In early 2016, Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) introduced a small-screen smartphone known as the iPhone SE. The device was a curious gadget, packing many of the key technologies found in the then-flagship iPhone 6s series smartphones in a compact and relatively low-cost package.
Nearly two years after the launch of the iPhone SE, Apple still hasn't meaningfully updated the device beyond offering more generous storage configurations. The main way that the company has tried to boost sales for the iPhone SE has been through price reductions -- at $349, the entry-level iPhone SE is the cheapest iPhone that Apple has ever sold.
There have been plenty of rumors swirling about Apple potentially releasing an updated version of the iPhone SE in 2018. Indian publication Tekz24 has some details about that updated iPhone SE that should be of interest to Apple customers and investors alike.
Usual spec upgrades
Tekz24claims that the next iPhone SE will include Apple's A10 Fusion processor, which Apple says offers 40% higher CPU performance and 50% better graphics performance than the A9 chip that powers the current iPhone SE does.
The report also says that the display on the new device will measure 4-4.2-inches along the diagonal; the current-generation iPhone SE has a display that measures four inches along the diagonal.
Additionally, Tekz24 says that the next iPhone SE will incorporate a 12-megapixel rear-facing camera and a 5-megapixel front-facing camera. For reference, the current iPhone SE has a 12-megapixel rear-facing camera and just a 1.2-megapixel front-facing camera .
It's worth noting, though, that it's likely that the quality of the rear-facing camera in the new iPhone SE will see a big boost thanks to the potential use of a new camera sensor (megapixels are just one component of image quality), as well as the imaging-related improvements inside of the A10 Fusion.
Additionally, Tekz24 claims that the new iPhone SE will feature a battery with a capacity of 1700 milliampere hours -- up slightly from the 1624 milliampere hour cell used in the current iPhone SE.
Some more noteworthy upgrades
In addition to the typical specification enhancements outlined above, Tekz24claims one more significant change: the use of a glass back.
The current iPhone SE uses the same basic design as the older iPhone 5/5s devices: a metal shell with pieces of metal cut out of the top and bottom and replaced with glass to allow for radio frequency signals to pass through.
The upcoming iPhone SE, Tekz24 claims, will have a glass back. While Apple may be doing this change purely to shake things up cosmetically, it seems more likely that Apple is transitioning to a glass back in the new iPhone SE to facilitate wireless charging (something that's extremely difficult to do through metal).
The move to a glass back is likely to increase the cost structure of the new iPhone SE and the addition of the components required for wireless charging will only further add cost.
Nevertheless, if the cost increases ultimately yield devices that customers are willing to pay more for and/or are more likely to buy (an updated iPhone SE is probably targeted at getting current iPhone 5/5s/5c users to finally upgrade), then it's probably a net good thing overall for Apple and the iPhone business.
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Ashraf Eassa has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Apple. The Motley Fool has the following options: long January 2020 $150 calls on Apple and short January 2020 $155 calls on Apple. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.