We have been reporting since earlier this year that Apple is preparing to launch a new 4-inch iPhone called the iPhone 5se. Our sources have said that the new device is essentially the 2013 iPhone 5s with significant internal hardware and software upgrades. Earlier rumors about a next-generation smaller iPhone model called the device an “iPhone 6c” and said that it would look similar to the iPhone 6 in appearance.
Today, a case maker source provided us with schematics that line up with what we have been hearing from our sources who have used the iPhone 5se: the device looks nearly like a 5s.
The case maker source tells us that the product’s dimensions are indistinguishable from the iPhone 5s, meaning that the new device will fit inside of existing iPhone 5s cases. There are a couple of changes, however, on our drawings. First, these schematics indicate that the sleep/wake/power button has been relocated to the side.
This change would make sense given that Apple made the shift on the 4.7-inch and 5.5-inch iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus beginning in 2014. In line with our sources have been saying since January, the case maker tells us that the edges of the device and the front glass panel are slightly curved around the edges, but not as curved as the sides of the iPhone 6 and 6s. Schematics shown on website iGeneration also show these curves, but do not show the relocated power switch. They also oddly show a small camera bump.
Besides those changes, the iPhone 5se is externally essentially an iPhone 5s: a design nearly identical to the 2012 iPhone 5 with metal plates on the back, glass caps on the top and bottom of the back, and a FaceTime camera centered above the front facing speaker.
Also, while these renders don’t show the Touch ID home button, the iPhone 5se will have Touch ID support. The rendering software that the case maker uses simply doesn’t show the Touch ID ring.
As for the insides, sources have said that the new device includes the A9 and M9 chips from the iPhone 6s, the ability to take Live Photos, an upgraded camera hardware system, and an NFC chip for Apple Pay. The only other noticeable external difference will be a new Rose Gold color option, joining the previously available Gold, Silver, and Space Gray options from the iPhone 5s. The new device will come in 16GB and 64GB storage options and sell for the same prices as the 5s.
Sources say that Apple will unveil the new iPhone 5se at an event on March 15th. Apple then plans to release the phone as soon as March 18th, and the company is not currently planning to offer the device via a standard pre-order campaign. At its March 15th event, Apple is also said to be readying a series of new Apple Watch model options (including a new Space Black Milanese Loop and NATO-style nylon straps), as well as an upgraded version of the 9.7-inch iPad with an A9X processor and a Smart Connector.