Everything we know about Apple’s new 4-inch iPhone

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That iPhone in your pocket is much more well-traveled than you are.
That iPhone in your pocket is much more well-traveled than you are.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

Apple is expected to unveil a brand new iPhone in a little over a week, only instead of going big, the first new iPhone of 2016 will be perfect for people with tiny hands and those who don’t want to spend a lot on a new smartphone.

The rumor mill has been serving up juicy bits of gossip on Apple’s upcoming handset for over a year, so as the big day approaches we have some pretty solid clues about the next iPhone’s design, hardware, price, name and much more.

Here are the probable answers to all your iPhone SE questions.

What will Apple’s next iPhone be called?

The new device will most likely be called the “iPhone SE,” with “SE” standing for “Special Edition.” You may have heard some rumors calling the device the iPhone 6c, which made sense because it’s expected to be cheap like the plastic iPhone 5c model that debuted in 2013.

There was also a period of time when the device was referred to by rumormongers as the “iPhone 5SE.” However, last month it was reported that Apple either dropped the “5” from the title or it was just always going to be called the SE.

What will the iPhone SE look like?

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Pretty much exactly like the iPhone 5s, only the edges of the glass display will be curved like on the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6s, making it feel a little bit slimmer in your hand. Case designs that have leaked show the power button will still be at the top, with the mute switch and volume knobs on the side, just like the iPhone 5s. Color options will reportedly include gold, silver, space gray and rose gold.

The iPhone SE is said to pack a 4-inch Retina display. It’s unclear if the rear casing will be exactly like iPhone 5s or if Apple will use something similar to the iPhone 6 body that makes it look like one piece of metal. We have seen zero leaked parts of the rear case, so Apple could still pull out a few surprises.

Will the iPhone SE be slow?

No. Apple reportedly plans to toss in some pretty impressive hardware to draw in more buyers. The iPhone SE will pack the same A9 processor found in the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus. The A9 processor is a speedy piece of silicon: It’s 70 percent faster at CPU tasks than the A8 processor found in the iPhone 6, while GPU performance is 90 percent faster.

It’s unclear how much RAM the new phone will contain. Rumors have been split between 2GB and 1GB, though we’d probably guess it’ll only come with 1GB of RAM because Apple is known to skimp on memory if it’s not completely necessary. With an A9 processor and M9 co-processor, the iPhone SE should also include always-on “Hey Siri” support that doesn’t require the device to be plugged into power, like on iPhones with an A8 processor and below.

What about storage?

Don’t expect a lot. The baseline model will probably only come with 16GB (update: leaked packaging appears to confirm this). Apple will likely offer a 64GB model, too, which is better than the 16GB and 32GB options the iPhone 5c debuted with, but hoping for a 128GB model is most likely futile.

How good will the iPhone SE camera be?

iPhone SE gets the same camera as the iPhone 6.

For many iPhone owners, their smartphone is their only camera. Apple is embracing this now more than ever, so it’s supposedly putting one of the best cameras it’s ever made in the iPhone SE.

The camera sensor will likely be the same 12-megapixel sensor found on the iPhone 6 instead of the slightly better 12-megapixel sensor from the iPhone 6s. Still, a 12MP camera on a budget iPhone is pretty awesome.

With that 12-megapixel rear camera you probably won’t get 4K video recording capabilities, but you should get Live Photos and slo-mo video at 240 frames per second. The selfie camera on front will come in at 5-megapixel, just like on the iPhone 6 and 6s.

Is 3D Touch included?

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Nope, sorry. 3D Touch isn’t that amazing yet anyway, so you won’t be missing out on much.

What about Apple Pay?

Yes. NFC and Touch ID will be added so you can tap to pay anywhere Apple Pay is accepted.

How cheap is ‘cheap’?

We’re talking Apple cheap, so it’s still going to be way more expensive than most budget Android smartphones. The starting price for the iPhone SE will likely start between $399 and $499. The 16GB iPhone 5s is currently priced at $449, so it’ll be in that range.

When will the iPhone SE go on sale?

Preorders may be available immediately after Apple’s event on March 21, or within a few days after. iPhone SE units could arrive at Apple Stores as soon as Friday, March 25.

Be sure to come back at 10 a.m. Pacific on Monday, March 21, for Cult of Mac’s liveblog of the iPhone SE event.

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  • http://hack4life.org/ Fabian Geissler

    Where can I download the Wallpaper from the article picture?

  • Gonçalo Ribeiro

    Sorry Buster, but the iPhone 6 has a 8MP sensor not a 12MP, and the FaceTime camera in the iPhone 6 is 1.2MP and in the 6s a 5MP sensor, not 8MP on both…

  • imtough

    Know that you know nothing about it. Bunch of nerds huddled around in your single mom’s basement speculating what you imagine tits feel like.#BagOfSand

  • JonPi

    I wish people at sites that cover Apple would stop portraying 4-inch iPhone buyers as caring about the cost. A lot of us would pay iPhone 6S prices to have a non-massive phone with up-to-date hardware and features. Many of us have been nursing our old iPhones in hopes that Apple would once again produce a pocket-sized phone.

    • networking_in_maine

      Don’t take speculative reporting that points out the price point as real reason that some would want to buy an item as an individual judgment of you as a person…you will enjoy the internet more.