Will We See a Successor to the iPhone SE?

The iPhone SE seems to have been an instant hit, but what – if anything – will Apple follow it up with?


Apple used to be predicable when launching a new iPhone. One year they would release a new look phone, the next year they would release a speed bumped S version in the same casing.

The iPhone 3GS was a speed bumped iPhone 3G. The iPhone 4S was a speed bumped iPhone 4. The iPhone 5S was a speed bumped iPhone 5. The iPhone 6S and 6S Plus were speed bumped versions of the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus.

However, Apple shook up its scheme with the release of the iPhone SE, with the SE standing for ‘special edition’. It was the first time a third handset featuring the same design had been released, following the iPhone 5 and iPhone 5S design.

Will they update it? Will they keep it in their regular line up? Is there a reason it is called special edition?

iPhone 5CiPhone 5

It wasn’t the first time Apple deviated from its update line. In 2013, Apple released the iPhone 5c. However, it was just a repackaged iPhone 5 – featuring identical hardware – in brightly coloured plastic casing. There is no official word for its release, but Apple quickly swept the original iPhone 5 under the carpet.

At least it kept in line with the current release schedule. The colourful iPhone 5c was a huge hit – but it wasn’t followed up with anything.

iPhone 6/6 Plus & 6S/6S Plus

September 2014 saw Apple release two handsets at once for the first time, the 4.7” iPhone 6 and the 5.5” iPhone 6 Plus – and updated a year later to the iPhone 6S and iPhone 6S Plus. These also kept in line with the well known release schedule.

The increase in screen size was to compete with the phablet craze in the Android world which had seen 6”+ screen sizes for a while.

iPhone SE

However, it seemed a lot of iOS users held off upgrading from their iPhone 5S because they didn’t want a larger screen. Apple listened to this and announced the iPhone SE.

While the iPhone SE is in the shell of the iPhone 5S retaining the 4” screen, it packs the internals of an iPhone 6S. The processor, RAM, and rear camera is the same as the iPhone 6S, with only the front camera different, being the same as the iPhone 5S.

Supposing Apple stick to their September release for the iPhone 7, it will mean we would have two separate iPhone releases in the same year.

What Next?

With the iPhone line all in a mess, who knows what is going to happen next. We essentially have three top-end iPhones – the 6S, 6S Plus, and SE.

I doubt Apple will update the iPhone SE in September 2016 when the iPhone 7 is due for release. This year they should release a new look handset, judging by past years, and should be called the iPhone 7. So are we now to see a release twice a year – or is the iPhone SE a one off?

Some interesting questions to ask:

  • Will they continue to release 4.7” and 5.5” models?
  • Could they keep the 4” model, drop the 4.7” mid-size phone, and keep the massive 5.5” model?
  • Perhaps they will delay release and introduce three new handsets in March 2017 to include a redesigned 4” model.
  • Will March 2017 see another iPhone SE in the style it is now?
  • If they release another iPhone SE, what will they call it?

A lot of people expected to see an update to the coloured iPhone 5c. The early rumours of the SE claimed it could be a 4” revamped version called the iPhone 6c, but turned into what it is today.

The iPhone SE is not a budget handset in terms of power, but it is terms of cost – taking Apple into the midrange market, and this is helping sales soar.


Who knows what Apple will do. The iPhone SE sure is an odd one. It is an out of line release in terms of both schedule and styling. It doesn’t fit what we have seen before, but it seems to be what the public wants.

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