iPhone 5se rumours: ‘Hey Siri’ feature thanks to A9/M9 chips

Oscar Raymundo
27 January, 2016
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The common notion has been that every year we’d get a new iPhone refresh, but 2016 may be the exception. Turns out that this year we could get two new iPhones. The first one up is the rumoured iPhone 5se, an ‘enhanced’ replacement of the 4in iPhone 5s, that’s reportedly set to come out this autumn.

To help make sense of the chaotic hearsay, we’re collecting every rumour that has surfaced about the iPhone 5se, from its reported specs to its guesstimated release date, and everything in between – as well as tried to discern the plausibly of each rumour.

Here’s what (we think) we know so far.

What’s the latest?

The rumour: When it comes to processing power, we may have originally underestimated this little iPhone. After previously reporting that the iPhone 5se will boast A8 and M8 chips, like the iPhone 6, 9to5Mac is now saying that it will have the faster A9 and M9 chips, like the iPhone 6s. Or at least a ‘variant’ of those newer chips.

Plausible? The reason Apple is choosing to upgrade the iPhone 5se with A9 chips is because the iPhone 7 will most likely have an A10 processor. And it makes sense that they wouldn’t want their iPhone 5se to be behind by two generations in just a few months when the 7 comes out. Ah yes, the iPhone 7 rumours are starting already, too, but that’s another story…

Will it include always-on Siri?

The rumour: One of the perks of adding faster processors to the iPhone 5se is the ability to incorporate the always-on ‘Hey Siri’ functionality. ‘Hey Siri’ lets you access Siri by simply calling out her name and without having to press down on the Home button or having to plug in the device.

Plausible? Apple wants to keep making Siri smarter and more proactive, so we can expect for ‘Hey Siri’ to become a standard feature on all its devices. If the iPhone 5se has the M9 chip needed for an always-on Siri, then it’s totally worth it to incorporate it.

iphone 6 iphone 5se

How much storage will it have?

The rumour: The lowest-costing iPhone 5se model will start out with an abysmal capacity of 16GB. But for the next step up, Apple is reportedly doubling the capacity from 32GB to 64GB, like how it did with the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus.

Plausible? We’ve been waiting for Apple to get rid of 16GB as a starting iPhone capacity, but given that the iPhone 5se is intended as an affordable alternative, it figures that it the starting model only has 16GB.

When will it come out?

The rumour: According to 9to5Mac, Apple is planning to introduce the new iPhone 5se during a media event the week of 14 March. During said event Apple is also rumoured to be introducing new Apple Watch bands and the iPad Air 3. Shipping for iPhone 5se could start as soon as late March or early April.

Plausible? The original rumour was that Apple would introduce a new 4in iPhone in February. Now the rumour is mid-March, so the official date is still up in the air, especially if Apple faces any setbacks in the production schedule. However, the late March/early April time-frame seems to be a sweet spot for Apple product launches.

How much will it cost?

The rumour: 9to5Mac’s sources say that the cost of the current iPhone 5s will be ‘assumed’ by the new model, which means the iPhone 5se will cost the same. Currently in Australia the iPhone 5s costs $749 for an unlocked 16GB model, and $829 for 32GB – although, again, that higher price could be bumped up a little if the iPhone 5se comes in 16GB and 64GB sizes. To compare, an unlocked iPhone 6s costs $1079 for 16GB, $1229 for 64GB, and $1379 for 128GB.

Plausible? If Apple is looking to make the iPhone 5se a ‘budget-friendly’ option for people who think the iPhone is way too expensive, then it makes sense that it would be priced exactly the same as a three-year-old model.

iphone 5se iphone 5s

What will it look like?

The rumour: The iPhone 5se is rumoured to have a 4in screen (measured diagonally, of course) and look pretty identical to its predecessor, the iPhone 5s. However, the 5se will have curved glass edges, according to 9to5Mac. It will come in silver, gold, space grey and rose gold.

Plausible? The only reason Apple would revive an old iPhone line would be to go back to the 4in model. The curved edges and rose gold options are also very likely, since Apple has been on a mission to unify its products.

Why is it called the iPhone 5se?

The rumour: Apple employees have been told that the ‘se’ stands for either ‘special edition’ or ‘enhanced’ version of the iPhone 5s.

Plausible? Apple has never been consistent about what the ‘s’ stands for in its iPhone models – the 3GS stood for ‘speed’ and the 4s for ‘Siri’, for example – so this rumour will probably never be confirmed or denied. Let’s just say the ‘se’ will be forever open to interpretation.

What are some of the other features?

The rumour: According to 9to5Mac, the iPhone 5se will sport an eight-megapixel camera, an NFC chip for Apple Pay and will be able to take Live Photos. It will reportedly lack 3D Touch capabilities, however.

Plausible? Apple wants to expand Apple Pay, so why wouldn’t it be incorporated in a new iPhone model? And iPhones are now the most popular camera in the world, so you bet upgraded photo-taking features would seal the deal for some people.

Will I still be able to get the iPhone 5s?

The rumour: No. The iPhone 5se is set to replace the iPhone 5s. Rumour has it that it will also replace the iPhone 6 once the iPhone 7 comes out. At the end of this year, your iPhone choices will be the iPhone 5se, the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus, and the new iPhone 7 models.

Plausible? It’s been three years since the iPhone 5s came out, so this upgrade is the perfect time to kick that model to the kerb. About that iPhone 6 and 6 Plus getting replaced though, we’re not sure if people are ready to let them go (especially if they are discounted more than the ‘s’ models).

One Comment

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  1. Peter MacProf Geelong says:

    I don’t understand why Apple doesn’t have a basic iPhone in each series that you just add your own storage to, whether 8Gb or 128 Gb. Surely it would make inventory and stock management so much easier? The cost difference between the different RAM options is enormous. It would also make a purchase a lot easier if you could buy the basic model and upgrade the storage as needed. Seems a no-brainer to me; what am I missing? Be kind to me as I am old; DON’T say a brain.

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