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iPhone SE 3 could be called iPhone SE Plus 5G — but it might be worth waiting a year

iPhone SE 2020
(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

Apple typically likes simple names for its products, but that could be about to change with the iPhone SE 3 — a new rumor claims it may actually be called the iPhone SE Plus 5G. What's more, the same rumor reckons that there could be another iPhone SE model as early as next year, and that this one would be the iPhone SE 4.

Confused? This comes from Ross Young, display analyst and Twitter leaker. It's not the first time we've heard him call this year's new budget iPhone by a name we didn't expect, as he's previously said the new SE will be officially called the iPhone SE Plus. However now he's added a "5G" to that name. 

There's been an argument that Apple could call the new SE the iPhone SE 5G before, with Young previously saying he "wouldn't be surprised" if Apple used this moniker. However, for the time being he's stuck with both of these potential names combined into one.

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So, according to Young's tweet, this year we'll see an iPhone SE Plus 5G, not an iPhone SE 3. He also claims it will come with a 4.7-inch display — the same size screen as that on the current iPhone SE — but with 5G compatibility. 

The latter will no doubt come in the form of a newer Apple chipset, likely the A15 Bionic from the iPhone 13 series. That chip should also provide a big performance boost, keeping the iPhone SE way ahead of any comparably priced Android rivals in the best cheap phones segment. And it should also offer other advantages including a greater battery life and enhanced photography.

Based on various rumors about the device, the 2022 iPhone SE is expected to look a lot like the current SE, with large bezels and a Touch ID home button. It will likely only have one rear camera, too, which while no doubt capable of good photos, would be limited in ability compared to the multiple lenses found on most cheap Android handsets.

The fourth-gen iPhone SE, meanwhile, which has already been rumored to arrive either in 2023 or 2024, is the next big update for the phone, Young claims. It'll use either a 5.7-inch or 6.1-inch display (Young reckons most likely the former) and, depending on what price Apple gets from its suppliers, the screen could be OLED instead of the existing LCD.

The next iPhone SE, whatever it may be called, is tipped for a reveal in just a few months. Apple usually holds a spring product event around March or April, so that's probably where we'll see the new iPhone SE, rather than in the fall launch period that we expect the iPhone 14.

Richard is a Tom's Guide staff writer based in London, covering news, reviews and how-tos for phones, gaming, audio and whatever else people need advice on. Following on from his MA in Magazine Journalism at the University of Sheffield, he's also written for WIRED U.K., The Register and Creative Bloq. When not at work, he's likely thinking about how to brew the perfect cup of specialty coffee.