Apple to unveil iPhone SE today: All the rumors you need to know

Apple is preparing to take the wraps off its next budget smartphone. We have rounded up the latest rumors to see what's expected.

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CNET/CBS Interactive

Apple 's March 21 media event will introduce its latest set of products.

While the company hasn't confirmed it will announce a new smartphone, several leaks have pointed to Tim Cook and Co. taking the stage with a new iPhone as one of the areas of discussion.

Naming and design

The 4-inch iPhone Apple plans to announce on March 21 has been rumored to go by several names. It started as the iPhone 6c, morphed to the iPhone 5se, and now according to the latest rumors is called the iPhone SE (special edition).

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Mockup of the iPhone SE.

MacRumors/Tomas Moyano

The iPhone SE will have the design of the iPhone 5s, according to 9to5mac, whose source said it will be "identical" with a boxy design.

Hardware

The most important part of the iPhone SE isn't the outside design -- it's what is inside. Essentially, Apple wants to improve the usability and experience for low-end smartphone customers.

review

Apple iPhone 6s: More than just a speed-bump

The iPhone 6s provides major improvements over the iPhone 6 in terms of performance, camera quality and the new 3D Touch technology.

According to 9to5mac, an often reliable source on pre-Apple event rumors, the iPhone SE will have an A9 processor, Touch ID, Apple Pay support, an 8-megapixel rear-camera (some have argued for a 12-megapixel camera), and Live Photos support.

You'll also get always on "Hey Siri" support, along with the M9 fitness tracker first introduced in the iPhone 6. Storage wise, the iPhone SE is believed to have 16GB and 64GB capacities.

Color and availability

9to5mac reports the iPhone SE will be available in space gray, silver, gold, and rose gold (from the iPhone 6s). It's not clear how soon the device will be available after the event.

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Renderings of the iPhone SE compared from 9to5mac, OnLeaks, and Curved.


KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo in a February research note said the smartphone will cost between $400 and $500 full retail in the United States -- compared to the iPhone 6s which starts at $649 without a contract.

The analyst says the iPhone 5s will still remain in Apple's line up and will receive a 50 percent price cut. As such, 4-inch iPhone shipments are expected to grow 131% year-over-year to 37 million units in 2016, thanks to Apple's 4-inch lineup, KGI Securities noted.

Digitimes reported in February that Apple has enlisted two manufacturing partners for the budget iPhone -- Foxconn Electronics and Wistron -- as it hopes to avoid supply issues.

Event

Apple is expected to also announce a new iPad Pro and band additions to the Apple Watch lineup during its March event.

The company has confirmed it will stream the event. ZDNet will also be providing breaking coverage and analysis when the event begins at 10AM PST on March 21.

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