iPhone SE 4: Everything we know so far about Apple’s next budget phone
Apple has been hotly tipped to add another device to its modestly-priced range of phones in the next couple of years, and here’s a guide to everything we know about it.
It’s not been long since Apple released the iPhone SE 3, and while it had lots going for it – including the exceptional performance, the strong camera, and the great software – but even its most ardent fans would have to admit that we need to see some changes made by the time the next generation rolls around, with the design and the screen being prime candidates for an upgrade.
Here’s all we know so far about the iPhone SE 4, including the latest information concerning the release date and the price, along with a list of the changes that we’d like to see.
With many phones, especially the flagship devices from big brands, the release schedule follows a regular pattern over the years to the extent that you can predict the launch schedule like clockwork. However, that’s clearly not the case with the iPhone SE. Just check out the pattern below:
- iPhone SE: March 2016
- iPhone SE 2: April 2020
- iPhone SE 3: March 2022
Despite the scattergun approach, we can still deduce a few key clues.
Firstly, the handsets seem to be released in early Spring each time, which makes sense as it’s approximately 6 months after the launch of the mainline iPhone series.
Secondly, it’s clearly not on an annual cycle, so it will probably be two years on from the release of the iPhone SE 3 that we’ll see a new member join the family.
If there’s one thing that Apple is known for above all others, it’s the high prices of its premium products. However, the iPhone SE is a welcome change from that, being a relatively modestly-priced smartphone that is aimed towards customers looking for an affordable but reliable handset that could last for years and years.
The current generation of iPhone SE has a starting price of £419 ($429/€529), and we’d expect the next installment to occupy a similar price point too.
Leaks and Rumours
Even though the launch could take place two years from now, there’s still been plenty of speculation over the future of the iPhone SE, most of which emerged before the iPhone SE 3 even made its debut.
The above tweet by Ross Young, Display Supply Chain Consultants (DSCC), was evidently mistaken about the naming conventions of the latest iPhone SE, which was not called the iPhone SE Plus; but on the substantive point that the next iPhone SE could have a 5.7-inch to 6.1-inch display, he could well be proved right.
Previous editions in the series have always used the “shell” of a past iPhone model. The current iPhone SE is based upon the iPhone 8, but current speculation indicates that the next one may be based on the larger iPhone XR.
This would represent a significant shift in the design language of this series, being much bigger and dropping the much-loved Home button with Touch ID, so we’ll be keeping our eyes peeled for any evidence which confirms or refutes this speculation.
What would we like to see in the iPhone SE 4?
Ditch the dated design
Despite being released in 2022, the iPhone SE 3 strongly resembles the iPhone 6, which came out all the way back in 2014. The rest of the smartphone market has moved on since then, leaving this one looking like a relic from a bygone age.
Having a modest budget shouldn’t mean that you have to tote a phone that looks like a hand-me-down, especially given Apple’s genius for attractive and ergonomic products, so we hope that the iPhone SE undergoes a significant revision for its newest iteration.
Bigger and better screen
Related to the first point, we also want Apple to enlarge the screen of the next iPhone SE. While there are many benefits to being small – and actually it’s nice to see this form factor catered for, with Android handsets almost all seeming to be too large to be used with one hand – we’d still like to see the display area maximised, rather than being set between two large black bars. In fact, the iPhone SE 3’s 4.7-inch display is so small that it feels restrictive, to the extent that it’s even a bit tricky to use the keyboard.
The iPhone SE 3 has a very good main camera, which simply shines when you’re taking pictures in broad daylight. The immense processing power of its A15 Bionic chip is really brought to bear with photography, and features like Deep Fusion and Smart HDR 4 add entrancing levels of detail and contrast to images.
However, one unfortunate misstep is the lack of a dedicated Night Mode. Photos taken in lowlight simply lack the detail and warmth that we’ve come to expect from Apple’s smartphones, so we’d like to see this addressed in the next update.
Some may argue that they’d like another lens added to complement the sole main sensor of this device, but frankly we don’t see that as a big problem; it’s preferable to have one great wide angle lens than a cornucopia of media cameras, as you might see on some handsets in the Android mid-range.