The iPhone X and iPhone 8 may well be some of the best handsets on the market, but they’re also pretty pricey, and pretty huge. Thankfully for the smaller-handed of us out there, Apple also offers a more compact, lower-cost device called the iPhone SE. Launched in 2016, the SE has gone a while without an update, but recent reports indicate that Apple is finally working on a new one. Tentatively called the iPhone SE 2, here’s everything you need to know about it.
Release date and price
Despite Apple being completely mum about even the existence of an updated iPhone called the iPhone SE 2, speculation about the release date of such a phone is all over the place. The latest news comes from accessory creator Olixar, and says that a 5-inch iPhone X-style replacement for the iPhone SE will not materialize at all, and has been replaced by a larger version of the iPhone X. This statement comes into conflict with an earlier tweet and accompanying web page from smartphone wrap manufacturer Slickwraps, which confirmed that not only does the phone exist, but is on the way soon. Who to believe? At the moment, neither manufacturer has been able to really back its claims up properly.
Right now, any hint of a release date is conjecture at best. The most recent rumors from a Japanese tech blog state we will not see the iPhone SE 2 until Apple launches all of its new devices in September. To add more confusion to the mix, there’s also a rumor from The China Economic Daily speculating the iPhone will be manufactured in India and released in July — something which now seems unlikely. While we thought there was a definite possibility that Apple would showcase its new budget handset at this year’s WWDC, this was obviously not the case — so a September launch now looks far more likely, if at all.
From all the rumors provided thus far, it’s hard to pin down exactly when Apple plans to launch the iPhone SE 2, but French website Consomac reported earlier this year on a regulatory filing with the Eurasian Economic Commission (EEC) that shows Apple certified 11 new iPhone model numbers that will ship with iOS 11; these could be different variants of the upcoming iPhone SE 2.
As for pricing, there’s very little information right now other than a report from The China Economic Daily stating the phones would ship for $450 — the same price as the original iPhone SE in 2016.
Will a new iPhone SE retain the small-screen, iPhone 5-esque look, or move on to something more current? Rumors surrounding the iPhone SE 2 are all over the place, with multiple “leaks” showing up for both an iPhone X-style redesign and a design that’s more reminiscent of the original SE’s look.
The most recent whispers about the SE 2 come from retailer Mobile Fun, and show an iPhone X-style redesign, scaled down to a size smaller than the original iPhone SE.
This is backed up with render images for an Olixar iPhone SE 2 screen protector, as well as CAD imagery that supposedly shows off the dimensions of the phone. While this may seem to be the full package, renders aren’t exactly hard to make, and neither are CAD designs for screen protectors. It’s also worth pointing out these “leaked” designs are often based on the most prominent rumors of the time, and might not necessarily be links to genuine leaks from official sources — in fact, statements from leaker Ben Geskin point to the design staying the same, with just the addition of a glass back.
I have to say, that my main source is saying that SE2 will have the same design (and display) as the first SE, but with a glass back.
— Ben Geskin (@VenyaGeskin1) May 10, 2018
There are other whispers that back up the iPhone SE 2 retaining the Touch ID button. That report also states the back panel would see a switch to glass, rather than the original SE’s metal, which would put it in line with the other recent iPhones. While we were unsure about the addition of wireless charging to the iPhone SE 2, 9to5Mac is reporting the feature will be included on Apple’s upcoming budget phone. Possible leaked images of the iPhone SE 2 from 9to5Mac also show the phone will retain its 3.5mm headphone jack, which is contrary to a another recent rumor.
The iPhone SE wasn’t made to be a technical showcase, and has a modest set of specifications. Will Apple continue that trend with the iPhone SE2? According to Digitimes, the iPhone SE 2 is predicted to have a glass back to support wireless charging, but won’t have 3D-sensing capabilities.
Tekz24 also reports the phone will come with wireless charging, and adds that the phone may have Apple’s A10 Fusion chip, 2GB of RAM, and options for either 32GB or 128GB of storage. The inclusion of the A10 chip has also been backed up by Macotakara, so it’s highly likely we’ll be seeing this processor. The rear-facing camera will reportedly have 12 megapixels, while the front-facing camera will sit at 5 megapixels.
Updated on June 19: Added rumors that the iPhone SE 2 no longer exists.