The next iPhone is starting to roll down the assembly line. No, not the anticipated “iPhone 7,” but a 4-inch smartphone from Apple that may be called the iPhone 5se, according to Japanese news website Nikkei.
The smaller smartphone is expected to come in cheaper than Apple’s flagship iPhone 6S and may be particularly aimed at helping the company make headway into emerging smartphone markets, according to the report. But don’t hold out for prices cheaper than the 5S. Once the 5se comes to market, Apple plans to retire the iPhone 5S, with the new 4-inch iPhone taking its place and likely its price point — $450 for a fully unlocked model in the U.S., according to 9to5Mac.
The iPhone 5se is expected to come with a number of improvements over the 5S, such as support for the Apple Pay mobile payment system, always-on Siri voice assistant, upgraded camera, curved screen edges, the live photos feature that comes in the iPhone 6S and new color options. However, it isn’t expected to come with more advanced hardware than its flagship models, particularly the pressure-sensitive 3D Touch display found in the 6S and 6S Plus.
Apple was expected to make headway in emerging markets with the $549 plastic iPhone 5C in 2013. But only a few weeks after its launch, it started to reduce supply chain orders for the handset, according to the Wall Street Journal.
Apple is anticipated to unveil the new iPhone model in March alongside new Apple Watch bands and possibly an iPad Air 3. It’s also expected to launch fully revamped flagship iPhone models. But those aren’t due to debut until sometime in the second half of 2016. In the meantime, investors are keeping a close eye on the company’s moves as it’s expected to post a year-over-year decline in iPhone sales in 2016 — a first for the smartphone since its launch in 2007.