It turns out that the iPhone SE, previously reported as dead by industry insider Ming Chi-Kuo, might just have been sleeping after all. That’s according to… Ming Chi-Kuo, proving that a lot can change in just a couple of months.
Kuo describes the new-look iPhone SE 4 as “a minor modification of the 6.1in iPhone 14.” Presumably just enough of a modification to ensure existing cases don’t fit, if history is any guide.
But that’s quite a big change: the current iPhone SE 3 is the only phone in Apple’s catalogue to still be plugging away with Touch ID — the fingerprint-enabled home button. Mimicking the iPhone 14 presumably means the iPhone SE will finally give in to peer pressure and copy Face ID, first introduced with the iPhone X seven years ago.
There are two other big changes that Kuo mentions. The first is that the new iPhone SE 4 will apparently get an upgrade to an OLED screen allowing for deeper blacks and better contrast.
The second is that the handset will be the first to have a 5G chip built by Apple, ensuring it no longer has to deal with Qualcomm — a company it’s been in and out of legal wranglings with for the past few years. Assuming the experiment all goes well, Kuo says that the iPad and Apple Watch will be next in line to abandon Qualcomm baseband chips thanks to their “lower technical requirements.”
Kuo didn’t say when he expected the new iPhone SE to land, but I wouldn’t expect it before March 2024 given the current model only came out just over a year ago. The iPhone SE doesn’t share the same annual upgrade as the numbered iPhones — indeed, there were four years between the original SE and the SE 2.
But with a design inspired by the iPhone 14, an OLED screen and the introduction of Face ID, you do have to wonder whether Apple can keep up with the competitive pricing. The iPhone SE 3 will currently set you back NZ$849, while the iPhone 14 — the reported design model for its successor — comes in at nearly double that: NZ$1,599.
The final price tag will give some indication at how many corners Apple has cut to keep the SE 4 an SE…