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Is this our first real look at Apple's next 4-inch iPhone?

Rumor has had it for quite some time that Apple is planning on releasing soon another entry-level handset in the form of a new 4-inch iPhone. And going by recent “revelations,” we may already have our first look at the upcoming device by way of a purported leaked photo.

The photo in question, first shared by One More Thing by Gijs Raggers (via 9to5Mac), claims to show the rumored 4-inch iPhone next to an iPhone 5, which has a 4-inch display. The side-by-side placement of the two serves to depict scale — something which a previously circulated video of the supposed next-generation device, now believed to be fake, failed to do. And while the authenticity of the photo can’t be confirmed, Gijs Raggers has a pretty good track record as a leaker of photos of prerelease versions of actual Apple products, including photos of the original iPad Air and the iPad Air 2.

More iPhone 6 than iPhone 5?

The newly leaked photo suggests that while the upcoming 4-inch iPhone has the same size as the iPhone 5 (and the iPhone 5s), its form otherwise resembles that of the iPhone 6 (and the iPhone 6s), what with its curved-glass edges, FaceTime camera in line with (rather than on top of) the earpiece, rounded volume buttons, and power button relocated from the top to the right side. The device also appears to have Touch ID, which first appeared on the iPhone 5s.

iPhone 5se leak

A recent report by 9to5Mac’s Mark Gurman claims that the device will also have the following:

  • The same 8 megapixel rear camera and 1.2 megapixel front camera systems from the iPhone 6
  • Support for larger panoramas and autofocus for video recording
  • Barometer for tracking elevation in the Health app
  • An NFC chip for Apple Pay
  • The A8 and M8 chips from the iPhone 6
  • Bluetooth 4.2, VoLTE, and 802.11ac WiFi chips from the iPhone 6s
  • Live Photos from the iPhone 6s
  • Same Silver, Space Gray, Silver, & Rose Gold color options as the 6s line

But despite its stronger resemblance to the iPhone 6/6s line than the iPhone 5/5s, the upcoming device is said to be called the “iPhone 5se” (meaning either “iPhone 5 special edition” or “iPhone 5s enhanced”).

’Little new to offer’

In any case, the noted KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo is not so enthusiastic about the prospects of the new 4-inch iPhone, which he says has “little new to offer.”

“While the new 4-inch iPhone has been enjoying the media spotlight,” Kuo says in a newly issued investor report (via 9to5Mac), “we don’t regard the product as innovative, either in terms of form factor (similar to iPhone 5s, though distinguished by an upgraded panel cover glass from 2D to 2.5D) or hardware specs (with 6s as a benchmark, though a 12MP camera is higher spec than our expectation of 8MP).”

Kuo predicts that the new iPhone won’t significantly increase iPhone sales in the first half of the year, nor will the rumored “iPad Air 3” do much for iPad sales in the same period.

Apple is expected to unveil both next-generation devices sometime in March and release them late that month or in April.

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