Bad news for Apple fans on a budget — surely the most masochistic of Apple fan, considering the company’s prices. The analyst Ming-Chi Kuo thinks the company will either postpone or cancel the iPhone SE 4 altogether.

The reasoning? Apple’s (relative) historical failure to sell lower-end models (the SE 3, 13 mini and 14 Plus) in big numbers along with a planned redesign that would raise the price. 

Various leakers have predicted the iPhone SE 4 would adopt the all-screen design of the iPhone XR, doing away with the Home button and adopting Face ID or Touch ID in the power button instead. The existing iPhone SE has barely changed since 2016 — and that was based on the retro look of 2014’s iPhone 5S.

In short, extra development cost on a phone that may not even sell particularly well doesn’t sound like a good way of indulging in Apple’s favourite hobby of printing money. Doubly so as it looks like the world is on the precipice of recession.

Then again, isn’t a time of tight budgets the ideal moment to unleash a fresh(ish) looking budget iPhone? For some people, ‘phone’ is synonymous with ‘iPhone’ in the same way that some people still call all vacuum cleaners ‘hoovers’. Maintaining a low-cost option for them feels like a no-brainer, even if it’s not a handset that will ever make Apple the big bucks.

To be clear, whatever happens, it doesn’t impact Apple’s 2023 output. Unlike full-fat iPhones, the budget option doesn’t get an annual release with SE models coming in 2016, 2020 and 2022. While it would be entertaining to see the gaps between releases continue to be halved until we’re getting a new iPhone SE every other hour, the iPhone SE 4 wasn’t expected until 2024 anyway. 

Now Kuo is suggesting at least 2025, we may well be stress testing the old adage of whether ‘late’ really is better than ‘never’.