Rumors about the status of the iPhone SE 4 from analyst Ming-Chi Kuo paint a grim picture of what could have been the phone's biggest upgrade.
Kuo had said before the next iPhone SE would be based on the iPhone 14, which would be a huge leap forward from the current iPhone 8-derived iPhone SE 2022. Now though, Kuo believes that this iPhone 14-based unit is just a prototype designed for testing Apple's in-house 5G modem, and won't be mass-produced and sold.
The silver lining to this is that the 5G modem, which could bring various enhancements depending on what Apple focuses on, could arrive on iPhones by 2025 or 2026. The next iPhone SE will also come in 2025 at the earliest, Kuo adds.
Analysts are divided
This goes against what fellow analyst Jeff Pu said in a recent investor note on the topic. He claimed that the iPhone SE 4 would arrive in 2025, using the Apple 5G chip. It's possible that Pu's basing his claims on the same incorrect assumption that Kuo did, but Pu didn't mention the iPhone 14 link, which perhaps means he used alternative sources of information to draw his conclusions.
If the development of the iPhone SE 4 is indeed on pause, as Kuo's retraction seems to suggest, that could mean a longer-than-expected wait for it to replace the current iPhone SE 2022. That model came out just two years after the previous iPhone SE 2020, which seemed to indicate a faster update cadence for Apple's budget iPhone.
That said, there was a gap of four years between the original iPhone SE and the iPhone SE 2020, so perhaps Apple's returning to this original rhythm, with users seeking cheaper iPhones encouraged to buy older models like the iPhone 13 or iPhone 12 instead.
We like the iPhone SE 2022 for the software features and computing power that it offers, even compared to other Android rivals on the best cheap phones list. But a rework that brings the phone's display, cameras, battery and body up to the standard of the other best iPhones can't come soon enough.