Apple is believed to be working on a new 4-inch iPhone, and now 9to5Mac claims to have details on what we should expect. The new phone is reported to be an improved version of the iPhone 5S: Apple is essentially said to be taking the guts of the iPhone 6 and stuffing them into the 5S's smaller body. So this new phone would have the iPhone 6's 8-megapixel rear camera, 1.2-megapixel front camera, NFC chip for using Apple Pay, A8 processor, and improved connectivity due to improvements like faster Wi-Fi.
This weekend, after 9to5Mac's original report, an image leaked online that purported to show the new 4-inch iPhone. The authenticity of the image can't be confirmed, but it lines up with the 5SE rumor. The phone's body looks similar to the existing 5S in size, but with curved glass around its edges, like the 6 and 6S, rather than chamfered sides. The image, which shows the supposed new device alongside an iPhone 5, makes the new phone look like a mini iPhone 6, with identical volume buttons, silent switch, and side-mounted power button. It's said that the new model will also be available in all of the 6S's colors, including rose gold. 9to5Mac reports that the phone will "likely" be called the iPhone 5SE, which is a fairly bad name.
What kind of name is 5SE?
The "5SE" name is not the weirdest thing about this phone, however. 9to5Mac reports that the 5SE will support Live Photos. That's really strange because the 5SE apparently won't have a 3D Touch display. It's really easy to imagine how Apple could make Live Photos work without 3D Touch — just use a long press — but it also kinda sorta speaks to the shortcomings of 3D Touch: that it often feels like a long press could accomplish all the same things. Nonetheless, it makes sense that Apple would want to spread Live Photos in an attempt to make them a popular picture format.
9to5Mac says it expects the phone to be announced in late March or early April; that'd fit the timeline of when Apple will likely announce a new version of the Apple Watch, as well. Apple is expected to discontinue the 5S once the 5SE is announced, so it should end up taking the 5S's spot in Apple's lineup, selling for $450. That means you shouldn't exactly think of this as Apple's low-cost phone offering. Instead, it may be the Apple has recognized it's important to sell more powerful phones so that people buying its cheapest option aren't immediately stuck with sluggish hardware.
Update January 24th, 12:03PM ET: Added rumored image of 4-inch iPhone from One More Thing.
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