Will Apple’s Newer, Budget Friendly iPhone SE Successor Be Called An ‘iPhone SE 2’ Or An ‘iPhone 9?’

COMMENTARY: 03.20.20- Spring has finally sprung and the newer budget friendly model of the iPhone also should be springing out any day now if previously published rumors are to be believed, however, conflicting reports have yet to agree on what Apple will be calling this new smartphone: whether it will be an “iPhone SE 2” or an “iPhone 9” remains to be seen.

A newer low cost iPhone model was widely expected to be unveiled from Apple during a rumored Spring media event which was predicted to be taking place on March 31 but with it since having been canceled according to sources within the company — due to a ban on mass gatherings as ordered by the county of Santa Clara (where the tech giant’s headquarters, Apple Park, in Cupertino, California are located) in order to stem the spread of the coronavirus (a policy which went into effect weeks before the mandatory shelter in place statewide that was enacted by its governor) — it’s anyone’s guess as to whether the smartphone simply will be announced through a simple press release on its website (as was done with the announcements this past Wednesday of an updated iPad Pro and MacBook Air) or through an online presentation that will be livestreamed (like what is planned this year for WWDC 2020, its annual worldwide developers conference held in June).

Four years after its debut in 2016, the iPhone SE, seen here in its four available colors of gold, silver, rose gold, and space gray, — finally will be receiving a successor in the form of a newer budget friendly model, albeit, slightly larger according to rumors, which is widely expected to be due out this Spring, and, like the original before it, will start at $399. (Photo: Apple, Inc.)

Technical specifications which previously have been rumored for the new iPhone are as follows:

  • 4.7-inch LCD screen
  • A13 processor
  • 3GB of RAM
  • Home button with Touch ID
  • 64GB and 128GB storage capacities
  • available in three colors: space gray, silver, and “(PRODUCT) RED™”

Other rumored features are that the new device is expected to have a single lens camera on the backside of the smartphone and also use a liquid crystal polymer (LCP) antenna design in order to facilitate transmission efficiency. In addition, its price point will start at $399 for the entry level model (as was done before with its original iteration).

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While we know a lot about this newer budget friendly model of the iPhone? The device has yet to be given an official name by Apple, not to mention, be announced and released!

From its onset, when rumors of the fabled newer low cost Apple smartphone first broke three years ago — following the debut in 2016 of the iPhone SE — it was given the moniker “iPhone SE 2” (which I, too, have labeled the device as in my extensive coverage of it here in this column). Initially, the device was to have the same 4-inch form factor as the original but it was anyone’s guess if, and when, it would come out. When the expected update never surfaced and it officially was discontinued in 2018 with the announcement of the also budget friendly (albeit more expensive at $749) iPhone XR, alongside the even higher priced iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max, it appeared that Apple had decided to nip it in the bud (so to speak).

A smaller, more compact device among the larger, somewhat bulkier offerings from Apple in recent years — which began with the iPhone 6 in 2014, and, especially with the Plus version, the latter classified as a phablet (a combination of the words phone and tablet) — the release of the iPhone SE was a backwards trend for the iPhone lineup. Owners of the previous generation iPhone 5 from 2012 and iPhone 5S from 2013 who had been holding on to their old devices, personally preferring the 4-inch form factor of yesteryear, quickly scooped up the smartphone as soon as it came out. In addition, those on a budget took the opportunity to either upgrade an even older model or buy their very first iPhone since one of its selling points was exactly that: a low cost handset that was substantially cheaper than its bigger counterparts at a starting price of only $399.

Lately, however, given the rumors that the device will sport a larger 4.7-inch form factor — unfortunately, not what fans and owners, like myself, of the iPhone SE are looking for — it more recently has been given the name “iPhone 9” instead because of its almost similar size to the iPhone 8 from 2017 (albeit, just shy 0.1 inches).

I’m partial to the name “iPhone SE 2” but my bets are it being called an “iPhone 9” for a number of factors.

On one hand, an “iPhone 9” makes perfect sense because the rumored 4.7-inch screen of this purported Apple smartphone is close to that of the iPhone 8 an will not be the same form factor as the iPhone SE making it, in essence, a new device altogether due to its much larger size.

On the other hand, because it will have the faster processor and memory of the iPhone 11 from 2019 inside the body of an iPhone 8? With those two specifications alone, logically, this early 2020 iPhone should be called the “iPhone SE 2” since it copies the 2016 original by taking the internals of the model from the previous year and packing it into a case designed two years prior: similar to the way the iPhone SE had the innards of the iPhone 6S from 2015 and wrapped it up into the shell of the iPhone 5S.

Plus, another major reason that an “iPhone 9” makes more sense versus an “iPhone SE 2” in the scheme of things is the fact that Apple made the jump from the iPhone 7 in 2016 (released months after the iPhone SE) to both the iPhone 8 and iPhone X (10) the following year in 2017, completely skipping over the number nine in its branding in favor of the next models in 2018 being the iPhone XR, iPhone XS, and iPhone XS Max (and, of course, last year’s updates in 2019, iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro, and iPhone 11 Pro Max).

Never mind the other fact that there was never an “iPhone 7S” or an “iPhone 8S” either, following the pattern of iPhone models released since the iPhone 3G in 2008 and the iPhone 3GS in 2009. With that in mind, maybe a better name for an iPhone SE successor would be the “iPhone SES” (or “iPhone SE S” just as conflicting labels for the iPhone XR, iPhone XS, and iPhone XS Max on Apple’s website had its model numbers labeled as “X R” / “X S” / “X S Max”)?

If we were to read the tea leaves (so to speak) and try to determine what this newer budget friendly Apple smartphone model will be called based on phone case makers who are already selling cases labeled for the “iPhone SE 2” that should end any debate altogether!

Accessories like phone cases being sold in advance of an impending product release sometimes can be a telltale sign of what is to come from Apple because a plethora of third party manufacturers get insider information (e.g., product dimensions or external features) leaked out from various sources deep within the tech giant’s supply chain who may be involved with manufacturing a new device, such as an iPhone, for the Cupertino, California-based company. Although, that being said, there are times when accessory makers get it totally incorrect, like if the info they received was bad, or worse, fake.

Such as in the, case (pun intended), of one accessory manufacturer last year who incorrectly predicted that the as yet to be released (at the time) iPhone 11 Pro was to have an Apple Pencil alongside it and, therefore, mistakenly sold a product in advance with a slot for such built in to the phone case.

On the flip side, one more thing that makes an argument in favor of this iPhone SE successor forgoing the part two, if you will, in its name and being called the “iPhone 9” is a report last month of a wireless carrier (not any of the current big four in the U.S.: AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, or T-Mobile) advertising the new device in its store windows with that moniker and already taking pre-orders for such even before it has been announced by Apple (or released for that matter)! What is interesting to note here as an aside is that the newer low cost smartphone model is being sold bundled with a pair of AirPods! (Could this be a new accessory the tech giant will be including with its phone?).

With the most recently published rumor all but confirming its existence, whatever this newer budget friendly Apple smartphone model is called in the end — be it the “iPhone SE 2″ or the”iPhone 9” — one thing is for sure and that is that this device has taken four years to be released and fans of the classic / retro 4-inch form factor have waited long enough and are anxious to see, at last, just what device is going to be the successor to the Cupertino, California-based company’s surprise hit: the iPhone SE.

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