iPhone SE 4 could get this surprise display upgrade

Unofficial renders of the iPhone SE 4
(Image credit: Jon Prosser/Ian Zelbo)

We thought we had a handle on the iPhone SE 4 thanks to recent comprehensive leaks. But a new one suggests that things may not be so neatly wrapped up yet.

According to Ross Young, CEO of Display Supply Chain Consultants and a reliable source of smartphone display info, in Super Followers-only tweet (opens in new tab), Apple is still undecided on what screen to use on the next budget iPhone, and is looking into several display options from multiple suppliers.

The existing rumors say the next iPhone SE will be based on the iPhone XR from 2018, which came with a 6.1-inch LCD display, but use a more recent A15 or A16 Bionic chipset. That same display seems to be under consideration, but Young also says Apple is looking into smaller LCD screens too, as small as 5.7 inches. A screen of that size would make the iPhone SE 4 the smallest full-screen iPhone since the iPhone 13 mini, but would also mean a big redesign to the phone to support the smaller panel. And since Apple has not made hardware upgrades to previous iPhone SE models outside of updating their chipsets, it feels unlikely that it would rework the display.

Most excitingly, Young claims Apple is investigating 6.1-inch OLED displays for the iPhone SE 4 as well. This would be a big upgrade over an equivalent LCD thanks to OLED panels' increased power efficiency and more accurate colors. However, as before, Apple has not made changes of this magnitude to previous SE models. Changing the underlying display technology but keeping the same size does sound like a more reasonable upgrade to us than a new size altogether, even if we still think the most likely outcome is that the Cupertino phone maker doesn't change the screen at all.

Young also mentions that this new iPhone SE likely won't arrive until 2024 (opens in new tab). That would fit with the current two-year refresh cycle for the iPhone SE set by the most recent iPhone SE 2022 model. But that would be a long wait if you want a cheap iPhone that doesn't use a five-year-old design, even if it does have a monstrously powerful 5G-ready chipset inside. 

If you're after a cheap iPhone right now though, you can still buy the iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 mini easily and at a slight discount from their 2021 launch prices. Equally, you can always hang on for this year's Black Friday deals and Cyber Monday deals, where we're likely to see retailers and mobile carriers offer some tempting discounts on Apple gear, including iPhones of all varieties.

Richard Priday
Staff Writer

Richard is a Tom's Guide staff writer based in London, covering news, reviews and how-tos for phones, tablets, gaming, 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.