iPhone 5SE may already be in production but you could be disappointed

iPhone 6
Apple's next phone could be a lot more affordable

Rumours of a new 4-inch phone from Apple just won't die. In fact, while we didn't get the iPhone 6C we were hoping for last year it looks more likely than ever that we might finally get it this year.

Recent rumours of a mini iPhone 5SE point to a mid-March launch and now a new report from Nikkei claims that according to officials the handset is coming this spring and is already in production. That would make sense if it's only a month and a half away.

But the report goes on to say that the phone is aimed mainly at emerging markets, where Apple doesn't have much of a foothold.

That would make a certain amount of sense too, as Apple is already the dominant player in the West, but its premium handsets can't compete with the entry-level Android and Windows Phone devices in developing markets.

Second time lucky

Apple's last attempt at an affordable phone, the iPhone 5C, frankly wasn't cheap enough, so hopefully the company has learned from that. If the iPhone 5SE is priced right then it could be hugely disruptive and massively grow Apple's business, which couldn't come at a better time, since its iPhone sales growth is slowing.

But that's a big if, as we can't really see an Apple device being anywhere near as affordable as the likes of the £40 (US$62, AU$80) Microsoft Lumia 435.

If the iPhone 5SE really is aimed at emerging markets does that mean it won't launch in Europe and the US? Probably not.

While demand for 4-inch phones has surely declined there's still a market for them or the prospect of the iPhone 6C wouldn't have generated as much buzz as it did. So we're pretty confident that if and when it arrives you'll be able to buy it.

This latest leak isn't to be sniffed at as Nikkei has a track record, especially when it comes to iPhone screen sizes. Among other things it correctly reported that the iPhone 6 would arrive in 4.7-inch and 5.5-inch sizes.

James Rogerson

James is a freelance phones, tablets and wearables writer and sub-editor at TechRadar. He has a love for everything ‘smart’, from watches to lights, and can often be found arguing with AI assistants or drowning in the latest apps. James also contributes to 3G.co.uk, 4G.co.uk and 5G.co.uk and has written for T3, Digital Camera World, Clarity Media and others, with work on the web, in print and on TV.