Let’s not deny that the iPhone SE is an easy entry point for many into the Apple iPhone ecosystem. Despite the old-school design, the iPhone SE is an appealing package when you consider long-term performance and high-end features. I liked it so much, in fact, that I bought one for myself. Hence, when rumours of a 5G iPhone SE broke out, expectations from those currently using it/ planning to upgrade have skyrocketed. Also Read - Apple co-founder Steve Jobs' job application sold for over Rs 2.5 crore
Make no mistake, the current iPhone SE is a sweet smartphone in many ways. Its compact and lightweight form factor, as well as the familiarity with iPhones of yesteryears, makes it preferable over the comparatively modern yet dull-looking iPhone XR. That said, just like the modern Bollywood remake of 90s movie hits, this iPhone SE brings along those pestering issues of yesteryears that nobody likes in a 2021 smartphone. Also Read - Apple iOS 15, iPadOS 15 beta 4 released: What’s new, how to download
Hence, with a 5G iPhone SE destined to launch in 2022, we think these are some areas where Apple needs to bring upgrades over the current 4G model. Also Read - Apple shines in June quarter, posts record sales for iPhones, Macs and iPads
5G iPhone SE: What do the current rumours say?
At the moment, Nikkei Asia’s report says that Apple is simply going to give a chipset upgrade to the iPhone SE next year. The 4.7-inch LCD display will remain and so will the iPhone 8-style chassis. The upgraded bit comes in the form of an Apple A15 chip that will support 5G network connectivity via Qualcomm modems.
What part of this proposed upgrade is great?
It is the chip in question. Back in 2020, Apple got a lot of praise for offering the iPhone 11 Pro’s A13 Bionic chip in its most affordable model. With a smaller and lesser resolution display to push, the 2020 iPhone SE dominated benchmarks with its raw performance. For phone that mostly sold under Rs 40,000, this was a bargain. In the car world, that’s like a Ford Mustang!
Hence, Apple choosing to bring the A15 chip to the iPhone SE along with 5G connectivity spells more good news for the prospective next-gen iPhone SE buyer. With same small low-resolution display, the iPhone SE could be another pocket powerhouse like its predecessor.
What desperately needs attention?
A couple of things to be honest, especially from someone who uses an iPhone SE daily.
Battery life: After spending most of WFH days connected to the wall charger, I yearn for a full day battery life with the iPhone SE. A little more of that Insta browsing and an hour-long video call with a friend, and the iPhone SE is begging for juice. If Apple is doing a 5G iPhone SE, it needs to fit in a bigger capacity battery, even if that translates to a thicker phone. With 5G networks, the battery is likely to drain faster.
Bigger screen: The 4.7-inch display is fine for many but compared to an Android midrange phone, it feels too cramped. As long as you are dealing with basic social media browsing and generic phone stuff, the small display serves fine. But, watch videos or read an article and it feels claustrophobic. The LCD screen is good but next to the OLED iPhones and Androids, it feels lackluster. Hence, having a slightly bigger (closer to the edges) and a brighter OLED display on the iPhone SE wouldn’t hurt. Maybe bring along the iPhone 12 Mini’s display to the iPhone SE, Apple?
More cameras: The single 12-megapixel camera on the iPhone SE can take down similarly priced Android phones easily with its spot-on white balance and clarity, both in still photos and videos. However, it lacks the now-crucial Night Mode and an ultrawide camera. Maybe Apple can borrow the iPhone 12’s camera setup for the next-gen SE to pamper shutterbugs better?
MagSafe charging: USB-C isn’t happening on iPhones but MagSafe is the next best thing. After experiencing it on the iPhone 12, I wish Apple could bring MagSafe to the next-gen iPhone SE. MagSafe proved itself convenient on a daily basis and is fairly fast by wireless charging standards.
UWB chip: Oh yes! Users of iPhone SE also want to use Apple’s AirTag in its full capacity (yeah, so what if we get the cheapest iPhone?). Adding the UWB chip could make AirTag trackers more useful in pinpointing lost items instead of just suggesting rough whereabouts on the Find My app.
FaceID: Yes, we all agree that TouchID has been a saviour in the post COVID world and FaceID needs to catch up. However, FaceID is quicker while verifying payments and aids in those funny Memojis. With so many bezels present, integrating FaceID on the next iPhone SE shouldn’t be an issue for Apple, right (while keeping TouchID)?
Better speakers: When you have chunky display bezels, it makes it possible to do good quality stereo speakers. The current iPhone SE has a decent pair of speakers, but it is nowhere near as good as the one on the iPhone 11 and newer models. We hope that the next iPhone SE gets meaty stereo speakers to better utilize those bezels.