iPhone SE 4 Rumors: What’s in Store for Apple’s Newest Release?

The iPhone SE, though not as prominent as Apple’s flagship iPhones, staged a comeback in 2020 and 2022 with new models. However, the future of the iPhone SE remains uncertain, with conflicting rumors about the potential release of an iPhone SE 4. Analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has offered varying predictions, even suggesting the possibility of cancellation.

Apple, known for its discretion regarding future products, has not officially disclosed plans for upcoming iPhone SE models. With the discontinuation of the iPhone Mini, the iPhone SE assumes a crucial role as Apple’s smaller and more affordable iPhone.

There’s considerable room for Apple to enhance its compact iPhone further. While the 2022 iPhone SE received praise for its accessible price and familiar home button, criticisms arose regarding its lack of night mode photos and dated design. Competitors like Samsung and Google have advanced their similarly priced budget phones, offering features such as high refresh rates and multiple cameras in devices like the Google Pixel 7A and Samsung Galaxy A54 5G.

Anticipating Apple’s next budget iPhone remains speculative until an official announcement is made. Drawing insights from the frequently reliable Kuo, coupled with leaks and Apple’s historical product launches, here’s a glimpse of what we might expect from the forthcoming budget-friendly iPhone.

Notably, Apple has not provided any comment on the prospects of a future iPhone SE in response to inquiries made during the original publication of this story.

Unraveling the Release Date Mystery

The launch date of the iPhone SE 4 remains elusive, contributing to the uncertainty surrounding its existence. Fluctuating predictions from Kuo over the years have added complexity to the situation, starting in 2019 when he hinted at an iPhone SE with a full-screen design reminiscent of the iPhone XR, as reported by MacRumors. However, subsequent releases of two iPhone SE versions maintaining the old iPhone 8-inspired design have fueled speculation about potential cancellations or delays.

Kuo’s Whirlwind Predictions for 2023

Kuo’s predictions for the iPhone SE 4 in 2023 have been a series of twists and turns. Starting in January, he suggested the cancellation of a 2024 iPhone SE, only to reverse course in February, claiming the project had been revived. By April, Kuo introduced another shift, proposing that the earlier mentioned model might be an engineering prototype for an in-house 5G baseband chip, a feature previously associated with the iPhone SE 4. MacRumors reports active development of a new iPhone SE with substantial upgrades, potentially delaying its launch until 2025, according to a recent update.

The iPhone SE’s release pattern has deviated from the regular schedule observed with Apple’s flagship iPhones. The initial iPhone SE debuted in March 2016, followed by the second generation in April 2020, and the latest third-generation in March 2022. A potential 2024 launch aligns with recent schedules, but certainty remains elusive, given the four-year gap between the first two models. The release timeline continues to be a puzzle in the unfolding narrative of the iPhone SE 4.

Design Whispers: iPhone SE 4’s Resemblance to iPhone 14 or XR

If Apple is indeed developing another iPhone SE, there’s a possibility it might feature a 6.1-inch screen, aligning with the dimensions of Apple’s contemporary flagship phones. In contrast, the current iPhone SE has a 4.7-inch screen, reminiscent of the iPhone 8, with noticeable black bars at the top and chin.

The specific iPhone model that the new iPhone SE might draw inspiration from remains uncertain. While Kuo’s 2019 report suggested a design similar to the iPhone XR, serial leaker Jon Prosser and analyst Ross Young have also indicated the possibility of a larger screen and a design resembling the iPhone XR. Recent reports from MacRumors in September 2023 proposed that the iPhone SE 4 would adopt a modified version of the iPhone 14’s chassis, reinforcing this notion in November. Given the recency of MacRumors’ reports, it appears plausible that the next iPhone SE could share its appearance with the iPhone 14.

Kuo’s post in February 2023 hinted at the possibility of the iPhone SE 4 featuring an OLED screen, a significant upgrade for Apple’s more affordable phone. MacRumors also supports this claim, reporting that the next iPhone SE is expected to incorporate an OLED display.

OLED screens are renowned for their deeper blacks and superior contrast compared to LCD, a technology previously reserved for Apple’s Pro series. However, Kuo’s subsequent update in April introduced the idea that the device he initially considered a future SE might be nothing more than an engineering prototype, adding an element of uncertainty to these features.

Will it Embrace Touch ID or Opt for Face ID?

There’s a potential shift away from Apple’s Touch ID fingerprint sensor for fans, as MacRumors suggests that the upcoming iPhone SE will adopt Face ID, aligning with other modern iPhones. This contradicts Kuo’s 2019 report, which proposed a smaller notch without Face ID and Touch ID integrated into the power button.

Kuo’s earlier suggestion resembled Apple’s strategy with certain iPads, such as the 10th-generation iPad, fifth-generation iPad Air, and sixth-generation iPad Mini, where Touch ID is embedded in the top button. The conflicting reports leave the authentication method for the iPhone SE 4 uncertain.

iPhone SE 4: Borrowing iPhone 15’s Camera, USB-C, and Action Button?

The iPhone SE 4 appears to draw inspiration from the iPhone 15, with a potential shift to USB-C, aligning with Apple’s recent switch in the iPhone 15 lineup to comply with European regulations. MacRumors supports this notion, asserting that the iPhone SE 4 will indeed feature USB-C connectivity.

In an unexpected twist, MacRumors suggests the iPhone SE 4 might also incorporate the Action button, a feature exclusive to the iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max, offering programmable shortcuts. This choice is intriguing, considering the Action button is currently a distinctive feature setting apart Apple’s premium iPhones from their entry-level counterparts.

Another notable detail from MacRumors is the possibility of a 48-megapixel single camera for the iPhone SE 4, sharing a similarity with the iPhone 15’s camera setup. If accurate, the iPhone SE 4 would differ from Apple’s pricier models, which typically sport multiple rear cameras. The standard iPhone 15 includes wide and ultra-wide cameras, while the Pro versions boast wide, ultra-wide, and telephoto cameras.

New Processor and Speculated Apple 5G Modem for iPhone SE 4

The iPhone SE traditionally inherits the processor from Apple’s latest flagship iPhone, maintaining a pattern where the newest mobile chip becomes the standout feature. For instance, the 2022 iPhone SE shares the same chip as the iPhone 13, launched in September 2021. Given this historical trend, it’s likely that the upcoming iPhone SE 4 will continue this tradition.

Initially, Kuo suggested the possibility of an Apple-made 5G chip for the next iPhone SE. However, this prediction was later revised, introducing uncertainty about the application of this technology. MacRumors aligns with the initial prediction, reporting that the iPhone SE 4 will feature an Apple-made 5G modem.

Apple’s acquisition of Intel’s modem business in 2019 fueled speculation about the company developing its own 5G modems, potentially reducing reliance on Qualcomm as a supplier. This shift allows Apple greater control over launch timelines and product features, consistent with its strategy across major product lines. While Apple has not officially disclosed its future plans, Qualcomm’s CEO Cristiano Amon indicated in March that he expects Apple to start using its own modems in 2024.

The fourth-generation iPhone SE holds the promise of being one of the most exciting iPhone updates in recent years, given the uncertainty surrounding its features. If leaks, rumors, and reports prove accurate, Apple’s budget iPhone may undergo significant advancements in design, functionality, and screen size, potentially in the coming year or 2025.

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