to create a more affordable entry-level model. KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo told MacRumours the iPhone SE will cost between $400 - $500 in the US, equating to between £300 and £400 in the UK.

An iPhone 5s with 16GB of storage is currently retailing for £379 on Apple's website, close to two and-a-half years after its release. A more affordable iPhone, particularly one with the ability to make mobile payments, would be a key addition to Apple's arsenal in its push into developing nations such as China and India.

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