This is the ‘iPhone 6 SE’ Apple should have made

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The 'iPhone 6 SE' has a 4-inch screen with an iPhone 6 body.
The 'iPhone 6 SE' has a 4-inch screen with an iPhone 6 body.
Photo: Computer Bild

The design of the iPhone SE is a bit stale for some Apple fans, but if you’re dying for a 4-inch iPhone that comes with the sleek curves of the iPhone 6 and 6s some determined modders from Germany have found the perfect solution.

Unhappy with the iPhone SE body, Computer Bild managed to take extract its guts and shove them into one of those fake 4-inch iPhone 6 housings from China we spotted last month. After more than two hours of careful modding, the end result is the iPhone SE Apple should have built. Better yet, it actually works.

You can watch the madness unfold below, but this is one mod you might not want to try at home.

If you do want to take the plunge and mod your iPhone SE into an iPhone 6 SE, you can grab an iPhone 6 mini case off AliExpress for less than as $20.

Computer Bild has published a walkthrough that takes you through the entire surgery, just don’t expect Apple to fix it if you mess up.

  • Gayle Crone Rupert

    Funny how people know what Apple should have done!

  • Pintea Adrian

    The iPhone 6 and 6S of course are the ugliest phones they ever made. iPhone 5 is jewlery compared to those slimmed out soapes with plastic lines, anyone with a bit of taste knows that. Johny Ive just f?@&ed up. Germans have no taste, everyone knows that.

    • Noremacam

      Or it could be, you know, that people have different tastes.

      • Pintea Adrian

        Yes yes, beauty is in the eye of the beholder and all that but still, there are designers like Philippe Stark, Zaha Hadid, Johny and many others that have real taste and they manage to intertwine design with technology in such a way that you don’t see the technology, it becomes almost magic. And iPhone 6 is nothing like that. Every time I see those plastic lines I think that they just went for the easy, already available solution that HTC used instead of finding a more elegant one where you don’t see them. That was one of the main things Steve built upon. Maybe the 7 will solve this…

      • And sometimes you have to go with the tools and technologies at hand, today, and not sit around waiting for the ones that you wish you had.

      • Pintea Adrian

        Sorry but nothing great comes out thinking like that, that does it for Samsung and others maybe but I expect more from Apple. They sit on pile of cash and still sell us 16Gb iPhones so we use more iCloud and give us yesterday design solutions for premium money? In their race to make it lighter (which I can only understand until a point) they dumped glass, ok so what next? Plastic lines? I could have come up with that in freshman year of my electronics and telecom college. The asymmetric fan blades, wireless antenna and speaker in one, multi-touch, custom size and layered batteries and so on, those you can call elegant Apple like solutions. In the past Apple did not sit around waiting for solutions to appear but instead they invested, pushed, innovated and made the impossible possible, I see little of that from them today.

      • You can “expect” whatever you want, but in the real world engineers still have to make it happen, with the solutions we have, and not the ones we wish we had.

        And you have to make them at a price point the market can afford. Not to mention that you also need to be able to source those parts ten million at a time.

        So, yeah. An iPhone with a back of indestructible amorphous alloy or shatterproof ceramic with no antenna lines would have been cool… other than the minor fact that even today those materials are still prohibitively expensive and can’t yet be produced in the quantities needed to sell millions of devices.

      • Pintea Adrian

        In the real world I am a engineer and I don’t wait for others to make it happen so I can use their solution, I invent or develop my own. Thinking like yours is typical for non-engineers, you wait for others to give you the solution and think there is no other besides that just because nobody came up with it yet. Yes those materials are expensive so using them is not an elegant solution. An elegant solution is simple, inexpensive and beatutiful.

      • You can invent or develop your own. But in the real world, real engineers also have to worry about price points. And again, they have to work with the materials (cases, electronics, etc.) that will be available when the device is manufactured.

        You can’t single-handedly create new materials out of thin air, nor use materials like sapphire or amorphous alloys that can’t yet be mass produced in the sizes and quantities needed for an iPhone. You can’t single handedly create and use 8-nanometer 16-core low-power chips that need to be fabbed in plants that haven’t even been built yet.

        In the real world, real engineers have to work within the constraints of what’s available and what’s possible today.

        You can demand those things and use them… eventually. Just not today.

        The iPhone would have dominated the world if it had been made 10 years sooner. But the chips, screens, and battery technology simply were not available at that time.

        The iPod would have been cool if a “real engineer” has shipped it sooner. Unfortunately, that engineer need to wait until the storage technology (IBM’s micro-drive) on which it was based was available. You, as a real engineer in the real world might have wished otherwise, but wishes are just that and the world had to wait until a supplier created the storage technology required, at the size required, in the quantities required, at a sufficient quality level, and all at a price point low enough to permit the device to be sold.

        Things don’t happen before their time. They can’t. Powered flight wasn’t possible until ICE technology became small enough and light enough to use.

        Finally, and speaking as an engineer to an engineer (the use of terms like amorphous alloys should have tipped you off), the fact that you either don’t know or don’t care about these things bothers me, and makes me wonder about the “elegant” but totally impractical solutions you might be developing for your company and for your clients.

        Me. I’m in awe. iPhone will be just use 9 years old this year, and yet today we’re all walking around with what, just a decade ago, would have been a super computer in our pockets. We have instant communications and instant access to a global body of knowledge and entertainment and services.

        And I can’t wait to see what happens next.

      • Pintea Adrian

        I know what you mean, I know very well about constraints and price points, I bump into them every day and if your company is doing bad financially the more of those “bumps” you are going to have. But please try to see my point as well. Apple has a ton of money, now you will say you cannot just convert money in tech miracles and I know that as well but I also don’t see them doing much with it. They could invest more in research, say, how to mass produce graphene? I think you agree it would worth the investment and is the “next big thing”. You talk about all those technological advances but somebody had to come up with them and I although we advance in small steps and we build on the work of those before us somebody also had to come up with new “stuff” that allowed them to happen. It seems to me you speak solely from the perspective of those companies that use of the shelf components to build a product. I hope we can again agree that Apple is known for doing a bit more than that. They invested in GT Advanced for those tiny camera and fingerprint scanner covers, why are they not doing more of these investments in the battery area? As opposed to the not so necessary sapphire covers we all crave more battery life. Look, I am in awe as well exactly for the reasons you mentioned and I think more people should be instead of just taking it for granted. I remember my first Internet Relay Chat on mIRC, it was something out of this world for the boy I was at that time to be able to chat real time with someone from across the world. And I remember the “before that” as well where all conversations resumed to people you already knew or had their phone number or address. That is why I am in awe, because I can do this “step back” in my memory and see the big picture, see how far we have come technologically, because as human race I still have the feeling that we lag a bit behind but I keep an optimistic view, especially when I can have such a nice discussion partner like you as opposed to those “one line guys”.

      • I think that, bottom line, we’re both saying the same things, and wanting the same things.

        From my perspective, Apple is doing what it can to push the envelope. Witness the aforementioned investment in GTA, the money spent doing their processor designs, the billions they’re committing to Sharp to build out OLED production, and so on.

        The later reinforces on of my earlier points, in that building plants and fabs and so on takes time. Years, in fact. And Apple’s problem is that they can’t use parts and technologies that aren’t quite “there” yet. They’ve grown to the point where they simply need too many of whatever it is to meet demand.

        The real issue with GTA wasn’t that they could produce sapphire. They could. They simply couldn’t produce it in the quantities needed, and at the quality levels needed.

        I might also mention that we don’t know what Apple is dong to push battery tech. Thing is, EVERYONE is pushing battery tech. It’s the key to our devices, electric cars, and more. As such, I’m not entirely sure what more Apple can do, other than seek internal efficiencies like more efficient processors, processor task coalescing. background network task coalescing, and so on.

      • Pintea Adrian

        Of course, overall, Apple is doing a good job, custom silicon and the smart ways of using it, security is also a big topic they should watch. As you mentioned it takes time for tech to mature so it will be a while until we see “the next big thing” which is OK. The plastic lines are just a personal thing and I consider them hideous :) but maybe it is just me.

      • Pintea Adrian

        And by the way does Oneplus X ring a bell? They seem to have pulled it off, oh and nothing “prohibitively” expensive to it…

      • Nice phone. What happens if you drop it? When did they build it? How many are they selling? Why doesn’t the camera have OIS? No 4K video? Only a quad-core Snapdragon 801? Not even an 820? Just 3GB of RAM while running Android? Just Bluetooth 4.0?

        Where’s the TouchID/fingerprint sensor? Secure Enclave? True-tone flash? No 3D Touch screen pressure-sensitive screen technology? Taptic Engine?

        No? Could they have added all of those things to their pretty case design? Probably. Would the device have ended up being prohibitively expensive? Definitely.

        They probably wanted those things, but real engineers working in the real world under real constraints built a good but not great phone with real-world limitations designed to hit a specific price point.

        Engineering, once again, is the art of the possible.

      • Pintea Adrian

        Just forget about it, bad example :)

  • David Kaplan

    then it wouldn’t have cost $399… New designs cost money

  • aaloo

    that looks so cool. probably some cheep aluminum though. But definitely worth it for the older iPhone 5/5s. Gives it new life.

  • Alguien

    I’m pretty sure they didn’t use that design cause they expect to launch 3 screen sizes of the iPhone 7, including a 4″.

  • imtough

    This is actually really cool. Wonder how much it would fetch on eBay. Couple grand I’d imagine.

  • Or, you know, not. The SE is based on the tried and true 5-series design, which means that there’s a ton of accessories and cases available for it on day one.

    Not to mention that reusing an existing design also provides for major cost savings in tooling and assembly, which is one of the major reasons why it can have the latest processors and other parts, and yet still be manufactured and sold at a relatively low price.

    Not every design has to be a radical redesign. Nor should it be.

  • eyeless

    That they keep the better and nicer 5S shell is the key selling point, I would say!