The iPhone SE lineup can be seen as a last hurrah to the design of the iPhone 5, when small phones were state of the art. For many, a smaller display is the perfect size for one-handed use. Why make anything jumbo-sized? Over the years, through the iPhone SE (2020) and last year's updated iPhone SE (2022), Apple retained the small shape, improving the internal chip and adding features like Portrait mode and Portrait Lighting, which weren't possible on the iPhone 8. Will there be a new version of this popular, smaller iPhone?
Eventually. The next iteration of Apple’s budget iPhone SE was due in 2024, until the company apparently canceled the plans to release an iPhone SE 4, according to noted analyst Ming-Chi Kuo. Now, it looks like Apple has done a u-turn with new reports from Ming-Chi Kuo stating that the device will likely look very similar to the iPhone 14 with all the bells and whistles of an OLED display.
With poor low-end sales and a 2023 recession cited as reasons for the iPhone SE 4’s demise, where do we go from here? Here’s everything you need to know about the iPhone SE 4 (2024) -- including what the iMore team believes would make this one of the best iPhones on the market.
iPhone SE 4: What we'd like to see
The SE is a fantastic addition to the iPhone family, and we'd love to see the smartphone get a much-needed design overhaul to fit users' needs in 2023. A design similar to the iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Pro, would make the device feel modern and on par with some of Apple's latest offerings.
Add to that form factor an OLED display and the better battery life that comes with a larger 6.1-inch device and the iPhone SE 4 would be one of the best offerings on the market for budget-conscious buyers.
Looking at the rumors, that's probably what we'll get, even though a faster refresh rate display and Dynamic Island would be lovely. Don't expect those high end features on this less-expensive device, though it would be great to see them.
iPhone SE 4: Design
The iPhone SE 3 (2022) is Apple’s smallest iPhone, housed in the body of an iPhone 8. With thick bezels, Touch ID in the Home button, and a 4.7-inch display, the iPhone SE could really do with a bit of modernization to bring the device up to date with the rest of Apple’s lineup of iPhones.
Jon Prosser, a well-regarded iPhone leaker, had reported that the next iPhone SE could follow the trend of using older components and this time look eerily similar to the iPhone XR from 2018. If this was to be the case then the iPhone SE 4 would get a full-screen makeover alongside a 6.1-inch display.
New reports from Kuo fell in line with the rumored 6.1-inch display, and indicated a completely different design approach that would represent a "minor modification" of Apple's current best iPhone, the iPhone 14 rather than the previously reported XR.
Until they fell apart entirely, that is.
In mid-March, Kuo admitted that his February leak about the iPhone SE 4 may have been a bit wide of the mark. "I previously predicted that the iPhone SE 4 would be a derivative model of the iPhone 14," he tweeted. "However, my latest research indicates that this derivative model will likely be an engineering prototype."
Updates on iPhone SE 4 research and prediction:1. I previously predicted that the iPhone SE 4 would be a derivative model of the iPhone 14. However, my latest research indicates that this derivative model will likely be an engineering prototype for Apple in-house 5G baseband… https://t.co/9m5SjSvrKSApril 13, 2023
For the more hopeful in us, the end of the iPhone mini line could have been a great reason for Apple to use the iPhone mini design as an iPhone SE 4, making the device fit the needs of those that want a smaller phone as well as those looking for a budget option.
iPhone SE 4: Colors
There are three colors for the iPhone SE (2022): Midnight, Starlight, and PRODUCT(RED). You have three capacities to choose from as well: 64GB, 128GB, and 256GB, and the price is $429, $479, and $579, respectively.
While it may not be quite as exciting as the iPhone 13 series, which now comes in gorgeous green hues, the iPhone SE still offers a lot of bang for your buck. It's too early to guess as to the colors of an unreleased phone such as the iPhone SE 4 (2024), but we certainly like the colorful options that let our phones stand out from the crowd. Fingers crossed!
iPhone SE 4: Display
Your guess is as good as ours here. There are multiple rumors circulating around the size of the device with Kuo believing that the iPhone SE 4 will be 6.1 inches similar to the iPhone 14. The iPhone 14 has an OLED display with 1200 nits max brightness alongside HDR and a P3 Wide color gamut. If the SE 4 were to include this display, it would be a vast improvement over the current model bringing the device in line with 2023 smartphones.
If Apple goes the route of an iPhone 14 "lite" then OLED technology is more than likely to appear in the SE lineup as the current iPhone SE is the only iPhone still on sale with an LCD display. It will be interesting to see if Apple chooses to go with a lower price point by ignoring the option of OLED altogether.
Another analyst, Ross Young, however, has stated that both 5.7-inch and 6.1-inch displays are currently being assessed as options for the new SE.
With reports that the iPhone 15 lineup will introduce the Dynamic Island across all devices, the notch as seen in the iPhone 14 models could be a great way for Apple to differentiate between an SE and its flagship devices.
iPhone SE 4: Features
What will be in the new iPhone SE? Obviously, Apple's less expensive line of products won't embrace all of the top of the line bells and whistles that make a flagship phone worthy of the name. But what exactly will we see? Here's our rundown of some key features and specifications, and what we know about each so far.
If Apple was to go down the route of introducing the notch to the SE in order to keep the device looking different to the iPhone 15's Dynamic island, then we’re likely to see Face ID introduced to the SE 4.
Adding Face ID would be a huge selling point for the budget iPhone, especially with the cost of competitors like the Google Pixel 7 slowly but surely getting closer to the entry-level iPhones. Although, Apple could introduce Touch ID in the power button as it has for the iPad mini 6.
The iPhone SE 3, was released in 2022 and at the time was given the same A15 chip as the iPhone 13. If the iPhone SE 4 releases in 2024 around the time of the iPhone 16 then it would make sense for the device to gain an A16 chip like the rumored regular iPhone 15 models coming later this year.
All of this information is speculation but considering the current model has an A15 it is highly unlikely that Apple would release a new version without upgrading the chipset.
Kuo states that Apple is working on an in-house 5G baseband chipset for the iPhone SE 4 which would see the budget iPhone step away from Qualcomm similar to the iPhone 16 reports. Initial reports had stated that Apple would use Qualcomm for a new SE but this no longer seems to be the case. If Apple goes down the in-house route, we will likely see considerable improvements to the device's network speed. Kuo states that Apple's 5G baseband chip will only support Sub-6GHz 5G speeds.
(3/10)2. The new iPhone SE 4 will equip with Apple's 5G baseband chip produced by a 4nm process (similar to 5nm) and will only support Sub-6GHz as the current plan.February 27, 2023
The iPhone SE 4 doesn’t have a release date, and there haven't been a lot of leaks suggesting when exactly the device will hit the market. iMore's team of experts believes the device will be released in Q1 2024 or later, but as with any unreleased Apple products (we're looking at you, Apple Car!), take that with a grain of salt.
If you’re in the market for an iPhone just now, there are a host of different models to choose from including the fantastic iPhone 14.
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John-Anthony Disotto is the How To Editor of iMore, ensuring you can get the most from your Apple products and helping fix things when your technology isn’t behaving itself.
Living in Scotland, where he worked for Apple as a technician focused on iOS and iPhone repairs at the Genius Bar, John-Anthony has used the Apple ecosystem for over a decade and prides himself in his ability to complete his Apple Watch activity rings.
John-Anthony has previously worked in editorial for collectable TCG websites and graduated from The University of Strathclyde where he won the Scottish Student Journalism Award for Website of the Year as Editor-in-Chief of his university paper. He is also an avid film geek, having previously written film reviews and received the Edinburgh International Film Festival Student Critics award in 2019.
John-Anthony also loves to tinker with other non-Apple technology and enjoys playing around with game emulation and Linux on his Steam Deck.
In his spare time, John-Anthony can be found watching any sport under the sun from football to darts, taking the term “Lego house” far too literally as he runs out of space to display any more plastic bricks, or chilling on the couch with his French Bulldog, Kermit.