When the iPhone SE launched in 2020, it marked a triumphant return to “budget” iPhones, with a handset that cost just $399 and a powerful processor as well as an excellent camera. The rumors of the next update were even more exciting, with the adoption of an all-screen design that dumped the home button once and for all.
Now it looks like that might not happen. According to Ming-Chi Kuo, who has a fantastic track record, Apple “will likely cancel or postpone the mass production plan for the 2024 iPhone SE 4.” The phone was on track to release in the spring of 2024 following the same two-year cadence of the current iPhone SE.
Kuo blames the move on “lower-than-expected shipments of mid-to-low-end iPhones,” including the iPhone SE 3, iPhone 13 mini, and iPhone 14 Plus, as well as “concerns that the full-screen design of the SE 4 will lead to an increase in higher costs/selling prices.” The iPhone SE 4 has been rumored to have a new design that borrowed heavily from the iPhone XR, eliminating the home button and potentially adopting more modern features, including Face ID, an OLED display, more storage, and an upgraded camera.
We’ve heard for years that Apple’s lower-end iPhones don’t sell as well as its high-priced Pro phones, but it was presumed that the SE line was popular enough. However, Kuo’s report suggests that the SE isn’t a big seller despite costing hundreds less than an iPhone 14. Assuming the report is true, it’s likely that Apple keeps the current iPhone SE around for a bit longer before discontinuing the entire line.
The report adds that “reducing unnecessary new product development expenses will also help the company navigate the challenges of the global economic recession in 2023.” Apple introduced numerous new products in 2022, including the Mac Studio, the Apple Watch Ultra, and the 10th-gen iPad, and is rumored to launch several more in 2023, with an AR headset leading the way.