Will Apple upgrade the iPhone SE in 2017?

Rumors suggest that Apple will not update its popular 4-inch iPhone SE in 2017, and that could be a big mistake. Users that prefer the smaller iPhone should have the option to upgrade to a better version of the iPhone SE.

When Apple first released the iPhone SE there were many naysayers in the media that downplayed the appeal of a new 4-inch phone. Well these nattering nabobs of negativism where proven wrong when the iPhone SE proved to be quite popular with Apple’s customers.

Unfortunately, it seems increasingly likely that the iPhone SE will not get an update in 2017, according to a recent report on the MacRumors site:

Apple will not refresh the iPhone SE in the first half of 2017, according to KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo. The lack of refresh comes as Apple attempts to maintain high margins on its high-end iPhone models, Kuo said in a new research note.

Kuo forecasts that total shipment volume of iPhones will decline in the first half of 2017 due to tepid demand in China, slow shipment volume of 4.7-inch iPhones and the lack of an iPhone SE refresh in the second quarter of the year. Kuo argues that shipment volume came in higher in the first half of 2016 due to “upbeat demand for the iPhone SE.”

Apple introduced the iPhone SE in March 2016, packing in many of the iPhone 6s’ features and component into a 4-inch frame similar to that of the iPhone 5s. It’s unclear what kind of upgrade schedule Apple will adopt for the device, but it’s internals are powerful enough to remain a capable phone for a couple of years.

More at MacRumors

As always I take this kind of rumor with a huge grain of salt, only Apple knows if they will update the iPhone SE in 2017 or not. However, Kuo has been proven right in the past on other predictions so it’s worth taking note of his comments about the iPhone SE.

iPhone SE owners deserve an upgrade

If Apple does not update the iPhone SE and does not release a 4-inch or 4.3-inch version of the iPhone 8, I think the company will be doing its customers a major disservice and it will no doubt anger some owners of the current iPhone SE.

Don’t get me wrong here, the hardware in the iPhone SE is by no means bad. Current iPhone SE owners could certainly get by fine for another year, but the fact is that they should have the option to upgrade to a newer model the same way that owners of the larger iPhones are able to do each year.

One of the criticisms of the iPhone SE was that it lacked some of the hardware features found in the iPhone 6 and 6s Plus when it was first released. Some reviewers and users were disappointed that 3D Touch and other features found in the larger phones were not available in the iPhone SE.

That resentment about having to settle for a slightly lesser model of iPhone is going to grow the longer Apple holds off on updating the iPhone SE. Fans of smaller phones might rightly call into question the fairness of being forced by Apple to lag behind users of larger iPhones.

Why should iPhone SE users accept being second class customers?

Larger iPhones don’t work for all Apple customers

Let’s face it, some folks just do not like larger phones. It doesn’t matter if we’re talking about the 4.7-inch screen iPhone or the 5.5-inch screen Plus model. Both of the larger phones simply do not work for customers that want a small phone.

I thought Apple understood this when they released the iPhone SE, but the company now seems to think it can blithely ignore smaller phone users while releasing what looks to be the biggest overhaul ever of the iPhone next year with the iPhone 8.

I had hoped that we would see a 4-inch or 4.3-inch version of the iPhone 8 next year that would replace the iPhone SE altogether, but that now seems very unlikely. From everything I’ve read Apple seems to be working on just a regular and plus sized model iPhone 8.

So the folks that like small phones will probably be frozen in time for another year with their iPhone SE devices, but the larger iPhones will get a huge upgrade and revised form factor in the iPhone 8.

There should be three sizes of the iPhone 8

I think it’s time for Apple to accept the fact that they need three sizes for the iPhone 8. One size for the folks that want a small phone, one for those who prefer a mid-size phone, and one for the users that want a big phablet.

If the company just offered three sizes of iPhone 8, with mostly the same hardware and features, it would go a long way toward generating good will and great sales of the next iPhone. And the iPhone SE could be retired gracefully without angering the customers that prefer smaller phones since they could just upgrade to the small version of the iPhone 8.

Unfortunately, I doubt that this will happen. For all we know the iPhone SE could become the next Mac Pro and suffer for years without an update, with no small version of the iPhone 8 becoming available either.

I don't know what's going on inside Apple these days, but the company better get ready to hear from some angry iPhone SE users if they don't release an updated small phone in 2017.

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Copyright © 2016 IDG Communications, Inc.

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