iPhone SE 3 could be ready by early 2022, analyst says

iPhone SE 3 concept
(Image credit: Apple Lab)

While we're all excited about the upcoming iPhone 13, it shouldn't surprise you that Apple is already thinking ahead to 2022 and beyond. Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, about whom we've talked many times, claims that the trillion-dollar company plans to release its third-generation iPhone SE in early 2022. 

Kuo claims that the iPhone SE 3 will share the same form factor as the current iPhone SE, but include 5G and an upgraded A-series processor. As such, he expects this to be the cheapest 5G iPhone, which would make sense. Right now, the cheapest 5G iPhone is the iPhone 12 mini starting at $699.

Other than that, Kuo doesn't provide much more about the upcoming SE refresh. We expect that Apple will likely surprise us again like it did with the second-gen model that came out in 2020. 

We've heard other rumors about the next iPhone SE, even suggestions that there will be an iPhone SE Plus. We're sure that an affordable big screen iPhone would be quite popular. However, we've also heard that there will be a non-Pro iPhone 14 with a large display, so that could be this so-called iPhone SE Plus. Only Apple knows at this point.

Apple seems to be happy with the sales of the iPhone SE (2020), and recent rumors have suggested that the company has put off releasing a follow-up to keep capitalizing on current sales. This makes a lot of sense.

Neither Kuo nor other trusted sources have revealed information on what specs Apple plans to pack into the iPhone SE 3, so the jury is still out on that. We can wager our guesses, however — it's possible that the iPhone SE 3 will have the same processor as the flagship iPhones released just before it. That's what happened with both previous iPhone SE iterations. In the case of an iPhone SE, that would mean the A15 Bionic chip slated for this fall's iPhone 13 rollout. But that's a guess at this point.

The current iPhone SE is an excellent phone and the best price-to-performance mobile device currently available. Not only that, but it will enjoy years of software support from Apple, a huge leg up over similarly-priced Android phones. 

Don't expect Apple to talk about the iPhone SE 3 at its iPhone 13 event later this year. Early 2022 isn't that far away.

Jordan Palmer
Phones Editor

Jordan is the Phones Editor for Tom's Guide, covering all things phone-related. He's written about phones for over six years and plans to continue for a long while to come. He loves nothing more than relaxing in his home with a book, game, or his latest personal writing project. Jordan likes finding new things to dive into, from books and games to new mechanical keyboard switches and fun keycap sets. Outside of work, you can find him poring over open-source software and his studies.