The iPhone SE (2020) is easily one of the cheapest products in Apple’s entire catalog, matched only by the 10.2-inch iPad (2021). But does the tech giant plan to change its sporadic update to the SE range for a more regular one? We take a look at the rumors surrounding the next-gen iPhone SE.
When will the iPhone SE (2021) be released?
Apple’s approach to the iPhone SE hasn’t been exactly predictable. The original iPhone SE came out in March 2016 and, aside from a storage issue in March 2017, went on for four years without an update. In fact, Apple actually retired the iPhone SE in 2018, leaving many to suspect that the cheaper iPhone had had its day.
But the arrival of the iPhone SE (2020) in April 2020 was a welcome addition to the lineup and signaled that Apple may recognize the need for a more affordable option.
Here’s when previous iPhone SE models debuted:
- iPhone SE (16 and 64 GB versions): March 31, 2016
- iPhone SE (32 GB and 64 GB versions): March 24, 2017
- iPhone SE (2020): April 24, 2020
Industry watchers have speculated that there will be another fairly reliable iPhone SE, the Ming-Chi Kuo, expecting a release in the fall of 2021, although there is no no appearances at Apple’s event in September, it seems increasingly unlikely.
However, JP Morgan supply chain analyst William Yang suggests that we shouldn’t expect a new iPhone SE in 2021 at all, predicting a release in the first half of 2022 instead.
This is supported by a DigiTimes report from July 2021, which also suggests that Apple is preparing to launch the next-gen iPhone SE in the first half of 2022, suggesting that we might wait a bit longer for the next budget iPhone.
Interestingly, Apple has quietly stopped selling the high-end 256GB variant of the iPhone SE (although it remains available at retailers and third-party carriers for now). The move could signal that the third-generation iPhone SE is indeed under development and is starting to slow production of the current model.
It’s also the most expensive in Apple’s budget iPhone lineup, so it was probably the least popular in the lineup.
How much will the iPhone SE (2021) cost?
We don’t think Apple will stray too far from current prices, as the iPhone line now has a good structure that keeps the various models available in their own strata without cannibalizing those around them.
Here’s how they stack up:
- iPhone SE – Â£ 399 / $ 399
- iPhone XR – Â£ 499 / $ 499
- iPhone 11 – Â£ 599 / $ 599
- iPhone 12 mini – Â£ 699 / $ 699
- iPhone 12 – Â£ 799 / $ 799
- iPhone 12 Pro – Â£ 999 / $ 999
- iPhone 12 Pro Max – Â£ 1,099 / $ 1,099
- iPhone 13 mini – Â£ 699 / $ 699
- iPhone 13 – Â£ 799 / $ 799
- iPhone 13 Pro – Â£ 999 / $ 999
- iPhone 13 Pro Max – Â£ 1,099 / $ 1,099
The current iPhone SE (2020) starts at Â£ 399 / $ 399 and we expect any updated version to do that as well.
What new features will we see in the iPhone SE (2021)?
As Apple hasn’t even confirmed the existence of a new iPhone SE yet, no official details are currently available on what it may contain. Of course, that hasn’t stopped a lot of rumors in the tech world, so here’s what we think you might see in the new iPhone SE.
The most obvious addition to a new model would be 5G connectivity. All of the iPhone 12 models arriving in 2020 had this feature, and it’s one we’ve seen on a number of Android phones as well, including those priced similar to the iPhone SE (2020). Models like the OnePlus Nord, Motorola Edge, and Realme 7 5G come with this feature, which you’ll find in our roundup of the best cheap 5G phones.
5G is not final, however, as the iPhone XR and iPhone 11 remain in the current catalog, both above the iPhone SE, and neither of them had 5G connectivity.
A14 Bionic processor
One of the most surprising things about the iPhone SE (2020) is that it received the same A13 Bionic processor as the iPhone 11 line which were the flagships at the time. If Apple follows suit and releases an iPhone SE upgrade in 2021, we think it’s likely the upgrade could feature the A15 Bionic found in the iPhone 13 lineup as well.
It won’t be a disaster if that doesn’t happen, as the A13 is a very fast processor, but Apple hasn’t skimped on the iPhone SE (2020), so there are signs the same could. be true for a 2021 edition. JP Morgan analyst William Yang thinks so, suggesting in a recent note to investors that the next-gen iPhone SE will sport an upgraded chipset, likely in the form of the A14 Bionic.
While the iPhone SE (2020) may only have received a facelift last year, taking over the framework of the iPhone 8 and its predecessors, there has been some speculation that Apple could continue this practice with the new model. Upgrading to the roomier chassis of an iPhone XR or iPhone 11 would mean Apple could leave Touch ID and bring its full-screen iPhone experience to those who have already backed down from the price of entry.
Face ID is now well established, and as such, the price of build and parts should have come down enough to make it viable on a cheaper device. There’s also the benefit that moving to the iPhone XR or 11 frames would only require updating the guts of those models while still providing a true SE badge upgrade.
With so many competing cameras now sporting some sort of night mode, it would make sense for this low-light photography feature to be built into the iPhone SE (2021). It is turned off that the current SE does not have one.
As you can see, there is still a lot to reveal about the new iPhone SE model. We’ll update this article as more news emerges, so be sure to check back. In the meantime, take a look at our guide to the best iPhones and the best iPhone 12 deals to see which one will meet your needs.