iPhone SE review (2022)

The iPhone 15 has been in early adopters’ eager palms for less than a week, but leakers have already turned their attention to the next big thing from Apple. Or more accurately, the next-but-one smallish thing.

That would be the iPhone SE 4 — the next version of the cheap-but-cheerful SE range of smartphones that offer your standard iPhone experience with a few corners cut in terms of camera, screen and Face ID.

Or at least it used to, because it sounds like the iPhone SE 4 is set to be a huge leap forward to close the gap between handsets, if MacRumors’ sources are to be believed.

In fact, each one of those points is addressed in the upcoming phone, which reportedly gets the rather cool codename of ‘Ghost’. The screen will apparently now be OLED rather than LCD, and Touch ID will finally be retired in favour of Face ID — the technology that lets you unlock your iPhone just by looking at it.

As for the camera, “preliminary information” suggests that it will get a 48MP rear camera like the new iPhone 15 — though this would be the only camera on the back, bucking the trend of smartphones that look increasingly ridiculous with three or more lenses staring back at you from an unsightly bump. Apple apparently has “at least five different designs for the camera bump with minor differences among them” which feels a bit over obsessive, but there we are.

Apparently the SE 4 will also get the brand new Action Button that’s only just arrived on the Pro models of the iPhone 15. That suggests that it’s going to come to next year’s regular iPhone 16 first, as the next iPhone SE isn’t expected until 2025 at the earliest. By that point, USB-C will be mandated in Europe, so even if Apple wanted to persist with Lightning for some reason, it won’t.

Of course, all these changes probably mean that the iPhone SE 4 will be pricier than its predecessor, which you can currently buy for NZ$849. At that point, it might make sense to buy the iPhone 16 or 17 instead, but that assumes that Apple won’t bump the prices of its higher-spec phones, which seems… optimistic to the point of delusion.

We’ll find out in a year and a bit’s time.