When Apple has an event, such as the one this week where new iPads, iPhones and Apple Watches were unveiled, there’s a brief period when the online store goes down. It then reappears, leading to a fun* game of ‘spot the difference’ where players attempt to identify what’s been added and removed, and what prices have been adjusted.

It seems that the addition of the new iPhone 13 handsets wasn’t the only change to Apple’s phone lineup. As spotted by MacRumors, the 256GB iPhone SE is no more, with just the 64- and 128GB models left available to buy across all regions.

The 256GB iPhone SE was always a bit of a strange one, adding a premium price to a device that was supposed to be on the cheaper end of the spectrum. And frankly, if you were going to spend the 256GB asking price of NZ$1,049 on an iPhone, then you were better off stumping up a bit more cash for a newly reduced $999 128GB iPhone 11 or $1,049 64GB iPhone 12 mini. 

It’s entirely possible, therefore, that it has been discontinued for the most logical of reasons: nobody was buying it before, and even fewer people will now.

But there’s another more exciting alternative: it’s possible that Apple is winding down production of all iPhone SE models in preparation for a new version. That may sound a little like wishful thinking, but given the current iPhone SE is approaching 18 months old, it does seem likely that Apple will be considering giving it a refresh. 

Yes, there were four long years between the first generation of iPhone SE and the second, but it seems like Apple isn’t intent on keeping people waiting this time around. Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo reckons a new iPhone SE is due in the first half of 2022, and it’ll probably look the same as the current model, only with faster internals and 5G

Given Apple has retired the 64GB phone with the iPhone 13, it’s highly likely that this handset will come with more storage than the current version. But if you can’t wait that long, and need a 256GB iPhone without stumping up the cash for a newer model, you’ll just have to turn to the pre-owned market. 

* Not fun, that other one — “tedious”.