Pixel Envy

Written by Nick Heer.

iPhone 5SE Rumours

Last week, Mark Gurman published what he’s heard about the forthcoming “iPhone 5SE” (I’ve trimmed his list):

Sources have provided the following list of “iPhone 5se” upgrades over the 5s:

  • The chamfered, shiny edges have been replaced with curved glass like on the iPhone 6 and 6s lines

  • The same 8 megapixel rear camera and 1.2 megapixel front camera systems from the iPhone 6

  • The A8 and M8 chips from the iPhone 6

  • Live Photos from the iPhone 6s

This seems like a strange blend of features, like the lovechild of all three iPhone model lines currently on sale. Rounded edges mixed with the 5S’ existing hardware seems a little weird, as does the inclusion of Live Photos — perhaps the iPhone 6 could see a software update that enables Live Photos for it, too.

But the waters became even murkier today with Gurman’s latest report:

We’ve now learned that the iPhone 5se is more likely to include variants of the A9 and M9 chips instead of the A8 and M8 lines.

Because the iPhone 7 will include a faster chip potentially known as the A10 processor, Apple likely does not want its new 4-inch iPhone to fall two processor generations behind in just six months. Another benefit of the M9 chip from the iPhone 6s is always-on Siri activation. This feature allows a user to say “Hey Siri” and launch Siri on their iPhone without the device being plugged in. Given the large performance leap, we are told that the “5se” will likely replace the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus in the iPhone lineup this fall when the iPhone 7 is introduced.

This sounds decreasingly like an upgraded iPhone 5S and more like a scaled-down 6S. I’m not surprised that a refreshed four-inch iPhone is rumoured, but this spec sheet is peculiar. Not unlikely, but not what I was expecting.