It looks as if 2016 will be an extremely important year for Apple, as it looks increasingly likely that the consumer electronics giant will release two brand new iPhone models alongside the expected iPhone 7. The iPhone SE is the long awaited four-inch version of the iPhone range, while the iPhone Pro is a particularly high-spec alternative to the iPhone 7 Plus. Alongside these three variants will also come with the smartphone-sized iPhone 7, so what can we expect from the two new product releases and the iPhone 7 range?
iPhone 7, iPhone Pro, iPhone SE – Design
The first thing to note is that Apple is likely to redesign the iPhone 7 somewhat in 2016, as each new number attached to an iPhone unit indicates that it is treated as a new generation. However, Apple is not expected to diverge too greatly from the existing template set by previous iPhone releases, although it has been suggested that it will go to great lengths to remove the camera bulge which has been an irritating feature in recent iPhone handsets.
While the iPhone Pro is not likely to differ hugely in design terms from the iPhone 7, it is reasonable to expect the iPhone SE to be significantly different. Analysts have generally dismissed the idea that Apple will produce a colorful and plasticky design that would be similar to previous affordable releases from the California-based corporation, but it could be that the iPhone SE will be fairly similar in appearance to the existing iPhone 6s.
Each of these three iPhone releases will be significantly different in size, as each is intended to accommodate a different display. It is possible that Apple will release four handsets with entirely different measurements during 2016, with the four-inch display of the iPhone SE significantly smaller than any of the other iPhone releases. Certainly the iPhone SE will be intended to be a convenient and flexible handset, while the larger variants, such as the iPhone Pro, will be intended to deliver a premium experience.
Each of the three main Apple product lines will feature different sized screens this year, with the iPhone SE anticipated to feature a four-inch display when it releases. This is in line with the preferences of the late founder and CEO of Apple, Steve Jobs, who opined that the 3.5-inch screen smartphone is ideal.
It is unlikely that either the iPhone 7 or the iPhone 7 Plus will diverge significantly from the display size of previous iterations of the series, which means that 4.7-inch and 5.5-inch handsets are expected. Some reports have indicated that the iPhone Pro will be the same size as the iPhone 7 Plus, but it is also possible that Apple will make this device slightly larger in order to differentiate itself from its existing premium phablet, with 5.8-inches a possibility.
It is doubtful that Apple will push the iPhone Pro to a screen size as large as six-inches, rivalling the Galaxy Note range’s expected screen size for 2016, but it could be marginally larger than the 5.5-inches anticipated for the iPhone 7 Plus.
The target audience for the iPhone SE will unquestionably be western consumers seeking a more affordable iPhone variant, along with increased market penetration in the East Asian region in particular. The iPhone 7 will address the core audience of Apple, while the iPhone Pro is expected to be particularly targeted at the business community.
According to early reports on the iPhone Pro, the most notable physical difference between this device and the iPhone 7 will be the dual-camera that will be included in its portfolio of features. It is not known at the time of writing whether there will be other spec divergence between the iPhone Pro and iPhone 7, but the legendary analyst Ming-Chi Kuo of KGI has already indicated his belief that the iPhone Pro will indeed feature this dual-camera technology. This has been linked with the iPhone range for some time, and it would not be at all surprising if it finally comes to fruition during 2016.
Apple has also been linked with including DSLR technology in the iPhone 7, while it is reasonable to assume that the iPhone SE will have a somewhat less powerful cameras than the premium iPhone range. But an eight-megapixel snapper has been mooted for this more affordable iPhone variant.
3D Touch was perhaps the standout element of the iPhone range last year, and it is obviously expected that this innovative feature will migrate to the iPhone 7 generation. However, it is widely anticipated by analysts that the smaller iPhone SE will not feature this functionality, with 3D Touch being reserved for the premium versions of the smartphone.
Color options may differ between the four smartphones that Apple releases this year, with some early reports indicating that Apple will ensure that the iPhone SE actually has more color options than its premium rivals. There could be an intention here to provide consumer choice, in line with the ethos of the Apple Watch, with Apple possibly targeting a similar market demographic with this diminutive handset.
There will be a significant demarcation between the pricing of the devices released by Apple in the iPhone range this year, and it is reasonable to assume that the iPhone Pro will be more than double the price of the iPhone SE. A price point of around $400-$500 has been linked with the smaller iPhone handset, which will be a considerably smaller price than anyone pays for a premium iPhone.
Apple will probably freeze the price of the iPhone 7 at around $650-$700, but the iPhone Pro is likely to retail in the $900 ballpark.
The iPhone SE is likely to be released in April, with Apple unveiling the device in March. It is suggested that the new iPhone Pro will launch alongside the iPhone 7 range, and that there is no reason to believe that Apple will significantly alter the release schedule of its flagship smartphone in 2016. So the iPhone 7, iPhone 7 Plus and iPhone Pro should all hit the stores in late September, ahead of the critical Christmas marketplace.