As we all anxiously wait for Tuesday’s unveiling of the iPhone 11, the rumors are already pouring in about next year’s phones. Today’s isn’t about the iPhone 12, however. It’s about the little phone that won’t go away: the iPhone SE.
Apple may have retired the iPhone SE with the launch of the iPhone XS last year, but a Nikkei Asian Review report claims it will be coming back. According to the publication’s sources, Apple is planning to launch a lower-cost iPhone in spring 2020 to help bolster sales in the face of strong competition from Huawei and Samsung.
Apple debuted the 4-inch iPhone SE in 2016 alongside the iPhone 6s as a lower-cost and smaller-screened alternative to the 4.8- and 5.5-inch models. Since then, iPhones have only gotten bigger and more expensive, and people who want an iPhone that costs less than $750 need to buy an older model.
That was the original point of the SE: offering newer specs in an older package. At the time it was launched, the iPhone SE had the body of an iPhone 5 and the guts of an iPhone 6s for about half the price. Nikkei says the new model would take a similar tack: “The size of the new model will be similar to the 4.7-inch iPhone 8 that was introduced in 2017, three sources said. The model will share most of the same components with the flagship iPhones this year, and it will feature the lower-cost liquid crystal display that will help Apple achieve the lower starting price-tag.”
Since the report doesn’t say whether the new model would have a home button or Face ID, we don’t know what the design of the phone would look like. It’s also been rumored that Apple is working on an in-display fingerprint sensor like Samsung’s phones as an alternative to facial recognition.
Nikkei also notes that the name and price of the new model hasn’t been settled.
Analysts Ming-Chi Ku previously reported that Apple would be shaking up its 2020 iPhone lineup with three new sizes‚—6.7-inch, 5.4-inch, and 6.1-inch—all of which will come with OLED displays. A 4.8-inch LCD iPhone would fit in nicely at the bottom of that lineup, offering consumers an extra choice.
Michael Simon has been covering Apple since the iPod was the iWalk. His obsession with technology goes back to his first PC—the IBM Thinkpad with the lift-up keyboard for swapping out the drive. He's still waiting for that to come back in style tbh.