The iPhone SE 4 is reportedly getting a big downgrade and it's all thanks to Samsung

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

The iPhone SE 4 is rumored to be moving from an LCD display to a larger and better OLED one. But reporting from ZDNet Korea (via IT Home) may have revealed a possible issue with this.

As ZDNet Korea's industry source tells it, the next-gen iPhone SE's screen won't be supplied by Samsung Display, which pulled its offer to make the screens because of "price issues." Namely that it wanted more than Apple was seemingly willing to pay per unit. This is no great loss to Apple, the source adds, since it's trying to become less dependent on displays made by Samsung.

That apparently left Apple with two suppliers to choose from. And since one of the remaining candidates — Tianma — has yet to convince Apple it can make displays to a high-enough standard, it looks as if BOE will end up as the single builder of iPhone SE displays.

It's an interesting choice for Apple to make since the iPhone SE 4's screen is apparently based on that of the iPhone 13 and iPhone 14, which Samsung Display originally built. BOE will instead have to develop its processes for making these displays from scratch, and won't be able to rely on the help of another component maker if things go wrong. While in terms of specs there won't be a drop in quality with Apple going with BOE instead of Samsung, we could see other issues start to creep in, or potential shortages if BOE can't produce enough good-quality displays to meet orders.

iPhone SE 2022 home screen front

The iPhone SE 2022's display (Image credit: Future)

The rumor mill asserts that the iPhone SE 4 will replace the iPhone 8-based iPhone SE 2022 with a more modern design, tipped to be based on the iPhone 14. This would move the iPhone SE series to a home button-less design with Face ID and a larger battery, but with a single rear camera instead of two like standard flagship iPhones.

We can apparently expect the iPhone SE 4 to arrive next year, which is a bit far off if you were hoping to move phones soon. We have the iPhone 16 and iPhone 16 Pro to look forward to in the meantime, plus a guide to the best cheap phones you can already buy today if you need an upgrade on the double.

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Richard Priday
Assistant Phones Editor

Richard is 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.