Apple is reportedly once again working on a next-generation iPhone SE, according to analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, despite his previous reports that it had canceled work on the phone. In a Twitter thread, Kuo says the company has “restarted” the project and that the iPhone SE 4 will feature an OLED display — a first for the company’s budget line — as well as a 5G modem designed by Apple instead of longtime supplier Qualcomm.
He predicts that the phone will more or less be “a minor modification of the 6.1-inch iPhone 14” and that it’ll go into production at the beginning of 2024, presumably coinciding with a release later that year. It’s unclear if the phone will have some of the iPhone 14’s premium features like Emergency SOS via satellite, Face ID, and a dual-camera system with night mode, all of which the 2022 third-gen iPhone SE currently lacks. Kuo does, however, mention that Apple will have to “overcome the technical obstacles related to mmWave and satellite communications” when it comes to its modem before it brings it to its mainline phones.
This report is basically the exact opposite of what Kuo reported in early January, when he said that the iPhone SE 4 was canceled and that Apple would be sticking with Qualcomm’s chips for the iPhone 15 and 16. Now, Kuo says that “the new iPhone SE 4 will equip with Apple’s 5G baseband chip produced by a 4nm process” and that it’ll only support sub-6 5G, not the ultrafast mmWave tech. That’s not necessarily a surprise, though, given that the same is true for the current iPhone SE.
Kuo says that it’s a “foregone conclusion that Qualcomm’s Apple orders will decline significantly” after it adopts its own modems in the iPhone SE, even though they may take a generation or two to make their way to its flagship phones. Kuo predicts that the Apple-made modems will also start to show up in Apple Watches and iPads, assuming everything goes well.
PS: if these rumors hold true and the iPhone SE 4 does end up with a 6.1-inch display, it’ll mean that Apple ignored the pleas from my colleague Sean Hollister and me to revive the Mini’s form factor in its budget lineup. I invite all devotes of the 5.4-inch screen to take some time to process this and to prepare for another long journey through the large phone wastes. Congrats to all the big phone fans, though.