iPhone 7 Now or Updated SE Later? The 4-Inch iPhone Power User’s Dilemma

| Editorial

On March 31 of this year (2016), Apple solved the problem that existed since September of 2014: Power users who wanted an iPhone with the latest CPU but preferred the 4″ form factor could have their cake and eat it, too – again – with the introduction of the iPhone SE.

Yes, the iPhone SE was built to serve demographics other than power users, of course. Today it remains the only iPhone that’s offered in a 16GB size, and that’s undoubtedly because it allows Apple to keep the price at a minimum for markets where that matters.

Still, there’s a group of power users that enjoy the iPhone SE’s 4″ size, me included among them. Now, though, I’m faced with the same decision I had at the Apple Event back in September, 2014: if I want an iPhone with the latest-and-greatest CPU I have to choose bigger or biggest. I cannot stay with the size I desire.

iPhone 7, iPhone 7 Plus and iPhone SE

One of these things just isn’t the same.

Last time I was faced with this choice I chose ‘biggest.’ Both the 4.7″ and 5.5″ iPhones fit just fine in my pockets. Being 6’3″ has some advantages, at least when I’m not trying to cram myself into an airplane seat. But “fit just fine” and “fit comfortably” are two different things and, frankly, I find the 4″ iPhone the most comfortable. I also find its screen is perfectly adequate for the tasks I care to accomplish on such a device. I lived with the 5.5″ iPhone for 18 months: first an iPhone 6 Plus, then a 6s Plus. I know what the difference is and I don’t need it.

I’m now left with a choice when pre-orders start tomorrow: bigger, biggest, or wait it out. One could assume the iPhone SE will eventually see an update. That might be a false assumption, or it might take a year. By the time Apple released the iPhone SE back in March it’s safe to assume the iPhone 7 series was already deep into the design phase. That would have left Apple with little time to engineer and produce a 4″ version of the new 7-series phones. As much as I hoped to see a 4″ iPhone 7 released at this week’s event, I did not expect it. There just hasn’t been enough time.

Maybe the 4″ iPhone 7 will see the light of day in the spring of 2017, or maybe it will be the fall of 2017 when the next (7s-series?) iPhone is released. It’s possible that the iPhone SE will never be updated, too, but I think that’s the least likely scenario. Apple clearly found a market – perhaps several markets – for a 4″ iPhone in today’s world. I think they’ll keep that going, but perhaps not with the same update frequency as the two larger sizes.

Time will tell. For now, tell us your thoughts in the comments below.

11 Comments Add a comment

  1. Well Dave, use your SE as a Phone, but get and carry a 7+ as a camera. 😀

    Do you have an Apple Watch? I have found that with mine I don’t need to pull out my iPhone as often. Check and take messages, take and make telephone calls, check the weather and such, operate my HUE lights, not mention the health and fitness stuff. Maybe I will get an iPhone 7+ because I like the two cameras even if I don’t like the bigger form factor.

    Sidebar: Is anyone else occasional getting a “Can not connect to the server” error message when clicking on Submit Comment? If it is just me then I need to look into something going on with my internet service.

  2. I really hope they keep it around, it’s a great phone, and the variety in their lineup is really nice. I think it’s safe to say at this point that the Phablet Wars were a passing thing and there is room for more form factors. Case in point: my brother-in-law bought my mom, who has petite hands, an S7 (yes, I know, shudder. Wasn’t me!), the iPhone SE would have been perfect for her, and still will be in a future iteration.

    ‘Sidebar: Is anyone else occasional getting a “Can not connect to the server” error message when clicking on Submit Comment? If it is just me then I need to look into something going on with my internet service.’

    I get that error on occasion too, Lee.

  3. I love my 5S, but since I bought it my eyes have done the middle age thing and won’t correct anymore because of glycosylation of the lenses. Now I need readers and reading my small screen has become more of a chore.

    I now understand why the bigger phones are more popular with older folks.

    Although the plus size reminds me of a turkey platter, the 7 is probably the best for me and my eyes at this point. Aging sucks.

  4. I have two phones work and personal, both iPhones, a 4S and a 6 plus, the dilemma is small 7 to replace the 4S? or a 7 plus to replace the 6plus, relegating the 6plus to the work phone. The 6 plus camera takes great photos, the 4S is oh so slow… suffering from the same problem as paikinho though – middle age so despite the wonderful convenience of small size, its probably going to be a 7 plus. The process of exploring the pros and cons has resolved the problem. Big wins every time…

  5. I’m 100% with you, Dave. I’m still sporting a 5s, & hoping that Apple will continue producing a 4″ model, albeit upgraded with force touch.

    As far as I’m concerned it’s the only size that truly works as a one-handed phone; I’ve tried the others and one-handed use requires cradling the device awkwardly, in a way that makes it much easier to slip out of your hand.

    Besides, I love me some diamond chamfered edges!

  6. Who knows.. if their stock is still stuck in this rut, they may release an updated SE model for the holidays.. it would be unexpected and possibly push people like myself (and my wife) who are on a 5s to pull the trigger.

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