Wednesday, 21 March 2018

Apple iPhone SE2: Rumours, specs and everything else you need to know

Apple’s iPhone X and iPhone 8 flagship phones might grab the headlines but there are still stacks of people out there buying smaller-screened mid-range devices like the iPhone SE.

Apple realised post-iPhone 6 that there was no iOS alternative to those who wanted to stick with (or buy) a new phone with a smaller screen. Of course, there have long been plenty of smaller Android phones due to the plethora of devices on the market.  

Apple is still selling plenty of iPhone SEs as well, despite the phone now being two years old and the basic chassis design dating from the iPhone 5 launch back in 2012.

But that’s not to say the insides are anywhere as dated: much of the hardware is similar to the iPhone 6S from late 2015. Apple has updated the iPhone SE in the interim, bumping the 16 and 64 GB memory options up to 32 and 128 GB in March 2017.

That said, we’ve been expecting a new version of the iPhone SE for a little while now.

Part of this is because Apple has binned the home button on the iPhone X and so it stands to reason that this change will eventually come to other iPhones. There’s also no getting away from the fact the design now looks aged.

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Because it will have been two years since the iPhone SE and iPad Pro 9.7 appeared (since replaced last year by the iPad Pro 10.5) and a year since the iPhone SE got bigger storage options, rumours have been swirling about an iPhone SE2 release date for March, potentially alongside other new Apple product revisions, maybe in the MacBook/MacBook Air area.

Apple has form for doing other March product launches – last year’s new iPad was announced then, as was the Product (RED) iPhone 7 and the original new MacBook (which had a 10 April release date).

Late 2017 rumours suggested that device manufacturer Wistron was gearing up for a new iPhone SE in the first quarter of 2018. Wistron is already assembling the iPhone 8.

The Economic Daily News cites sources as saying the iPhone SE 2 could launch in the first half of 2018 for $450.

Having said that, one analyst doesn’t think a new iPhone SE will happen at all, citing “a lack of development resources at Apple”. We don’t buy that ourselves. 

Whatever design the iPhone SE2 gets, it’s surely certain it won’t be like the current aged design. Could iPhone X point the way? Well, possibly. But we think it more likely it would be a slightly shrunken version of the current iPhone 8 design.

Some reports suggest that Apple won’t change the design at all, but we think this unlikely. It might not have an impact for some markets but would surely affect sales over the next couple of years in territories like the UK and US where the competition is so intense.

Surely though, one thing won’t change about the iPhone SE and that’s the headphone jack. Most entry-level devices still have them and surely Apple won’t change that – will it? However, if some other components arrive – see below – it may have to go because of the lack of space within the device. 

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Rumours suggest that the iPhone SE will retain its current, enormously popular, smaller screen size of 4-inches.

A small size bump is possible, though the 326ppi retina display we first saw in the iPhone 5 remains enormously clear and crisp even if its 1,136 × 640 resolution is now dated.

3D Touch will probably arrive, however. Could True Tone also be supported? 

We’re expecting more Apple devices to have Face ID this year, but this is likely to be the new iPad Pro and it’s likely at the end of the year.

It also stands to reason that an iPhone X 2 or iPhone XI will have Face ID, as will whatever replaces the iPhone 8, whether that’s a new iPhone 9 or the current iPhone X just gets cheaper to fill in the gap.

So standard cameras then and surely we’ll see the 12MP ƒ/1.8 aperture camera we’ve seen in other iPhones – probably with up to 4K 30fps video recording but also possibly 60fps if the camera comes over from the iPhone 8.

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Given what happened with the original SE, we’d expect the new phone to be based on the innards of the iPhone 7 or 8. As with 2017’s iPhones, expect more Apple-designed silicon inside, including its own graphics chips. That’s why we think it more likely it would be based on the iPhone 8.

As a result, it’s likely the iPhone SE 2 would support Qi wireless charging like the rest of the latest generation of iPhones. That would also require the handset to have a glass back like the flagship line-up. And it will also be able to support Apple’s AirPower charging mat.

If the SE 2 was to be based on the iPhone 7, it would mean moving from the A9 processor to A10 with M10 co-processor (rather than the A11 Bionic found in the iPhone 8 and iPhone X).

In any case, it’ll surely have the faster Touch ID sensor we saw in the iPhone 6S and later and probably the barometer from the same model. Both of these enhancements were missing from the original iPhone SE. 

Now why not check out What is Apple Music and how does it work?

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