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Saturday, 19 March 2016

Apple's next? Brains of an iPhone 6S in a 5S body

VENICE BEACH — Have smartphones gotten too big?
At a press event Monday, Apple is expected to introduce a new iPhone model, the SE, which will have most of the features of the newer 4.7-inch iPhone 6S and even bigger 5.5-inch iPhone 6S Plus, such as an enhanced camera, faster processor and Apple Pay feature.
But it will sport the smaller, 4-inch body of earlier phones such as the 5S or 5C, according to analysts including Piper Jaffray's Gene Munster. He sees the new SE appealing to about 20% of Apple's customer base: the folks who never bothered to upgrade to the bigger phones.
Apple declined to comment. Its invitation for the event Monday only promises attendees to "loop you in." It's also expected to unveil new Apple Watch bands and a smaller iPad Pro.
The 4-inch SE would be virtually alone among popular rival smartphones in its height. The majority of new phones from Samsung, LG, Google and others all have screens that are 5 inches or bigger.
Smaller phones in general are now scarce. In fact, the websites of the wireless carriers carry few in the 4-inch range: the older Samsung Galaxy J1 and Coolpad Rogue
The SE is expected to replace the iPhone 5S, first introduced in 2013. 
Apple joined the big-screen movement pioneered by Samsung the next year, with the iPhone 6 and  bigger 6 Plus, followed in 2015 with the 6S and 6S Plus.
Many consumers demanded bigger screens and the move paid off for Apple. The larger iPhone was Apple’s best-seller ever.
But not all Apple consumers made the switch. 
According to research firm Parks Associates, one-third of Apple iPhone owners still have a model that is more than two years old, compared to 30% of Samsung phone owners. 
And several consumers interviewed by USA TODAY said they were more than happy with a smaller phone. 

“They’re like a flat screen TV in your pocket,” says Chuck Asa, a tourist visiting from Hawaii. “Bigger phones are easier to break.”
Christina Cameron, a student from Boston, has the old iPhone 5, is up for an upgrade, and is eager for the SE. “I could get the newer one in a smaller phone,” she said.
Taking a look at the iPhone 6S Plus, she says, “It’s like a mini-iPad to my face.”
But Priscilla Peterson, also from Hawaii, says, “I like big phones--I hope they get bigger too.”
Has the iPhone gotten too big? "No," says Monica Roldeder Duffy, a Los Angeles publicist. "When I switched from the 5 to the 6, I couldn't believe I ever used the 5."
Tim Bajarin, an analyst with market research firm Creative Strategies, says Apple could make a huge impact with the SE by pricing it “aggressively,” like around $399.  
The 6S starts at $649 without a contract, while the iPhone 5S was being offered with no pre-payment and a two-year contract, for $450 unlocked. (It's currently no longer on sale on Apple's website.)
Meanwhile, with Apple paving the reverse direction in phone size and trying again with a smaller screen, “If Apple is successful, you can bet Samsung will be back,” says Bajarin.
The new SE is expected in stores next week.
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