Friday, May 24, 2024
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iPhone SE 4: news, rumored price, release date, and more


The Apple iPhone SE (2022) and Apple iPhone SE (2020) together.
Andy Boxall / Digital Trends

While the spotlight always seems to be on Apple’s mainline iPhones, the iPhone SE is a great pick for those who are on a budget. If you want an iPhone that doesn’t break the bank, the SE is the way to go.

The original iPhone SE came out in 2016, and then Apple revamped it in 2020 and 2022 by giving it some more modern hardware. The iPhone SE tends to get updated every two or so years rather than annually like the traditional iPhone. This means  that we should see a new iPhone SE 4 this year, but it’s not so cut-and-dried with this particular model.

Here’s everything we know so far about the supposed iPhone SE 4.

iPhone SE 4: release date and price

The back of the Apple iPhone SE (2022).
Andy Boxall / Digital Trends

When the iPhone SE first came out in 2016, it seemed like a one-and-done deal. We did not see another iPhone SE until 2020, and then we got a third iteration in 2022.

Based on that, it would seem like 2024 is a good time for a refresh. However, rumors have been a mixed bag. There were previous reports that the iPhone SE 4, which was originally planned for 2024, was canceled entirely, according to analyst Ming-Chi Kuo. Later, Kuo followed up that claim by saying the project was revived, though it may not come to fruition until 2025.

In other words, the release window for an iPhone SE 4 is very up in the air. If it was following the recent pattern, it should arrive this year. But since it was four years between the first and second models, it’s a bit uncertain.

As far as price is concerned, there have been no rumors to speak of. But since the iPhone SE is considered Apple’s “budget” phone, we should expect it to have a price tag similar to the current SE. The iPhone SE (2022) starts at $429 for the 64GB model, and goes up to $479 for 128GB or $579 for 256GB.

Even if the iPhone SE 4’s price increases slightly, it will still be less than the mainline iPhone 16 or iPhone 17.

iPhone SE 4: design

Apple iPhone SE 2024 leaks
iPhone SE 4 render Jon Prosser / Front Page Tech

The original iPhone SE in 2016 was modeled after the iPhone 5s, and the iPhone SE 2 and iPhone SE 3 had the same design as the iPhone 8. But a potential iPhone SE 4 seems ripe for a change in chassis design.

Rumors have indicated that if the iPhone SE 4 is coming, it will feature a 6.1-inch display, similar to what Apple currently offers on the mainline iPhones. That means we could see one of two options for the design of the iPhone SE 4: the older iPhone XR design or the newer iPhone 14 design. The iPhone XR design rumors came out much earlier, around 2019, while the iPhone 14 design reports are more recent (starting in 2023).

Render of the iPhone SE 4 design.
Jon Prosser / Front Page Tech

Either way, going with a 6.1-inch design will also eliminate the home button for Touch ID, bringing the iPhone SE in line with the other models with Face ID. It’s unlikely that we will see the Dynamic Island, however, as the notch will almost certainly return.

The iPhone SE 4 may also get an Action button, which originally debuted on the iPhone 15 Pro and replaces the silent/ring toggle. And to make it more like the mainline iPhones, it will also transition to USB-C rather than Lightning.

iPhone SE 4: display

An iPhone 14 laying on a table. The display is on and showing the home screen.
Joe Maring / Digital Trends

All previous iPhone SE models used LCD technology for the display. But with the iPhone SE 4, Apple could be making the switch to OLED.

Apple has been using OLED panels for iPhones since the iPhone 12. It would make sense for Apple to switch over to OLED to make the iPhone SE 4 more akin to the flagship models, but still at a lower price.

OLED displays have deeper, richer blacks and better contrast compared to LCD. If the switch is happening, it would be a big upgrade for the budget iPhone.

iPhone SE 4: specs

The iPhone SE 2022 and the iPhone 14 Plus's screens.
iPhone 14 Plus (left) and iPhone SE (2022) Andy Boxall / Digital Trends

The iPhone SE 3 (2022) currently uses an A15 Bionic chip, which was first introduced with the iPhone 13 line in 2021.

Traditionally, the iPhone SE has used a prior-generation chip to make it more budget-friendly, so we can expect the same with the iPhone SE 4. If we are to get the iPhone SE 4 this year, then it would likely have the A16 chip, or possibly the A17 if it comes out in 2025.

There have also been rumors that Apple has been working on an in-house 5G chip, which could appear in the iPhone SE 4. This would result from Apple acquiring Intel’s modem business in 2019, which has led the company to build and use its own modems in future devices rather than relying on Qualcomm.

There has been no word on other specs like RAM and storage. But we can expect at least the current minimum of 64GB of storage, and up to 256GB.

iPhone SE 4: cameras

The Apple iPhone SE (2022)'s camera module.
Andy Boxall / Digital Trends

All models of the iPhone SE thus far have only had a single-lens camera, and the iPhone SE 4 will likely follow that trend. After all, the base model iPhones have dual camera setups, while the Pro models have triple lenses. Keeping the SE at a single lens would prevent it from potentially cannibalizing the other models.

However, Apple is likely to upgrade the single camera to 48MP instead of the 12MP currently on the iPhone SE 3. Unfortunately, there is no word on how many megapixels the selfie camera will be.

iPhone SE 4: battery life

Apple iPhone SE (2020) being plugged in to charge.
Andy Boxall / Digital Trends

One of the biggest weaknesses of the iPhone SE is the battery life due to its small size. The iPhone SE 3 currently only has around a 2,018mAh battery, which doesn’t last as long as those in flagship iPhone models.

But if Apple is moving to an iPhone 14 design, that would mean more room for a larger battery. The iPhone 14 currently has around 3,279mAh, which is much better than on the iPhone SE.

Plus, if Apple is moving to an OLED panel, it would need more battery to power it than it does for LCD. And with a newer A-series chip, it could also mean better power efficiency, leading to longer battery life regardless.

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