It seems like the iPhone comes in a lot of sizes and shapes these days. But despite all of that, the 4-inch iPhone is still one of our favorites.
In contrast to the trend of larger displays and larger phones, the 4-inch iPhone models — the iPhone 5, iPhone 5s, iPhone 5c and iPhone SE — are still crown jewels of smartphone achievement. Since the ‘90s, Apple has always prided itself as thinking differently — and that philosophy is represented perfectly in the iPhone SE.
It’s getting harder and harder to find high-end, premium smartphones in a smaller form factor, as phone markers are all pushing to release bigger and ostensibly better phones. In the midst of all of that, Apple refreshed its 4-inch classic form factor with the release of the iPhone SE earlier this year. Why? Apple put it eloquently: “For some people, they simply love smaller phones.”
And, while some may have scoffed at the smaller phone, the iPhone SE was a testament to Apple’s commitment to bucking trends. Basically no other company is producing phones of such high quality in this size. Sure, the majority of consumers seem to gravitate to larger phones, but in 2016, Apple sold approximately 30 million 4-inch smartphones, according to The Verge. That might be a fairly low number by Cupertino’s standards, but it still shows that there’s a demand for this size of phone — even in the wake of larger iPhone models like the iPhone 7 Plus.
Releasing the iPhone SE was basically a move to entice 4-inch iPhone owners to upgrade to a device with cutting-edge tech inside — even if those consumers were devout fans of smaller iPhones. Forbes writer Mark Rogowsky forecast that the strategy could “devastate” Apple’s competition. With the iPhone SE ranked as the second best-selling iPhone in several quarters of 2016, he might have been right.
Bigger phones with bigger displays are great, but there’s something about the 4-inch iPhone that’s almost perfect. It’s small, lightweight, fits easily into a pocket or a purse, and feels like it’s designed to fit in a variety of hands. It does everything we need a smartphone to do in the perfect, nimble size. Many users have found the iPhone 7 — and especially the iPhone 7 Plus — to be almost unwieldy and cumbersome. I’m inclined to agree.
For the average consumer, bigger might be better. But for those of us who like smaller phones — or for those of us who are smaller-handed — we can’t help but feel like the 4-inch iPhone isn’t a priority at Apple anymore — and that, one day, we might not be able to get our preferred smartphone form factor without sacrificing abilities or features.
Rumor has it that Apple might not refresh the iPhone SE in 2017, and that doesn’t bode well for fans of the 4-inch iPhone. We might not be the majority, but hopefully Apple has its ear to the ground enough to not abandon its users who are wedded to this size of smartphone. Until then, fans of the 4-inch iPhone should hold onto the fact that the iPhone SE is still a state-of-the-art device, built for the future — and it should remain perfectly capable for years to come.