iPhone 5se: Sense, or nonsense?

Over the past few days a new iPhone rumor has surfaced - SHOCK! - that Apple is preparing to unveil a new 4-inch smartphone called the iPhone 5se. Do the dots join up, or is it just nonsense?
Written by Adrian Kingsley-Hughes, Senior Contributing Editor

Who want's to see the 4-inch iPhone make a return? Well, if the latest rumor making the rounds is true, Apple hopes that a lot of you do, because it may have one in the pipeline ready to land as early as March.

Over the past few months this rumor has been building up quite a head of steam, but the core of it has remained unchanged - basically, after giving the 4-inch iPhone the chop, Apple plans to reintroduce it again because there are some people who hate the jump to a 4.7-inch display.

All the rumors seemed to suggest that this device would be called the iPhone 6c.

Then, late last week, 9to5Mac said that no, the new 4-inch device was not going to be called the iPhone 6c, but instead will be called the iPhone 5se. Now according to "sources" this device is going to have the same look at the iPhone 6/6s, feature the 8/1.2MP cameras and A8/M8 processors [an update to the rumor now says A9/M9 from the iPhone 6s, making the 5se name seem even more ridiculous] from the iPhone 6, have the wireless chipset and color options of the iPhone 6s. It also allegedly comes with the Live Photos feature.

According to 9to5Mac, "the upcoming '5se' features a design similar to 2013's flagship but upgraded internals, software, and hardware features that blend the old design with modern technologies from the past two iPhone upgrades," but then goes on to say that the "chamfered, shiny edges" as found on the old iPhone 5s "have been replaced with curved glass like on the iPhone 6 and 6s lines."

Confused? I am.

Let's take a quick recap of where we are. Officially, we know nothing. There are some supply chain indicators that suggest Apple is preparing a 4-inch offering, but as far as real evidence goes, we're in Bigfoot territory.

The hardware specs sound plausible enough, but the name makes no sense. The iPhone 6c made sense, while this iPhone 5se stuff feels cumbersome, weird, and nonsensical. Why? Here's why:

Given the rumor we have, how exactly is this device related to the iPhone 5s? The only thing it seems to share is the display technology, but that was true of the iPhone 6.

Why is Apple naming a new device after a handset that was released almost two-and-a-half years ago? Way to make it sound appealing.

"iPhone 5se" sounds like Apple's kludgiest name to date. I know that Apple names have become weirder over the past few years (for example, the MacBook Air isn't Apple's lightest MacBook), but this "special edition" takes that to a new level.

Then there's the whole reason for a 4-inch iPhone in the first place. It seems to go something like "blah blah, cheaper iPhone, blah blah blah, some people want smaller displays, blah blah." Given that Apple could very well have sold 75 million iPhones over the last quarter, it's hard to see who these people holding back on buying iPhones are.

Maybe it's just a ploy to shore up sales in the face of a predicted 5.7 percent drop over the coming year. But still, it feels more like a "throw it at the wall and see if it sticks" approach that's more befitting of Samsung rather than Apple.

But if its purpose it to bolster sales, why lumber this device with such a weird name that links it back to an antique handset? Why not just call this the iPhone mini or something? Maybe the idea is that linking it back to the iPhone 5s will put the brakes on this device cannibalizing sales of the newer, higher-priced handset.

I don't know. Seems sketchy to me. I suppose we'll have to wait and see.

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