All eyes are on the iPhone 14, which is slated to be unveiled at Apple’s Far Out event next week and will be the company’s most important launch of the year. But a new rumor suggests that Apple is also plotting the next direction for its cheaper iPhone SE line.
YouTube leaker Jon Prosser, who has a mixed record of predictions but has made a number of impressively accurate calls in the past, has claimed on the Geared Up podcast (via AppleTrack) that the next version of the SE will leave behind the iPhone 8 chassis used on the SE 3 earlier this year and move on to a full-screen design for the first time.
More specifically, Prosser says, the fourth-gen SE will use the outer case and external design of the iPhone XR. Given that the XR was released back in 2018 and the SE 4 won’t be here until 2023 at the absolute earliest (and likely not until spring 2024), that might not sound like much of a step forward. But the iPhone SE handsets have always represented a compromise in the name of cost, combining up-to-date tech specs with old-fashioned design for a lower price tag, and it sounds like that isn’t about to change.
Still, the upgrade from iPhone 8 to XR chassis is significant because it will finally see the departure of the Home button from the iPhone range.
The Home button has been an iconic and instantly recognisable part of iPhone history since the very first model in 2007. Apple first released an iPhone without a Home button in 2017, replacing it with the notch and swapping Touch ID for Face ID facial recognition, but has continued to sell cheaper handsets with the old button. Prosser says the updated iPhone SE would use Face ID rather than a Touch ID-embedded power button like on the iPad mini and iPad Air.
The timing of Prosser’s prediction is interesting, given that Apple is strongly tipped to launch its first post-notch iPhone on September 7. (The iPhone 14 Pro is expected to feature a “hole + pill” pair of apertures instead of a notch; the vanilla 14 will still be notched.) It could be taken as a pointed reminder that the SE line is a long way behind the flagship models as they are tipped to adopt the notch design just as it becomes outdated.
We will have to wait and see if Prosser has got this one right, and there is likely to be a long wait until the next iPhone SE. Given that the three models so far have appeared in 2016, 2020 and 2022, it would take a bold pundit to predict the fourth model appearing this side of 2024. But whenever it arrives, it looks like the Home button’s days are now numbered. Rumors also say the 10th-generation iPad will be losing the Home button with the upcoming refresh.