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Why a small iPhone could be a big moment for Apple

Michael Simon | Feb. 2, 2016
Apple's rumored iPhone 5se could find the sweet spot between size, features, and price.

A new 4-inch iPhone would solve one of the biggest potential problems Apple faces with users clinging to their old 4-inch iPhones. Fragmentation isn’t an issue generally association with iOS, but the last thing Apple wants is to have millions of iPhones in the wild that aren’t able to enjoy the latest software features. And if iOS 10 is going to be as major as its number suggests, having three sizes of iPhone able to run it in all its glory will help deliver the best experience to as many users as possible.

To C or not to SE

Gurman has such a great track record, I generally take what he says as the truth, but the name of the new device gives me pause. He says Apple will opt to brand the new phone with the 5se moniker both as “a ‘special edition’ variation of the vintage 4-inch iPhone screen size and as an ‘enhanced’ version of the iPhone 5s.”

That makes some sense, but what he describes is essentially a miniature version of the 6, with curved edges instead of chamfers and the same silver, space gray, gold, and rose gold color options. And aligning with the 5 seems problematic; Apple’s numbering system is designed to clearly differentiate between new and old, but no matter how advanced the 5se is, people will still relate it to outdated technology. I don’t see why Apple wouldn’t call it the iPhone 6c or 6 mini, especially since the technology inside bears no resemblance to the 5.

But that’s more of a marketing issue than a selling one. The fact is, a new 4-inch iPhone will inject some much-need excitement into the line again, as Apple gears up for the highly anticipated iPhone 7. And just like the iPod, we’ll be that much closer to the day when there’s an iPhone for everyone.


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