back to article Remember the 'budget' iPhone SE? Apple plans an update – reports

Apple hasn't forgotten its miraculous budget iPhone, the iPhone SE, after all. The ornate miniature looks set for an update next year, according to reports. Apple introduced the 4-inch iPhone SE in March 2016 last year but today's models still use the same components. Taiwanese channel site CENS suggests that the SE2 will be …

  1. Craig 2

    I was hoping they would update it eventually, I still use my 5S heavily but it's beginning to groan under the strain now. I almost bought an SE but held out for just this eventuality.. The form factor does everything (I need) and is more convenient to carry everywhere than it's more bulky successors.

    1. John Robson Silver badge

      Absolutely - the 5/5S/SE form factor is a reasonable compromise between battery, screen, portability...

      It does the main things it needs to do (calls, sms/iMessage) and allows you to do quick research etc online. I might not want to read a lot on it, but then I have paper, a Kindle (just broke the screen :() and an iPad mini for that...

      1. Dave 126 Silver badge

        The SE is the width of a playing card. The larger iPhones, and many Android phones, are the width of a postcard. Both playing cards and postcards are 'mature technologies', with the former being designed to be easily held and manipulated in one hand whilst showing some limited information clearly, whilst postcards are designed to display more information, a photograph, in more detail.

        The original iPhone replaced phones that were largely used for calls, SMS and other text-based messaging services. Since then though, people use their phones for a wider range of tasks, many of them photo and video based.

        1. John Robson Silver badge

          "The original iPhone replaced phones that were largely used for calls, SMS and other text-based messaging services. Since then though, people use their phones for a wider range of tasks, many of them photo and video based."

          Postcards are primarily designed to be written on aren't they?

          My phone does a fair amount of photo/video capture, but it's not a device I'd choose to use for video playback where I care about the 'experience' rather than verifying the content.

          But then I don't think the 6/7/8 or plus sized versions are large enough for 'experience' video either. Mu iPad mini is good enough for sports, but I still want an actual screen when possible (for photo/video).

          Personally (and I am clearly not alone, but also clearly don't speak for everyone) I think that the 'playing cards' format is a good compromise.

          1. Dave 126 Silver badge

            @John

            I think you may have missed the point. No matter.

            Not all video content requires or benefits from a big screen like Lawrence of Arabia does. People's use-cases for phones have evolved since the original iPhone, in line with cellular data speeds and cheapness, processing power and screen resolution.

            I actually like the SE form factor (my last phone was at the time the only full power compact Android phone, an Xperia Z3C)

            1. John Robson Silver badge

              "I think you may have missed the point. No matter."

              I may have done...

              But I see two main classes of visual content. Stuff like Blue Planet, where the visuals are an important component of the story being told, and stuff like most YT content, where actually it doesn't often matter than I can't see each pore on the face of the person who is talking, because it's the talking that is more interesting.

              I'm sure there are other classes - but I choose the device I use based on the content type I am watching. It does also mean that I don't try to watch Blue Planet when I'm driving....

    2. Halfmad

      I moved to Apple for the SE, long time Android user but the android alternatives back at the time were very limited in number due to the trend of phones getting bigger.

      I'm intending to return to Android in a year or so but the iPhone SE has been superb for me personally, just a shame it runs IOS.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Get a Pixel 2 (non-XL model), it's all this and more, without any compromises. The perfect size, best in class display and camera. Yours for £500 in the current sales, MUCH less than any iphone and significantly better to boot.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    UK street price (for a refurbished....

    Ah, the meaningless term "refurbished", which usually means "we polished the greasy fingerprints off, and put it in a new box".

    If the phone is an open box return, or something with a bare few hours of use, with a decent discount it can be a bargain. If its fourteen months old, has had 300+ charging cycles, and a hamfisted user abusing the charging socket, it may be less desirable. Or if it was returned for a fault that didn't get found by the fingerprint polisher's casual inspection. Even with the warranty, you'd have to be that strange combination of an Apple devotee seeking a tiny phone, who is price conscious.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: UK street price (for a refurbished....

      I work for a company involved in phone repair (although I'm not directly involved in that side of the business myself).

      I don't know how true your accusation about "polishing the greasy fingerprints off" is here. (#) However, from what I've heard, a lot of officially "refurbished" iPhones are faulty ones returned by customers- either under warranty or as an exchange- and while they look new on the outside, they're often surprisingly shoddily repaired on the inside (which my colleagues have confirmed from personal experience). This increases the chance of failure in the future.

      Apple gets faulty phone, customer pays significant percentage of the cost of a new phone for a refurbished exchange (as described above), Apple gets customer's old phone that can be refurbished and sold on as another exchange for approaching pure profit.

      (#) I know that this *is* true in other cases; "refurbished" video recorders (this was some time back) being sold ridiculously cheaply were essentially Argos returns that weren't even checked. The wholesale price reflected this; the problem was that if a customer had to return even (say) one out of four, the postage would eat up our profits. (We had them drop-shipped, we wouldn't have bothered with this nonsense ourselves).

      1. Gordon 10 Silver badge

        Re: UK street price (for a refurbished....

        Eh? Apple's own refurb site doesn't require you to exchange your old phone.

        Well recommended (at least for Macbooks) can't speak for Phones.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: UK street price (for a refurbished....

          @ Gordon 10; Could be in-warranty exchanges, then. I do know that the phones had obviously been repaired inside, however, and the circumstances meant that it could only have been done by (or on behalf of) Apple.

    2. tim 13

      Re: UK street price (for a refurbished....

      That'll be me then. Been pleased with mine. 64Gb for £199 with a dent in the corner that you can't see cos it's in a case.

    3. dave 93

      Re: UK street price (for a refurbished....

      All Apple refurbs get a new case, new battery and full warranty. Just sayin'

      https://www.apple.com/shop/browse/home/specialdeals/iphone

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: UK street price (for a refurbished....

      I bought my daughter a refurbed iPhone 5 a couple of months ago for under £100 - even if I need a new battery it blows away any budget android.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    £300 refurbished? You've been ripped off.

    I'm not an apple fan, but check out the price of an *unlocked* iphone SE at Argos. My wife paid £299 a couple of months ago, and they're currently £269...

    1. wolfetone Silver badge

      Re: £300 refurbished? You've been ripped off.

      32GB for £269 is a good deal.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: £300 refurbished? You've been ripped off.

      The 128Gb version can be had for £400 brand new

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: £300 refurbished? You've been ripped off.

        The 128Gb version can be had for £400 brand new

        Even if you want a tiny screen, four hundred notes for it, and two year old technology as well?

        Year after year, I still find the mobile phone market is truly breathtaking in terms of the willingness of some customers to pay huge amounts for so very little in return. Fair enough if you're part of the billionaire gliteratti, then you really don't know what to do with your money. But for everybody else, even the well to do, is there really nothing better you can find to buy?

        1. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

          Re: £300 refurbished? You've been ripped off.

          You could buy secondhand.

          Only today, I passed a shop offering the same price (up to) for an iPhone SE as a Galaxy 6.

          1. Dave 126 Silver badge

            Re: £300 refurbished? You've been ripped off.

            A two year old Apple A9 SoC is still a very capable chip, aided by very fast NAND storage, too. See the Anandtech benchmarks. Looking at the silicone alone doesn't give you the whole picture though - how a device performs is a function of software and hardware.

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: £300 refurbished? You've been ripped off.

            You could buy secondhand.

            Or not buy Apple.

            1. pks2973steel

              Re: £300 refurbished? You've been ripped off.

              I agree with you. The late Steve Job's rule was "5x". What ever was you manufacturing cost was, take that amount and 'times' it' by FIVE. So that $1,000.00 'X' IPhone costs Apple just abit under $200.00USD. Ummm... a 800.00 mark-up, what a profit.

      2. the future is back!

        Re: £300 refurbished...

        Late September 128GB New $499 USD fantastic phone for the realistic very sturdy, great battery life, capabilities meet my PHONE needs. My third SE 1st 32GB needed more memory, 2nd 64GB stolen so remotely bricked. In a pinch decent video and photo apps but iPad mini is plan A for that, or huge desktop Mac.

    3. rh587 Bronze badge

      Re: £300 refurbished? You've been ripped off.

      Indeed - they're only £349 new on the Apple website and - as you say - far cheaper if you shop around.

    4. werdsmith Silver badge

      Re: £300 refurbished? You've been ripped off.

      Giffgaff have 128GB SE for £299 unlocked Black Friday deal.

      New not refurb.

  4. sandman

    I sincerely hope this was deliberate.

    "because almost nobody in China wants anything under 5.5 inches." Fnar, fnar... ;-)

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I sincerely hope this was deliberate.

      "because almost nobody in China wants anything under 5.5 inches."

      And those who do, are fucking midgets?

      Reeeeally sorry, I was already on my way out, no need to push!

  5. snozdop

    GiffGaff are selling the 32Gb iPhone SE for £219, 128Gb for £299

    John Lewis and Argos sell the 32Gb for £269

    So, refurbished for £300 is way overpriced.

  6. davidp231

    SE2?

    Nah... SE/30 would be more appropriate - as I doubt they'd get away with the SEx.

    1. TRT Silver badge

      Re: SE2?

      Ha ha, SE/30. Good one.

      1. davidp231

        Re: SE2?

        Well it was more modern (for the time) components in the same chassis as the original, so why not?

        Original SE: 4MB RAM max, Motorola 68000 @ 8MHz, 512x342 9" display, DD floppy* + HDD, or twin DD floppy

        SE/30: 128MB RAM max, Motorola 68030 @ 16 (I think), maybe 20/25 without looking, HD floppy, HDD

        *HD floppy was an optional upgrade for the SE, giving it the name SE FDHD, everything else stayed the same

        1. Disk0
          Thumb Up

          Re: SE2?

          It should be the iPhone IIx - pronounced "aye-faun aye aye Axe" but refer to it as the "iPhone SE Mark 2" just to confuse the hell out of us all.

  7. TRT Silver badge

    I'm in the market for an SE

    New, of course, 128Gb. Perfect size, takes calls, takes texts and it can do other stuff like maps, what more does one need? If I want to watch TV, I buy a TV. If I want to go out taking photos, I buy a camera.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I'm in the market for an SE

      Does that mean you don't have a wife (they can do more than one thing)

      1. TRT Silver badge

        Re: I'm in the market for an SE

        I don't, no.

  8. The Indomitable Gall

    Headphone socket...?

    I've been considering getting an SE or a 6s as a "last iPhone I can use my VideoMic Me with" before they disappear off the shelves, so I'll be interested to find out whether this SE2 will have a headset socket or not...

  9. Andytug

    A cynic might suggest...

    that the reason for this "upgrade" is to force obsolescence on existing users (e.g. Iphone4/5S) so they have to buy new ones, or they wont get the latest IOS which means their apps no longer work........

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: A cynic might suggest...

      Let's be fair, you accepted that for years from Microsoft with nary a complaint, for much shorter refresh cycles, only Intel benefitted more from this than MS other that the latter could continue to get away with shoddy, inefficient code that would be rejected by any coder with self respect.

      Apple's refresh cycle seems to be in line with battery degradation, so 2..4 years :)

    2. rh587 Bronze badge

      Re: A cynic might suggest...

      that the reason for this "upgrade" is to force obsolescence on existing users (e.g. Iphone4/5S) so they have to buy new ones, or they wont get the latest IOS which means their apps no longer work........

      Um, manufacturers upgrade their hardware. The SE is a couple of years old. Why wouldn't they increment the guts of it?

      And the 4/5s are obsolete (in that they haven't made them for years). The 5S is five year old tech.

      Being a tight git who runs long on technology, I'm still loving mine, but I'm apparently the only person I know who can go more than 2-3 years without either losing their phone or smashing it beyond the point of repair, so quite how many 2013 5S handsets are still in circulation I don't know.

      For me, the form factor is "peak mobile". It's ideal, but I've also been acutely aware that if my 5S dies today that replacing it with an SE would involve paying good money for a two year old phone. I'll be glad to have the option to get current-gen hardware that'll last me another 4-6 years.

      I just hope that the SE2 retains TouchID instead of FaceID, and has a proper headphone port.

      1. DRue2514

        Re: A cynic might suggest...

        I had 6 years out of my iPhone 4 before getting the SE. What's more, I could still sell off the old 4. Doubt that would have happened with a non-Apple phone. Not likely to be upgrading just yet though - too soon for me.

  10. dave 93
    Trollface

    Orlowski's iPhone 'Damascus' moment reveals he's just a cheapskate...

    After years of slagging Apple in general, and the iPhone in particular, now we find out it was only ever the price that put him off. I bet he secretly uses an Apple MacBook too...

  11. 0laf Silver badge

    I got an SE. I'm no fanboi. I wanted a smaller screen so it would fit in my pocket in a case. And the smaller screen would mean the battery lasted longer. I was changing from a Nokia 920.

    I do struggle a bit with the smaller keyboard, but fuck paying £800+ for a bigger one. But the phone works with everything I need, a decent camera, and storage for the limited apps I want (I've a 64 from the days when it was either the too small 16 or the too big 64).

    I still prefer Winpho8 to use, but the SE does everything I need without selling my soul to Google.

  12. Fazal Majid

    Very encouraging

    The lightning port on my iPhone 6 is dying, as had the previous one I had to replace under warranty 2 years ago. I'd love a small inexpensive iPhone with wireless charging, as my primary mobile device is an iPad Pro 10.5", not an iPhone.

    1. aspaceodyssey

      Re: Very encouraging

      If your lightning port is failing... have you tried cleaning it out ...? I had a similar problem with the port being temperamental but a bit of twidding with a toothpick got my iPhone 6 back up to charging properly... (though sadly didn’t cure the fact that the battery life has deteriorated)

  13. Stuart21551

    SE is now a much better phone, with iOS 11.1.1 - fingerprint recognition is much faster, and before fingerprint would not register if it was plugged in, due to stray elec. fields, I think. Now it does.

    ;-)

  14. NeilPost

    Price is £299 everywhere but Apple

    "In fact, the SE is as much iPhone as any one needs – or needs to pay for. With a UK street price (for a refurbished, under warranty model) of a shade under £300, it's also the most affordable, offering an entry into the Apple ecosystem that makes the larger models look starkly gaudy."

    The going rate for a brand new SIM Free 32Gb iPhone SE is £299, pretty much everywhere but Apple. That includes John Lewis with a 2 year warranty.

    1. Jason Hindle

      Re: Price is £299 everywhere but Apple

      £30 off at Argos today, and tempting. Between the bog standard iPad (£299 at some places, in the Black Friday sales), and the SE, entry to the iOS ecosystem is actually quite cheap when compared with Android running on similar hardware.

  15. Steve Graham

    Where are the small phones?

    I had hoped that Android manufacturers would follow Apple like sheep and bring out phones that would fit in my pocket, but it hasn't really happened. Sony have done 'compact' versions, but that's about it.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I will only use a 4" phone

    I have zero interest in a phone bigger than 4" - I have a macbook and a iPad. The missus had a iPhone 6 and it was too big to use with one hand and fit easily in a back pocket. I was thinking the SE would get me to 2019 - so this is excellent news,

  17. xpz393

    "because almost nobody in China wants anything under 5.5 inches"

    Giggedy.

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