Despite the release of a number of high end flagship devices, bigger screens, fancier cameras and lots of gimmicks, for my money the most significant phone of the year was the iPhone SE. Here was a device that levereged a classic design, packed with modern hardware. When it launched I tagged the SE as the best iPhone you could buy. Post iPhone 7 launch I believe that is mostly still the case.
The sales succes that Apple enjoyed with the iPhone SE was significant. Whether it was because of the cheaper price, smaller size or better ergonomics, the SE has been a fantastic piece of business for Apple - being the best selling phone across a number of territories for much of its nine months on sale.
The iPhone SE works because it just works. Pocketable, lightweight, comfortable in the hand and gimmick free, it is everything that later iPhones aren't.
So does Apple need to upgrade the SE ahead of its birthday in March? It would certainly be nice to see optical image stabilisation adopted for the camera, maybe even the newer A10 processors from its bigger brothers. And I'm sure that there would be demand for a version with more storage than the current 64GB maximum.
None of these changes are absolutely necessary. However in a contracting market refreshing the SE would ensure that it continues to generate sales for Apple, which seems like all the reason Apple should need to freshen it up.