Apple is reportedly just months away from launching the iPhone SE 3, the next addition to its budget-friendly smartphone line.
In a new report, Taiwanese research firm TrendForce predicts Apple will reveal its next affordable iPhone sometime in Q1 2022, meaning in January, February, or March. Previous rumors set a similar timeline with reliable Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo narrowing it down to the first half of next year.
“The third-generation iPhone SE is expected to be a major instrument in helping Apple establish a presence in the market segment for mid-range 5G smartphones,” TrendForce wrote. “Its production volume for 2022 is forecasted to reach 25-30 million units.”
Considering the iPhone SE debuted in April 2020, we suspect the iPhone SE 3 will arrive toward the end of TrendForce’s Q1 prediction at a spring event in March, possibly alongside a new iMac 27, Mac mini, and iPad Pro.
Before I get into the SE’s rumored specs, we need to talk about naming. In October, display analyst Ross Young claimed Apple would call its upcoming iPhone SE model the iPhone SE Plus, even though it’ll feature the same 4.7-inch display as the previous version. We’d heard a similar name before when Kuo said Apple was working on an iPhone SE 2 Plus, a claim he later retracted. Young believes Apple will launch a larger iPhone SE 3 in 2024 with a 6.1-inch display and a hole-punch camera.
Apple previously used the “Plus” moniker to denote a larger screen size before switching to “Pro Max” following the iPhone 8. It’s possible Apple brings back the term but uses it in a different way, a choice that would further muddy its already confusing naming conventions. And if that wasn’t enough of a puzzle to sort out, Apple could continue the current naming strategy and simply call the iPhone SE 3 the iPhone SE with an implied (3rd Generation) parenthetical.
As for the spec, the iPhone SE 3 (or Plus) is widely rumored to feature 5G connectivity and run on the same A15 processor found in the iPhone 13. As mentioned, the screen will remain at 4.7 inches and keep an LCD panel instead of moving to OLED or mini-LED. Unfortunately, all signs lead to this device sharing a design with the current model whose outdated design is hampered by thick bezels and a Home button.
The $399 iPhone SE gives consumers a low-cost option to join Apple’s ecosystem and get their hands on an iOS device. If Apple can keep the cost where it is while adding 5G, the SE will be among the more affordable phones equipped with the latest connectivity standard (we’ll be interested to see which flavors of 5G Apple opts to use).
We don’t know much else about the forthcoming iPhone SE, though a dual-camera setup and upgrades to the iPhone SE (2nd Gen)’s measly 3G of RAM and 64GB of base storage would be welcome changes. Apple is doing a better-than-usual job keeping the iPhone SE under wraps, so there could be some surprises at its next event, barring any new leaks.