While most of the attention is on Apple’s new iPhone 15 flagship, there’s plenty to be excited about down at the mid-range phone end of the line-up.
The less expensive iPhone SE has been a top pick among customers, for both the price and smaller screen size. It’s seen multiple refreshes since its initial launch back in 2016, and it’s set for another update.
The iPhone SE (4th gen) is currently in the works over at Apple HQ in Cupertino. This new device should bring a whole bunch of new features to the more affordable end of Apple’s smartphone line-up. But what exactly should you expect from the device, when will it arrive, and how much will it cost?
We’ve scoured the web for all the latest iPhone SE (4th gen) leaks and rumours, and have nailed down what’s really important. Here’s everything we know so far about the upcoming smartphone.
iPhone SE (4th gen) rumoured design
The design for the iPhone SE (4th gen) has been somewhat of a hot topic over at the rumour mill. Initially, FrontPageTech’s Jon Prosser showed off a design similar to that of the iPhone XR, based on leaked information. But this was back in October 2022, and it looks like things have changed since then.
More recently than that, analyst Ming-Chi Kuo reported that the fourth-generation SE would take after the iPhone 14 series instead. Kuo explained that Apple is planning to use a 6.1-inch OLED panel on the device, just like the iPhone 14. He went as far as to say the new iPhone SE will be a “minor modification” to the iPhone 14.
Since the new budget smartphone is using the newer display, it’ll need a redesigned body to fit it. The curved edges of the third generation SE‘s body or the XR won’t house the newer and larger displays. So, it looks like Apple will need to switch to the flat-edge design of more recent iPhones.
We’ve heard that this is even more likely to be the case from leaker Unknownz21. The Twitter user mentioned that the iPhone SE (4th gen) will opt for a design based on the iPhone 14, alongside a list of expected features. Since then, MacRumors has shared that an anonymous source revealed the SE 4 would use a slightly modified version of the iPhone 14 chassis.
As for the back of the device, expect a single camera and flash, just like the current SE 3, but there are different designs in testing. However, the camera sensor may get a bump to 48MP just like the recent iPhone 15 series. MacRumors’ source also expects an OLED panel for the display, like other sources.
iPhone SE (4th gen) expected specs and features
Since the iPhone SE (4th gen) is borrowing the iPhone 14’s design, we can expect the notch to make its way across. This begs the question of whether Face ID will move across as well. Apple uses fingerprint readers embedded into the power button on iPads, so Touch ID could stick around on the new budget smartphone. However, in Unknownz21’s list of expected features, the leaker mentions that Face ID will make its way to the new SE. MacRumors also reports a switch to Face ID from a Touch ID button.
All previous iPhone SE models have only shipped with one rear camera – a noticeable distinction from the two or more on every other iPhone model. It would make sense for Apple to keep the current trend, and Unknownz21 seems to agree in the leaker’s report. However, one benefit of the iPhone SE is that it allows the tech giant to reuse old chassis designs. If Apple is using the same body as the iPhone 14, then we might end up with two camera lenses.
Unknownz21 also mentions some other features in the leak. The new iPhone SE (4th gen) will reportedly receive the rumoured new Action Button that’s on the iPhone 15. On top of this, the new budget iPhone will get a USB-C port. This makes sense given the EU’s USB-C legislation that comes into force in 2024.
MacRumors’ source also reckons the Action Button from iPhone 15 Pro, and USB-C port from the rest of the 15 line-up will arrive on the device. We don’t doubt the new budget iPhone will back USB-C, but an Action Button seems more unlikely, since this is a Pro-only feature.
Aside from leaks, there are a few other features we expect on the new SE. Depending on the release date, the iPhone SE (4th gen) will run either the A15 Bionic or A16 Bionic chipset from the current series of iPhones. Apple could opt to use the iPhone 15 Pro/Pro Max A17 Pro chipset if we see the device launch in 2025, but it’s more likely to use an older version to save on cost.
We might also see the new handset bump its base storage to 128GB. While the current SE starts at 64GB, the iPhone 13 series switched the starting storage to 128GB. Apple might follow suit with its cheapest smartphone.
One other big addition to the iPhone SE will be Apple’s own 5G modem. While the current model already includes support for 5G connectivity, Apple uses third-party modem parts inside the device. Could it be the first product to switch to Apple’s custom-made modem?
iPhone SE (4th gen) rumored price
Each iPhone SE release has brought an increased price with it. The first generation launched at $399/£379, the second gen at $399/£419, and the third at $429/£449. As component prices increase and the device receives newer features, the higher manufacturing costs get passed on to customers. Given the new features expected on the fourth generation device, we wouldn’t be surprised to see another price jump.
The good news is that the iPhone SE is firmly positioned as Apple’s budget device. As such, we wouldn’t expect the device to cross over £500. Since the tech giant still sells the iPhone 13 from $599/£649, the cheapest offering would have to be significantly less than this. For the iPhone SE (4th gen), a launch price of $449/£479 seems most likely given Apple’s recent pricing strategy.
When is the expected iPhone SE (4th gen) release date?
While the flagship iPhone series follows a typical annual launch schedule in September, the same can’t be said for the budget iPhone. So far, Apple has stuck to releasing the iPhone SE in March, but the frequency of launches has been unpredictable. The first generation arrived in 2016, the second in 2020, and the third in 2022. At first guess, it might look like Apple would release the fourth generation in 2024, but that’s likely not the case.
As we mentioned, it looks like Apple will include its first customer designed 5G antenna in the new iPhone SE. Referencing the modem, Apple analyst Jeff Pu explained he expects the device to appear in 2025. Similar analysts have also pegged 2025 as the release date for the new smartphone. Barclays’ analysts Curtis and O’Malley explained that a 2024 release “seems unlikely”, while Ming-Chi Kuo also referenced 2025 for the device and 5G antenna.
As such, it looks like 2025 is the most likely release for the iPhone SE (4th gen). We’d expect the device to make its appearance in March, just as Apple has done before.