Most of iMore's core audience (and writing staff) is already repping one of the best iPhone models available, so an updated iPhone SE, rumored to be around the corner, might not seem like the sort of thing we would get excited about. But we should.
The latest supply chain sources are suggesting an iPhone SE 3, or iPhone SE (2022), that retains the same basic shape and size of the current-gen model but upgrades the internals. Though it may end up looking the same as the current iPhone SE, which basically looks the same as the iPhone 8 that preceded it, the rumored updates should still provide an exceptional experience to the user by modern standards when it eventually launches next spring.
Similar to how the iPhone SE (2020) packed iPhone 11 performance into an iPhone 8 form factor, the iPhone SE (2022) is expected to gain advanced features like 5G connectivity and an upgraded system-on-a-chip — an A14 Bionic or perhaps even the chip powering Apple's iPhone 13, expected later this year — all while retaining a low-cost price point.
With an updated iPhone SE, Apple would be showing its commitment to serving the lower-cost smartphone market. Even if that doesn't include you, this is a reason to be happy. Rather than continuing to sell the iPhone SE (2020) and raking it in on the margins, it would be ensuring that its thriftier users would still enjoy a great user experience.
And you know who those people are? Our relatives and our friends that, compared to us, care very little about the speeds and feeds of their devices and simply want something that works well and doesn't cost the earth.
With a new SoC and 5G, the 2022 iPhone SE would absolutely fly. If it can keep the $399 price point, it becomes the de-facto iPhone recommendation to friends and family who don't want to spend $700 and up to get a new phone. That's not to mention a probable performance bump for the camera and any other as-yet-unannounced spec bumps. Throw in some new colors, and Apple has got itself a hit product.
If the rumors are right, it's more than likely that the iPhone SE (2022) will be keeping much the same design as the one we know today. Though unexciting, this also represents good news for small phone fans (especially if the iPhone 12 mini was a one-off), as well as those that are familiar with iOS as a Home button-anchored experience.
Those people, again, are our friends and family to who we all end up providing tech support. The less disruptive change, the better for all involved, and it means that those folks won't persevere with an older iPhone model just because they don't want to make the leap to a gesture-based UI that is currently foreign to them. Having an up-to-date iPhone SE ensures they don't have to hold onto their aging device, and you don't have to help them out when things start to go wrong.
As for potential downsides, Apple keeping the 4.7-inch, Home button-and-bezel form factor around for longer will mean that developers will have to support that screen size for the foreseeable future. It also means we're still years away from the Home button-less world of tomorrow, but that doesn't stop us, nerds, from enjoying our edge-to-edge OLED screens in the meantime. Until the next tech support call, anyway.
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Adam Oram is a Senior Writer at iMore. He studied Media at Newcastle University and has been writing about technology since 2013. He previously worked as an Apple Genius and as a Deals Editor at Thrifter. His spare time is spent watching football (both kinds), playing Pokémon games, and eating vegan food. Follow him on Twitter at @adamoram.