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Remember the 'budget' iPhone SE? Apple plans an update – reports

Midget gem

Apple hasn't forgotten its miraculous budget iPhone, the iPhone SE, after all. The ornate miniature looks set for an update next year, according to reports.

Apple introduced the 4-inch iPhone SE in March 2016 last year but today's models still use the same components. Taiwanese channel site CENS suggests that the SE2 will be manufactured by Wistron in Bangalore. Earlier reports suggested this was unlikely. This the second report to peg early 2018 as the most likely launch date.

The original iPhone launched in 2007 with a then-hefty 3.5-inch diagonal display, and only grew to a 4-inch diagonal with the iPhone 5 in 2012, as the market raced to larger displays. Our Reg review of the iPhone 5 at the time - back in 2012, read: "At four inches, it's a world away from other manufacturers' flagship phones."

Steve Jobs's "thumb length logic" expressed the belief that a phone should be usable with one hand. But with Jobs gone, Apple did make the iPhone significantly larger in 2014, with a case size still used four generations later.

The Plus outsold the regular iPhone for the first time in Q3, because almost nobody in China wants anything under 5.5 inches.

However the upsizing left a demand for smaller devices. Apple revived the iPhone 5S and stuffed it with modern (for 2016) components used in the iPhone 6 and 6S: power efficient A9 chip, fingerprint sensor, 12MP camera and NFC for Apple Pay.

In fact, the SE is as much iPhone as any one needs – or needs to pay for. With a UK street price (for a refurbished, under warranty model) of a shade under £300, it's also the most affordable, offering an entry into the Apple ecosystem that makes the larger models look starkly gaudy.

There's a decent argument to be made that the SE is the strongest product in the entire lineup - in terms of delivering what it promises. The only caveat is that a long readjustment period may be needed to get accustomed to a tiny onscreen keyboard. ®

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