iPhone SE Successor Possibly To Come In Form Of New 4.8-inch ‘XE’ Model

NEWS: 04.15.19- Current owners of the iPhone SE who are fans of the smaller 4-inch form factor in Apple’s smartphone lineup may finally get their wish for a newer model to succeed the miniature device among the Cupertino, California-based tech giant’s assortment of larger sized phablets if a newly published rumor bears any weight and the new product is released.

Released in March 2016, the iPhone SE, seen here with all four of its color options, may finally be updated soon if rumors of a forthcoming successor turn out to be accurate. (Photo: Courtesy of Apple)

The week before last, Nitin Agrawal, publisher of PC Tablet, a blog based in India, reported that an Apple iPHone XE is in the making for Q3 2019, writing that it’s been well over a couple of years — three to be exact — since Apple officially announced the availability of the iPhone SE in 2016 and since then, the main iPhone line was upgraded on a regular basis but not the SE and now we know why.

“Our source which is closely associated with Foxconn’s manufacturing facility in Indiahas confirmed the iPhone SE 2 is actually iPhone XE,” writes Agrawal.

However, Agrawal notes that the Foxconn facility in India will not be the company who will manufacture the iPhone XE since they will be busy making the latest models but, rather, Apple manufacturing partner Wistron in the same locale will be in charge of manufacturing the device under the government’s “Make in India” initiative.

According to the source cited by the PC Tablet blog, the specs of the iPhone XE will be as follows:

  • the new smartphone will feature an iPhone X or XS style edge-to-edge 4.8-inch AMOLED (active matrix organic light emitting diode) display
  • sadly, there will still be a notch (what’s a notch?)
  • the iPhone XE will feature Face ID but no Touch ID since there will be no home button
  • the shape of the device will be the “iconic rectangular slab” design with an aluminum back
  • no wireless charging
  • the rear camera will feature a single 12 megapixel lens with a f/1.8 aperture similar to the one found on the iPhone XR
  • internals are still unknown but possibly will have Apple’s A12 bionic chip
  • no specs on the battery or storage capacity were available
  • pricing is expected to start at $600 and be as high as $800 depending on storage capacity

Agrawal reports that the iPhone XR supposedly will be discontinued by Apple this year because of poor performance in the market, suggesting that the new XE will take its place, making the 2019 lineup consist of the latter device along with an iPhone XI and XI Plus: information he backs up with a prediction made a few days before his blog post on PC Tablet, based on a research note published by Ming-Chi Kuo, a renowned analyst with KGI Securities — due to Chi’s sources and connections in the Asian supply chain which result in a track record of accurately predicting upcoming Apple products — who predicts three models to be released this year by the Cupertino, California-based tech company.

“Looking at the reports, Apple is in no mood of leaving their customers behind who still prefers to use the smaller form factor smartphones,” writes Agrawal.

It is interesting to note a previously published report back in August 2017 from Focus Taiwan a website of the Central News Agency (CNA) — in a story written by Charles Kang and Frances Huang — that the next generation iPhone SE was to be manufactured by Taiwan-based contract electronics maker Wistron Corporation (its headquarters not mentioned by Agrawal in his blog post) and that initially the device would be first sold only in India before expanding to other markets worldwide including the U.S. Furthermore, other sources have suggested that the iphone SE 2 was to be exclusive to India period.

Wistron’s manufacturing plant in India was only second to Foxconn in China for producing the original units of the iPhone SE.

In a related story from November 2017, eight months after the iPhone SE was released, research analyst Rayna Hollander of Business Insider wrote that Apple increasingly worked towards capturing India’s booming smartphone-using population, the country having surpassed (at the time) the U.S. to become the second largest smartphone market by shipments behind China and its growth was expected to continue as data and devices become more affordable in the region.

Hollander noted that Apple CEO Tim Cook stressed the company’s optimism about India who was quoted as saying that there was significant opportunity for Apple in the booming region, divulging how it was trying to seize it through its efforts to get more affordable iPhones — such as selling the iPhone SE for $349 in the region, “a much more palatable price point for consumers than the $880 price tag of the iPhone 7” — into the hands of consumers in India and how those efforts had been paying off. In addition, Cook mentioned that the majority of the iPhone SE models sold in the region were also manufactured there which was key to the company’s relationship with the Indian government.

In order to significantly grow its mindshare in India, according to the research analyst, Apple needs to capture part of the lower end of India’s smartphone market, referencing data that showed Apple already dominates the premium device segment in the country.

“Apple is likely eyeing India as the next major growth hub for the iPhone as demand cools in mature markets like the U.S. and China but its growth in the region will be hard,” wrote Hollander.

Announced in March 2016, Apple dubbed the iPhone SE “the most powerful 4-inch phone ever.” The compact device packed the internal components of the then year old iPhone 6S from 2015and in a feat of innovation, scaled it down to fit into the smaller form factor of the then three year old design of the iPhone 5S from 2013 (which was itself the same enclosure, sans Touch ID, as the iPhone 5 from the year prior in 2012). The iPhone SE initially did not do well during its release) but was a surprise hit for Apple during sales of the device in the latter half of 2016.

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