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For the longest time, the possibility of a refreshed, 4-inch iPhone seemed dead. But a recent report may indicate that the device isn’t quite dead yet –and that it may actually be called the iPhone XE. Here’s everything you should know about the iPhone XE, including the latest rumors, expected specifications, features, price and release date.
Just a few days ago, India-based blog PC-Tablet said that Apple is working on a refreshed version of its 4-inch smartphone dubbed the iPhone XE. The outlet cited a source within Foxconn’s manufacturing facility in India. It’s only the latest update to a long saga of iPhone XE refresh rumors.
Those rumors stretch back to late 2017, when analysts and supply chain reports indicated that a refreshed iPhone SE was on the way. While those rumors didn’t agree on features, it’s looking like the so-called iPhone SE may be an iPhone XE.
The sheer amount of evidence made an iPhone XE seem all but inevitable. But those rumors eventually fizzled out amid reports that the development of a smaller, budget-friendly iPhone had been scrapped.
Now, it seems that an iPhone XE is looking more likely. Even tangentially related reports of Apple upcoming devices seem to suggest that the Cupertino tech giant is again considering smaller-sized iPhones.
These reports, along with the fact that the market seems primed for a lower-cost , smaller iPhone, could suggest that one is indeed on the way.
The latest report concerning a 4-inch iPhone refresh comes from the aforementioned PC-Tablet. The site’s source says that the device, dubbed an iPhone XE, will sport a 4.8-inch display.
PC-Tablet also indicates that the device will feature a single-lens, 12MP front-facing camera. That’s an upgrade over past iPhone SE devices, but it’s still an incremental update.
The site’s source didn’t expand on what exact specifications the device will have, but previous reports may shed some light on how powerful the iPhone XE could be.
Reports from within the Indian and Chinese supply chains suggest that the iPhone XE would sport an Apple A10 Fusion and 2GB of RAM. Those reports are aging, however, and it seems more likely that the iPhone XE could pack more memory and a newer Apple chip (which we’ll get to later).
When it comes to storage, past reports claimed that it would come in 32GB or 128GB configurations. Those reports, again, are relatively old. So it’s just as likely that Apple will bump up the base storage configuration and add higher tier options.
|iPhone XE Estimated Specs|
|Camera Resolution||12 megapixels|
|Chipset||A12 or A13|
|Storage Capacity||64GB, 128GB, 256GB|
In addition to a 4.8-inch display size, sources suggest that the iPhone XE’s display will be OLED-based. More than that, the iPhone XE may get the “modern iPhone treatment,” with no Home button, an edge-to-edge display, and Face ID for authentication.
Of course, using Face ID would necessitate a newer Apple chip with a Secure Enclave. That could suggest that the iPhone XE will sport an A11, A12, or newer chipset.
The design itself may remain relatively unchanged. The device would liekly feature a “rectangular slab” design unlike the curvier form factors of newer iPhones.
As far as wireless charging, that feature’s inclusion is up in the air. PC-Tablet reports that the iPhone XE will have an aluminum back, meaning that it won’t be able to support Qi-based wireless charging.
Past reports also suggest that the iPhone XE could retain a metal chassis, despite its iPhone X-style design. On the other hand, there have been other rumors that the device would feature a glass back and wireless charging. It’s unclear one way or the other.
The latest report out of India alleges that the iPhone XE will cost around $600, which seems like a probable price point for a lower-end iPhone (compared to Apple’s current iPhone XS, XS Max and XR lineup).
That’s a retail price that seems to line up with past reports. Back in February 2018, a Chinese supply chain piece indicated that the iPhone XE would start at around 4,000 yuan — which is roughly $630.
Of course, with an OLED display, that price point seems a bit less likely. Just consider the iPhone XR, which has a Liquid Retina LCD display and retails for $749.
It’s possible that Apple could outfit the iPhone XE with a Liquid Retina to keep its price low. On the flip side, PC-Tablet’s source could be wrong on pricing — and the iPhone XE could retail for the same or more than the iPhone XR.
Even the earliest first rumors of an iPhone SE/iPhone XE refresh were tied to the Indian supply chain. Way back in 2017, a refreshed 4-inch iPhone was said to be a key part of Apple’s India strategy.
Because of that, it seems likely that the iPhone XE will be produced in India. Or, at least, Apple will manufacture a number of iPhone XE devices locally in the country to skirt import duties and tariffs on its devices.
Apple’s supply chain seems ready for it. Apple partner Wistron already makes certain iPhones models in India, while Apple supplier Foxconn is gearing up for a test run of iPhone X devices. It isn’t clear whether Wistron or Foxconn will produce the iPhone XE, however.
On the other hand, we don’t expect every iPhone XE to be made in India. iPhone XE devices destined for the U.S. market, for example, will probably be produced in China.
An iPhone XE launch seemed likely since the first rumors back in 2017. Those reports alleged that the device would debut in the spring of 2018. Eventually, the rumors shifted to suggest a fall 2018 launch.
We’re now in early 2019 and the iPhone XE isn’t here yet. More than that, Apple’s latest hardware product launch spree in late March came and went with no iPhone XE to be found.
PC-Tablet’s report, which revitalized rumors of an iPhone XE, suggest that the device is in development for a Q3 2019 launch. That could mean that the iPhone XE will debut at Apple’s annual fall keynote. Whether that turns out to be the case remains to be seen.