The most affordable iPhone is the iPhone SE, currently in its third-generation manifestation. It’s not expected that an updated version will appear until early next year, probably, but a new claim claims that high-end elements like the Dynamic Island found on the iPhone 15 series could make it onto the entry-level model. That’s a surprise.
The report comes from prolific leaker Majin Bu, who posted on X. The leaker has a decent but not flawless track record, but it’s certainly strong enough to make them worth listening to.
If you’ve ever had an iPhone SE, you’ll know that Apple takes the design of an older iPhone and updates it with a new processor. Often that’s most of the changes it makes. The original, released in 2016, was based on the iPhone 5s. The second-generation SE was modelled on the iPhone 8 and appeared in 2020. The current, third-gen version came out in 2022 and looks just like the second-generation.
So, the report of an iPhone that looks nothing like an earlier model is unexpected. The new report claims that the next SE would be based on a phone that isn’t even out yet, this fall’s iPhone 16, though Majin Bu has since rowed back a little, saying “Not even the information mentioned… should be taken too seriously as I was saying, but there is a possibility that this could happen.”
First of all, this would be a huge change of strategy for Apple to base an SE design on a current model—though that is the way Google does things, with the upcoming Pixel 8a expected to look a bit like the Pixel 8.
But Apple has never done that, so I think it’s unlikely. And, as mentioned, the new report claims the Dynamic Island will be on board, but this is a premium feature which has only just made it to the regular iPhone 15.
A previous rumor from MacRumors claimed that a new SE would look like last year’s iPhone 14, which makes a lot more sense.
Both reports claim a single camera would replace the dual snappers of the phones they’re based on. That’s possible but again I’m not persuaded.
Apple’s skill at keeping down the price of the SE is to take an earlier design and change it almost not at all apart from color, perhaps. The big change is always the processor, which has always been upgraded to the latest-gen chip. I believe that’s what Apple will do again.
As the leaker hints, we’re far enough away from any expected release that things will change a lot.
There’s one thing which seems overwhelmingly likely: the current iPhone SE will surely be the last iPhone with Touch ID on the front of the phone. Whatever it looks like, Face ID is a shoo-in for the next iPhone SE, surely.