iPhone SE 4 tipped for major refresh – here's what's possible
A new supply chain rumor sees restarted iPhone SE 4 development with an OLED screen and Apple in-house 5G chips
➡️ The Shortcut Skinny: iPhone SE returns
Analyst says iPhone SE 4 development has restarted with iPhone 14 chassis
OLED full-screen design would replace Apple’s aging LCD iPhone design
Home button would be gone, no word on whether Face ID would replace it
Apple may use its in-house sub-6 5G modem for the new iPhone SE
Rumors of the iPhone SE 4th generation’s demise may be greatly exaggerated, according to a new report from longtime Apple supply chain analyst Ming-Chi Kuo. In a series of tweets today, Kuo indicated he believes Apple has restarted development of the budget phone using the iPhone 14 as the base of the design, signaling the first significant refresh of a design that essentially started almost ten years ago with the iPhone 6.
The development, if true, comes after Kuo followed up his December tweet saying Apple may cancel the iPhone SE with a January 6 blog post firming up his prediction. In addition to making the iPhone more like the main line of Apple phones, the iPhone SE for 2024 may use in-house 5G modems limited to sub-6GHz frequencies, and so would be slower than those found in phones supporting so-called millimeter-wave 5G – the flavor of short-range cellular protocol that gives throughput well over gigabit speed, if you can find it.
Until now, Apple has used Qualcomm modems to achieve 5G connectivity in its phones, so this change would continue its trend of moving component design in-house.
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iPhone SE 4: many firsts for the budget iPhone
If Kuo’s prediction comes to pass, it would completely disappear LCDs from Apple’s mobile products for the first time. Without a home button, it would mean no TouchID for its phones, as well, unless the company integrates the fingerprint sensor somewhere like the power button, as it does now with its best iPads. Barring that, it would likely use Face ID in its place, testing one of the reasons people buy the phone in the first place.
It’s not likely, if the iPhone SE refresh comes, that we’ll see it in time for the iPhone 15 Pro Max release date, but it may get something its pricier siblings won’t have. Kuo asserted in his thread today that Apple is looking to produce the iPhone SE 4 in the first half of 2024 and that if all goes smoothly, it will move to use its own 5G chips in the base model iPad and Apple Watch, which would put 5G in the best Apple Watch for the first time.
A 6.1-inch iPhone SE 4 seemingly signals no return in sight for small iPhones, likely disappointing fans of Apple’s iPhone 12 and 13 Mini phones, a line that wasn’t refreshed when it debuted the iPhone 14 last year.