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iPhone SE deals & rumours: specs & release date

iphone 6c large

When is the Apple iPhone SE on sale?

Update: Apple's iPhone SE goes on pre-order on March 21st. It'll be officially available to buy from March 31st.

You can compare iPhone SE deals at our dedicated page.

You'll most likely have to wait until April to get your hands on the next-gen budget iPhone.

Rumours suggest the iPhone SE (the 'SE' suffix apparently stands for 'Special Edition) is being unveiled on March 21st a major press event.

A delay of about ten days before the phone lands on shop shelves is in line with Apple's standard release schedule.

For what it's worth, the same launch event is also tipped to see the debut of the iPad Air 3 and the Apple Watch 2.

How much will the iPhone 5SE / iPhone SE cost?

Update: iPhone SE prices start at £359 for the entry-level 16GB version and £439 for the 64GB edition.

The iPhone SE's price is yet to be announced. But going by the day-one pricing of its predecessor the iPhone 5C, we'll hang our hat on a starting price of £30-£35 on contracts, with nothing to pay upfront.

Naturally, if you're prepared to pay a bit upfront you'll save a bit on the monthly contract price.

Think you want to buy the iPhone SE outright without a contract? Once again, we can't say for certain how much cash you should prepare to part with. But past form and the price of the iPhone 5C suggests you should probably expect to pay about £470.

That said, we've also heard talk of a price in line with the current asking price for the iPhone 5S. In which case, you're looking at £379 outright and £25-£30 on monthly contracts.

iPhone SE rumours round-up

Update: We know now everything there is to know about the iPhone SE. You can get up to speed fast with our 5 point guide.

From 'known knowns' to 'known unknowns' and even some 'Christ alone knows', here's everything we think we know about the iPhone SE.

Extra sizer than sizeway

Not everyone wants a super-sized smartphone, such as the five-inch iPhone 6 or 5.5-inch iPhone 6S Plus.

For that reason the iPhone 5S is expected to retain the same dimensions at the iPhone 5C and come in at a compact and bijou four inches.

Room at the top

iphone 5SE storage

Signs are that the iPhone SE will come in 16GB and 64GB options. The latter marks a major step up in storage capacity for an iPhone pitched as a mid-range phone.

Colour me bad

iphone 5SE

iPhone SE colour options are expected to include silver, space grey and rose gold, bringing Apple's cheaper phones more in line with its high-end models.

It seems the days of the iPod-style primary colours that marked out the iPhone 5C are gone for good.

Camera obscura

iphone 5SE camera

The iPhone 7 is set for a major camera upgrade this year. Not so the lower-end iPhone 5SE, though.

It's purported to feature the same 8-megapixel and 1.2-megapixel snapper at the iPhone 5S and iPhone 6.

However, there are some changes afoot. Not least the fact that it will reportedly support Live Photos. This was the feature of the last-gen iPhone that captured moving footage before and after still images you took. It also lets you add music.

The camera will also let you capture larger panoramas and will include autofocus for video recording.

Same as it ever was

A leaked video purporting to show the iPhone SE, or iPhone 6C as it was then being called, appears to confirm it'll be identical to the 6S in the design stakes. Just a bit smaller.

(I've got) The Power

Suggestions from Apple's supply chain indicate that while the iPhone SE will mostly feature the same spec sheet as the iPhone 6, it will sport the same beefy A9 processor as the iPhone 6S.

The big payback

An onboard Near Field Communications (NFC) chip means you'll be able to use the iPhone SE to pay for low-ticket goods and services, as well for journeys on London Underground's Tube network.

To use the service, dubbed Apple Pay, you simply swipe your phone over a reader.

Very metal

To save on materials, the iPhone 5C was fashioned from lightweight polycarbonate. That's plastic to you and me.

But the iPhone SE will apparently ditch the cheap and cheerful approach for a luxe metal construction.

What effect that has on the asking price remains to be seen.

What's in a name?

Forget the iPhone 5SE. Now it seems the updated smartphone will be called the iPhone SE.

That’s the word from insiders speaking with Apple–loving rumour sites. The reason?

Keeping the ‘5’ in the title could confuse consumers, especially as Apple is likely to release its iPhone 7 later this year.

Also, by ditching the number, Apple is no longer wedded to releasing a sequel every year.

The iPhone SE could sit in its range untouched for years as a budget option.

Dapper snapper

iphone 6 camera sample

Specs for the new iPhone SE have been locked in for ages according to rumour hounds.

But Ming Chi Kuo, an analyst with a strong record of nailing Apple rumours, reckons that the iPhone SE will actually come with a 12 megapixel camera.

If that is the case, it’ll be a big improvement on the eight megapixel offering many expected. Live Photos are also set to be supported.

Space is the place

Those hoping that Apple would offer a 32GB model of its new iPhone are set to be disappointed.

Word from Kuo is that Apple will launch 16GB and 64GB models, sticking with its policy of not offering a mid–range storage size.

This is designed to get consumers buying the larger 64GB edition, although may leave many wondering whether the iPhone SE is really a budget model after all.

Reach out and 3D Touch someone

3d touch iphone

Component leaks suggest that Apple will not include pressure-sensitive screen shortcuts system 3D Touch in the iPhone SE.

The reason? The device is not designed to be a flagship phone and the pressure–sensitive touch tech is being kept back for its top end iPhone 6s.

That makes certain sense. The idea is to price the iPhone SE at the same point as the current iPhone 5s, and too many fancy features would affect that.

The ides of March? Or March 21st?

Apple seems to have ditched initial plans to launch the iPhone SE on March 15th.

Instead, sources say it will hold an event the week starting March 21st, with a release date to follow later.

Either way, the new device should be official within a month.

Read our full review of Apple's iPhone SE here.

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