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What the iPhone SE tells us about the iPhone 7


The iPhone SE is finally official. After months of leaks, rumours and hearsay, Apple took the lid off the new 4-inch handset at an event last night at its HQ in California.

While it packs the power of the iPhone 6S into a smaller form factor, it's not a flagship phone. Rather, it sports the same body as the two-and-a-half-year-old iPhone 5S.

Which is great, if you want to save a bit of money and aren't bothered about a bigger, sharper screen.

But it got us thinking – where does it leave the iPhone 7?

Join us as we read between the lines to predict what Apple's next flagship phone will be like.

Similar design

iPhone SE official

The iPhone SE looks almost identical to the iPhone 5S, complete with sharp edges and circular volume buttons.

The only difference? It has the same colours scheme as the iPhone 6S – in other words, you can buy it in rose gold.

Which suggests we might not see a radical overhaul for the iPhone 7.

Sure, there will be tweaks, just as there are in every proper new iPhone model (as opposed to the S iterations, which generally look the same as their predecessors).

Two of the biggest changes are rumoured to be the lack of a headphone port to make the phone slimmer, and a dual-lens camera.

But the fact Apple is happy to rebadge the old 5S shows that it's not averse to sticking with what works.

Same size as the 6S

iPhone SE and other iPhones

Now Apple has a much more powerful 4-inch phone in the iPhone SE, it will undoubtedly stick to its current range of sizes.

Offering handsets at 5.5 inches, 4.7 inches and 4 inches, Apple has something for everyone.

Which means the iPhone 7 is most likely to have a 4.7-inch screen, while the iPhone 7 Plus will stand 5.5 inches.

In other words, it's business as usual on the size front.

Sharper screen

iPhone 7 dual camera

The iPhone SE has the same pixel density as the iPhone 6S: 326ppi. (Pixel density is how close together the pixels are – the higher the ppi number, the sharper the screen.)

Now the iPhone SE has almost all the same features as the 6S but in a smaller package, Apple will need to work harder to justify the iPhone 7's higher price.

This will – hopefully – include giving it a sharper screen.

Apple has lagged behind the competition in terms of screen sharpness for some time now.

It's not the most important aspect of a phone, of course. But now we spend hours each day staring at it, it'd make sense to have the best screen possible.

September launch

tim cook apple

The iPhone SE was as much about the yearly launch cycle as it was about announcing a new phone.

Now Apple can hold a regular event in March to launch further iterations of the small handset, it can also use the event as a PR opportunity to announce other initiatives and update watchers on how well it's doing.

Of course it could do this with a press release.

But an iPhone launch always attracts a huge audience, so much so that Apple livestreams it on its own website.

March is six months away from September, so expect this to be the new cycle for big Apple launches: iPhone 7 in September, iPhone SE in March.

Where that leaves the Apple Watch is anyone's guess. A year after launching it, Apple dropped the price and announced some new bands, but that's it.

All eyes are on a second model being announced in September, alongside the iPhone 7.

But we think it would make more sense to launch in March, ahead of the summer.

This would also make the March conference less of a sideshow to the 'proper' iPhone launch in September.

Want all the latest speculation around the iPhone 7? Head to our rumours round-up.

Category: Features
Tagged: iphone, apple
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