Many people scoffed when Apple released the 4-inch iPhone SE a while back. The idea that anyone would want a smaller iPhone with a significantly smaller screen seemed outlandish to folks that had been using larger iPhones.
But the iPhone SE quickly proved to be a big hit with many of Apple’s customers. Pre-orders sold out for some models and many people had to wait weeks to get their iPhone SE. Demand for the iPhone SE was much higher than Apple had foreseen when it launched the phone.
The iPhone SE also got mostly positive reviews, which probably helped stoke even more demand for the phone. Buyers of the iPhone SE also seemed pretty happy with their smaller iPhone after using it for a while.
So what will happen when Apple releases the iPhone 8 in 2017? Will the company release a 4-inch version of their newest phone? One writer at iMore has posted a plea for Apple to keep going with its smaller iPhone:
Lory Gil reports for iMore:
…I’m a big supporter of the four-inch iPhone SE: It’s lightweight, fits comfortably in my pocket and bags, and has everything I need to communicate with both my online and real-life world. With the release of the new iPhone models, I’ve tried to embrace the iPhone 7 Plus, but so far, I still feel that the iPhone SE is the size for me. I find the larger form-factors of the 7 and 7 Plus unwieldy for my hands, usage patterns, and my pockets — making it less than ideal for mobile computing.
While I don’t think the smaller iPhone is a top priority for Apple right now, I’m hopeful that the company has something special coming for us in the future. There were clearly enough fans of the four-inch iPhone to get us the iPhone SE a year and a half after the larger iPhone launched, which is evidence that Apple is listening.
But for the SE to come into the future, its casing has to be completely reengineered: The 5s housing isn’t in any way waterproof, nor was it built to include a “camera bump”, 3D Touch, a Taptic Engine, or any of the more recent iPhone improvements.
We may never get everything we want in a smaller iPhone handset, but we can still hold out hope that Apple will continue to update the smaller size for years to come. It fills an important niche for the company: the low-cost, good-for-small-hands-and-pockets contingent.
Why not a 4.3-inch iPhone 8?
Lori makes some good points in her post about the smaller iPhone. It’s a real shame that Apple didn’t update the iPhone SE when it released the iPhone 7, but I don’t think that means that company is done with smaller iPhones.
I suspect that Apple is quietly working on a smaller version of the iPhone 8 for next year. And I also suspect that the screen of the smaller iPhone 8 will be 4.3-inches instead of 4-inches.
Rumors have been flying that the iPhone 8 will be the biggest redesign of the iPhone ever. This might mean that Apple is working toward an edge-to-edge screen with much smaller or non-existent bezels. That would allow the company to produce an iPhone 8 with a 4.3-inch screen instead of today’s 4-inch screen, but in the same size chassis.
Think about it for a second. A redesigned iPhone 8 with a 4.3-inch screen would really be the best of all possible worlds for Apple and its customers who want a smaller iPhone. The overall footprint of the phone would more or less stay the same or be smaller while the screen would get slightly larger and wider.
The only downside I can see for small iPhone fans is if the 4.3-inch iPhone 8 doesn’t quite match up in terms of hardware features to its larger siblings. Only Apple knows what it can stuff into a smaller phone, but my hope is that a 4.3-inch iPhone 8 will largely be on par with the larger ones.
The iPhone SE taught Apple a valuable lesson
Regardless of what the final hardware specs of a smaller iPhone 8 end up being, I think that the iPhone SE has taught Apple a very valuable lesson. There are folks out there who do not want larger phones, and who will eagerly purchase an updated smaller iPhone.
I think that the company finally understands this, and knows that it cannot afford to leave that market segment behind, given that those customers are just as valuable as the folks who buy larger phones in terms of Apple’s services revenue (which has become more and more important to the company in recent years).
So I have faith that Apple will indeed release an updated smaller iPhone. Until then we’ll have to make do with the iPhone SE, but take heart small iPhone fans. The iPhone 8 is on the way and it will probably be the best smaller iPhone that Apple has ever created.
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