In two weeks, the next-generation iPhone is expected to be announced with the same overall design as the iPhone 6/6s series. The phone will not have a headphone, a small rear camera, nor will it have the same antenna design. However, the phone will have the familiar curved aluminum case that meets curved glass. The front of the phone will also look similar with thick top/bottom bezels, thin side bezels, and other features. New images of the alleged box for the new phone have surfaced. They claim to show Apple may be retaining the ‘6’ in the name for ‘iPhone 6 SE.’
Instead of the long-rumored and expected name of ‘iPhone 7’ for the next iPhone, the box shows ‘iPhone 6 SE.’ Before we immediately dismiss it as fraudulent, I wanted to propose a case as to why Apple would choose such a name. For starters, Apple released the iPhone SE in the spring, which is an updated version of the iPhone 5s. It has the same specs of the iPhone 6s, but in a 4-inch screen size. It allows customers who like the smaller screen size to upgrade without getting a much larger phone. It was rumored to be called the ‘iPhone 5 SE’ but Apple dropped the number from the name. Releasing a second ‘SE’-branded iPhone would not be crazy for Apple to do. The iPhone SE is an upgraded iPhone 5s with subtle design changes and internal upgrades. The new iPhone will be the iPhone 6s with design changes and internal upgrades as well. Using an ‘SE’ name would make sense for this year’s iPhone.
Additionally the naming scheme of ‘SE’ for this year’s iPhone compared to next year’s iPhone would make more sense. This year’s phone will look similar to its past predecessors (iPhone 6 and 6s) while next year’s will be a complete redesign. It would be much easier for Apple to announce this phone as ‘iPhone 6 SE’ and next year’s redesign as ‘iPhone 7.’ Instead, the rumors suggest this year will be ‘iPhone 7’ and next year is ‘iPhone 8.’ The rumors completely ignore an ‘7s’ line, Apple’s history of redesigning every major number generation, and the new three-year cycle they are supposedly following. Earlier this year it was reported that Apple will be slipping back to a three year cycle instead of their regular two year. This means every three years there will be a completely redesigned iPhone, instead every two years. Apple currently uses the following naming scheme: ‘iPhone #’ (ex: iPhone 6, major redesign) and ‘iPhone #s’ (ex: iPhone 6s, upgrade internal specs.) The company could, then, add ‘iPhone #SE’ to the end for the third year. It would have an upgraded design with upgrade specs. Apple would then change the number and cycle through it again.
Other blogs who have reported the leaked box wrote it off as fake or Photoshopped, but I took a closer look to dispute their claims. Looking at the side of the packaging where ‘iPhone 6 SE’ is written, the ‘SE’ may appear to be off-center. However, the ‘iPhone 6 SE’ writing is perfectly centered on the side of the box. There is the same amount of spacing between ‘iPhone’ as there is to the ‘6’ and the ‘6’ to the outline of ‘SE’ box. Also, the ‘SE’ box is larger in height than the ‘6’ but it is the same extra height on both the top and the bottom. On the back of the box there are spacing issues, but most of the Chinese writing matches up the iPhone SE box. Also, there is a new model number listed for the iPhone (A1758) that does not match with any of Apple’s other phones and it follows the same pattern. The ‘A’ is Apple’s identifier that is on all their products and the ’17’ corresponds to the year of announcement. While it does not specific the year, it does identify with other products that were announced the same year. For example, the iPhone SE came out this year with model number ‘A1723.’
While the box may be fraudulent or unlike Apple to do, the name of this year’s iPhone cannot be discredited immediately because of a leaked box. The ‘iPhone 6 SE’ name lines up with the name of previously release products, it would continue the new three-year cycle, and the packaging is accurate in a few places. If it was Photoshopped, the designer would likely not spend as much attention to detail as I did in writing this post. If it was Photoshop, I would expect more sloppiness and less accuracy.
Apple’s next iPhone is expected to be announced in only two weeks at a special media event. The phone will be announced alongside the second-generation Apple Watch and the release date for iOS 10.