Apple could be on the verge of unveiling a new iPhone SE model as soon as next month, according to a somewhat sketchy rumor.
At least, that’s the news coming from an unnamed source cited by French-language blog iGeneration. According to the rumor, Apple will split its fall launch event into two dates: one in August, where they will debut an affordable iPhone SE-type device, and another in October, whether they will unveil the iPhone 8, iPhone 7s and iPhone 7s Plus. Interestingly, the source also claims that the entry-level iPhone SE device will start at €399, down from about €489.
Of course, the rumor is suspect for a couple reasons. For one, Apple has never debuted a phone in August or October — typical flagship release dates have always been in June or September. Having said that, we have heard a lot of noise over the past few months of supply shortages and possible issues delaying this year’s premium iPhone 8 (or iPhone X, or iPhone Edition). A later unveiling is a possibility, even if several noted Apple analysts have predicted otherwise despite severe supply shortages.
Even the author of the article himself, Mickaël Bazoge, expressed skepticism over the source. When asked by MacRumors about the content of the rumor, Bazoge said that he received the information from a new source with a currently unproven track record. Despite that, he told the outlet that the source “seems reliable.” Take that for what you will. It’s also worth noting that Apple “updated” the iPhone SE with doubled storage capacity in March. Releasing a completely new device just a few months after that seems a bit questionable.
The 4-inch iPhone form factor is certainly long overdue for a refresh, however. The current generation iPhone SE uses the same chassis as the iPhone 5s — a device that was launched in September 2013. Although using an aging body, the iPhone SE is still an important aspect of Apple’s ecosystem, as the device was a smash hit among consumers due to the popular 4-inch size. Indeed, Apple itself admitted during the SE’s unveiling that quite a few consumers just “like smaller phones.”
Additionally, the iPhone SE is spearheading Apple’s initiatives in developing markets, due to its budget-friendly pricing. For example, it’s an integral aspect of Apple’s effort to dominate the burgeoning market in India — Cupertino is already planning on building a number of the devices in-country this year. Apple is also pondering slashing iPhone prices overall in the country to help foster demand.
Of course, although the body style of the iPhone SE is on the older side, its internals are quite a bit newer. The device packs basically the same power as an iPhone 6s, so it’s worth a venture that a future generation of the 4-inch smartphone could sport internals closer to the current iPhone 7 — which, at the rumored price point, could cannibalize sales of an iPhone 7s lineup. But despite not being very likely, iPhone SE lovers everywhere will probably hold out hope that Apple will bring the 4-inch body into the future.
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