The third generation iPhone SE probably won’t hit the market in 2021, but it will be soon. Here is everything we know so far. […]
In 2020, after a four-year wait, Apple finally brought the iPhone SE up to date. Keeping the same name is a bit confusing – Apple differentiates the new model by calling it the second generation iPhone SE if necessary, but most people call it either the iPhone SE (2020) or the iPhone SE 2.
Whatever you call it, it’s not very likely that it will be updated in 2021. It’s also not very likely that Apple will wait another four years to revamp its cheapest iPhone. We currently assume that the new iPhone SE (which could also be called iPhone SE (2022), iPhone SE (3rd generation) or iPhone SE 3) will be released in the first half of 2022. Here is a summary of all the current rumors, leaks and other information that we have been able to gather about the next version of Apple’s cheapest iPhone.
2022 iPhone SE: The Latest Rumors
October 11th: The iPhone SE should get the same design as the current model, with an A15 processor and 5G.
16. September: While Apple made no announcement about the iPhone SE 2 at its streaming event in California, it is discontinuing sales of the 256GB model.
23. June: In a note to investors viewed by MacRumors, analyst Ming-Chi Kuo claims that Apple plans to position the third-generation iPhone SE as the cheapest 5G iPhone ever.
Design and display
Currently, the most reliable analysts expect that the next iPhone SE will look similar to the current model. Perhaps that’s a little disappointing – the iPhone SE is based on the case of the iPhone 8, which is no longer in production. However, analyst Ming-Chi Kuo believes Apple is planning another SE model that will come with a 4.7-inch LCD display, a home button with Touch ID and without Face ID. In other words: The next iPhone SE should be based on the case of the iPhone 8 again, but with selected new components. Nikkei Asia reported in July that the next SE will look like a refreshed version of the iPhone 8 and have a 4.7-inch Liquid Crystal Diode (LCD) display.
Allegedly, Apple is also working on an updated version of the iPhone 11, which has a 6.1-inch LCD and Face ID. Should that device come out in 2022, the iPhone 11 would be more than two years old, which matches Apple’s pattern of the iPhone SE, which uses the old iPhone case and screen technology with some new internal components. This potential phone could hit the market as the iPhone SE Plus, which was originally supposed to be released in the second half of 2021, but newer rumors point to a release date in 2022 or 2023.
The big selling point of the next iPhone SE is supposed to be that it will be the cheapest 5G iPhone ever. The iPhone 12 mini is currently the cheapest 5G iPhone with a price of 679 euros. One can therefore assume that the iPhone SE will cost less than the iPhone 12 mini, even if it cannot maintain the price of 479 euros of the current iPhone SE.
It is not known if the iPhone SE will support mmWave 5G in addition to the sub-6GHz frequencies. The iPhone 8’s case was never designed to accommodate antenna modules, which are necessary for good mmWave reception, although it is not clear to what extent this would be an issue or whether Apple could modify it slightly. In July, Nikkei Asia reported that the iPhone SE will use Qualcomm’s X60 modem, which is said to be used in the iPhone 13 as well. The Japanese Apple website Macotakara picked up the 5G rumor in October.
In the past, Apple has equipped the iPhone SE with the latest Apple A-series processor, which is also used in the last high-end iPhone models. That means a 3rd generation iPhone SE that hits the market in the spring of 2022 would be equipped with the same processor as the iPhone 13, which hits later this year. We assume that this is the A15 reported by Nikkei Asia and Macotakara. However, a report from DigiTimes in July claimed that Apple would use the A14 Bionic chip in the A12 instead. Both chips make the SE fast, inexpensive, and suitable for iOS updates for a long time, as was the case with previous iPhone SE models. Apple’s cost savings affect the case, display, cameras, and other features (don’t expect MagSafe, for example).
When the iPhone SE 3 hits the market, it is expected to have the same 12 MP wide-angle rear camera as the current model, along with a lone front camera. The current model has a 7 MP front camera that we’d love to see upgraded to 12 MP, but we haven’t heard any rumors about it, either way. However, since Apple has updated its € 379 iPad with this camera, it could very well appear in the iPhone SE 2.
But don’t expect big improvements in camera quality from fancy new sensors. Apple will likely be touting the improved camera quality on the new iPhone SE, but it will mostly come from the improved visual processing of the A15 compared to the A13 in the current second-generation iPhone SE.
Price and publication
We don’t know what the iPhone SE will cost, only that it’s supposed to be cheaper than any other iPhone. The iPhone 12 mini is currently available for 679 euros and the iPhone SE for 479 euros, each with 64 GB of storage space. With the introduction of 5G and the licensing costs that come with it, there’s a good chance the price of the iPhone SE could rise to around $ 529 or $ 549, but we don’t expect it to cost more.
Apple launched the last two iPhone SE models in the spring, and that coincides with current rumors about the 3rd generation model, which is slated for release in the first half of 2022. The rumored iPhone SE Plus, which is based on the iPhone 11 with Face ID, would definitely have a price premium of at least 100 euros (which would put it in the range of 529 to 629 euros) and could go with the next iPhone in 2022 SE, although some rumors suggest it might not be released before 2023. Notably, Apple stopped selling the 256GB model of the 2020 iPhone SE in September 2021, which could indicate a thinning of the available inventory.
* Jason Cross has been a professional contributor to technology for over 20 years. His goal is to find out how complicated technologies work and explain them in a way that everyone can understand.