Apple Is Updating The iPhone SE - But How Far Will It Go?
Uncharacteristically large discounts on Apple's iPhone SE are a clear marker for an incoming update to the classic 4" iPhone design, whether it arrives with Apple's clutch of new iPads or in a separate dedicated launch event.
The SE is seeing discounts of up to 30% - a clear sign of retailers clearing shelves ready for an updated model.
It's an odds on certainty that Apple will give its smallest phone a storage boost - that 16GB / 64GB range is looking more than a little outdated. 32GB and 128GB models are likely to form the range once Apple reveals its new baby iPhone.
Will Apple go any further with the updates though?
Changes that Apple could easily make relate mostly to the cameras. The rear camera is crying out for the OIS that the 4.7" iPhone got last year, whilst the 1.2mp front facing camera is laughable in 2017. Neither upgrade should prove too taxing for Apple's engineering team.
Replacing the older Touch ID sensor with the new force touch version would probably be possible too.
The there are the harder updates, waterproofing for example, which could be done in theory - we know the 4" iPhone shell has a number of gaskets designed to keep liquid out, however some work would be necessary to get an IP rating worth boasting about.
Removing the headphone jack wouldn't difficult and would move Apple's EarPod inventory to a single, Lightning connected model. Would the backlash against such a move keep Apple's 'courage' in check?
Then there are the changes that are highly unlikely. 3D Touch would almost certainly require retooling for a new front screen - not an economically sensible move based on the lower selling price for the SE. Fancy cameras using dual lenses could be made to fit, however that too would require retooling.
And the final, big question. What does Apple do with the internals? Does it upgrade the SE to include iPhone 7 internals, in the same way the first SE packed the 6S into a smaller chassis?
My gut feel is yes, the SE will get a performance boost. It has been a super successful model for Apple primarily because it didn't skimp on performance. To abandon that selling point now would be a mistake.