It's a sad day for small phone diehards. The iPhone SE—Apple's 2016 effort to put an updated handset in a old-school form factor—appears to be dead.
Back in 2012, when it was first competing against mammoth phones like the Galaxy Note II, Apple had a very particular idea of the perfect phone size. It was not a monster 6.5-inch screen like the one on the new iPhone XS Max. No, it was a modest 4-incher. That year's iPhone 5, small even by the standards of six years ago, put the whole screen cleanly in the reach of a thumb. It was a choice that was either "an amazing coincidence" or "a dazzling display of common sense," as an Apple ad at the time puts it:
It's an astounding little piece of truth in advertising, but Apple soon strayed from its own reasoning. Apple's iPhone 6 and 6 Plus went big like its Android competition had.
But with the iPhone SE announced in 2016, Apple put an iPhone 6S brain in an iPhone 5's body. With that, Cupertino threw a bone to small phone fans and simultaneously maintained, if quietly, that there was ergonomic merit in a small phone.
No longer. Following the announcement of the iPhone XS (5.8-inch display) the iPhone XS (6.5-inch display) and the iPhone XR (6.1-inch display), the now redirects to a generic iPhone landing page. It was also excluded from displaying Apple's current iPhone lineup in full. (We've reached out to Apple for confirmation and will update if we hear back.) For now, you can still , but buyer beware when it comes to third-party sellers.
It's a dark day for fans of the smaller iPhone, but a dark eternity in the wider world of small phones. Even in the more wide-ranging universe of Android phones, the small-phone ground has been ceded almost entirely to Sony, cuts the mustard on size but can't hold a candle to more cutting-edge phone offerings that are now exclusively available in larger sizes.
It's a particular shame because, as Apple has noted with the XS and XS Max, its edge-to-edge screens allow for larger screens without larger phones. The XS Max, with its enormous 6.5-inch display, is still smaller than the entirety of the iPhone 8 Plus.
If you apply the same math to the iPhone SE, you'll find it could have fit a roughly iPhone 6-sized display in a roughly iPhone 5-sized body. Too bad Apple won't do it, because it sounds like common sense.