In a surprise reversal, iPhone SE 4 development is reportedly underway, with the rumored affordable Apple phone tipped to get a larger OLED display as well as a 5G chip designed in-house by Cupertino.
That’s according to Apple analyst Ming Chi-Kuo who tweeted that Apple has “restarted the iPhone SE 4” after the analyst had claimed work on that phone was put on pause at the end of 2022.
This would be a change in fortune for the SE line, as it was previously rumored that Apple may have canceled the more affordable iPhone after poor sales of the iPhone SE 2022. However, going by the rumors so far, the next-generation iPhone SE looks set for a 2024 reveal, which would stick to the release cadence of every two years established by the iPhone SE 2020.
(1/10)[Update] Apple has restarted the iPhone SE 4 and will adopt an in-house 5G baseband chip. The significant decline in Qualcomm's Apple orders in the foreseeable future is a foregone conclusion. https://t.co/0MeZDFnbzgFebruary 27, 2023
An OLED display would be a significant upgrade from the LCD screens of previous iPhone SE models, offering a more colorful and potentially brighter panel than the current iPhone SE.
Kuo also noted that the SE 4 would be a “minor modification” of the current 6.1-inch iPhone 14. Renders of the iPhone SE 4 have shown off a design that’s a lot like the iPhone 14 only with curved sides; just take such renders with a pinch of skepticism.
More significantly, if Kuo’s claims are on the money, the iPhone SE 4 will be the first iPhone to have a 5G modem designed by Apple and based on a 4-nanometer process node. However, what’s curious here is Kuo reckons the chip will only support the sub-6GHz spectrum rather than the faster but less widespread millimeter wave frequencies. Nevertheless, this would mark a departure for Apple from using Qualcomm’s modem chips, and such changes could pave the way for future iPhones to use Apple-designed modems (if not the iPhone 15, which is set to debut this fall with a Qualcomm-supplied modem).
Other specs for the iPhone SE 4 remain more open to speculation. We’d expect there to be an upgraded A-series chip, potentially the A16 Bionic if the phone ships next year, and to have storage that starts at more than 64GB of memory. Improved cameras would also be welcome, especially the addition of a night mode, which was a rather large omission in the iPhone SE 2022.
With a new design, there could be a concern that the iPhone SE 4 would be more expensive than its predecessors, which came in at the $400 mark in 2020. The SE 3 jumped up to $430, but that’s still a competitive price for an iPhone. We only hope Apple can keep the next iPhone SE below $500 so it remains competitive with affordable Android phones.
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Roland Moore-Colyer a Managing Editor at Tom’s Guide with a focus on news, features and opinion articles. He often writes about gaming, phones, laptops and other bits of hardware; he’s also got an interest in cars. When not at his desk Roland can be found wandering around London, often with a look of curiosity on his face.