iPhone SE 3 tipped for early 2022 launch with A14 Bionic power

iPhone SE concept
An iPhone SE 3 concept (Image credit: Svetapple.SK)

The iPhone SE is a rarity among phones. Not only is it a cheap handset, it also offers all the best things about owning an iPhone — albeit with a few minor sacrifices.

The only question is when will the iPhone SE 3 arrive? DigiTimes Asia reports that the next iPhone SE might arrive sometime in the first half of 2022.

DigiTimes’ sources also claim that the upcoming phone will run on the A14 Bionic chipset, the same as the ones found in the iPhone 12 range. But beyond that, and the alleged release date, they didn’t reveal much else of what the iPhone SE 3 might include. 

The report cites anonymous supply chain sources who claim orders for the iPhone SE 3 will create new business for "chip probing specialists." Chip probing is part of a quality testing phase of production, and DigiTimes reports that this could be done by Xintec. 

Xintect is a subsidiary of Apple chip maker TSMC, and provided a number of components for the original iPhone SE and second generation iPhone SE 2020.

While DigiTimes does have a lot of sources within Apple’s supply chain, there’s only so much stake we can put into this report. It is, after all, completely unverified by Apple, and is likely to stay that way until the company is ready to launch the rumored iPhone SE 3. Though it does match up with a report from noted Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo from earlier this year; Kuo said to expect the next iPhone SE in early 2022. 

There were rumors that a new iPhone SE could be launched this year. But those have died down, suggesting 2022 will now be the earliest we'll see a new budget iPhone. That would seem logical given the fall is rapidly approaching and that's set to be the time Apple will supposedly reveal the iPhone 13 range, which is sure to be its main phone focus of 2021. 

What can we expect from the iPhone SE 3?

But what can we expect from the iPhone SE 3? The iPhone SE 2020 is something more akin to the iPhone 11, hiding inside an iPhone 8 design. 

So if the iPhone SE 3 is coming next year, we might well expect some of the hardware used in the iPhone 12, including 5G connectivity, but with the look of an older model. Fan-made renders have shown the phone taking some cues from the iPhone XR

That would depend on whether Apple wanted to keep the iPhone SE’s small form factor, since the XR is noticeably bigger than the iPhone SE 2020 and packs in a 6.1-inch display as a result.

Whatever happens, we hope that the iPhone SE 3 still manages to include Touch ID. An under-display fingerprint sensor is unlikely, especially since such a sensor hasn’t debuted on flagship iPhones yet, but a power-button Touch ID sensor might be. After all, such a feature is already available on the new iPad Air.

Given how little we’ve heard about the iPhone SE 3, there’s no telling what Apple might actually do. Just don’t go expecting brand flagship-tier specs; that’s not what the iPhone SE is about.

Tom Pritchard
UK Phones Editor

Tom is the Tom's Guide's UK Phones Editor, tackling the latest smartphone news and vocally expressing his opinions about upcoming features or changes. It's long way from his days as editor of Gizmodo UK, when pretty much everything was on the table. He’s usually found trying to squeeze another giant Lego set onto the shelf, draining very large cups of coffee, or complaining about how terrible his Smart TV is.