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iPhone SE 3 launch date gets closer as production gets underway soon

iPhone SE 3 concept
(Image credit: Apple Lab)

If you were looking forward to the iPhone SE 3, we've got some good news — it's progressing toward a launch early next year. But if you were hoping for a different-looking phone from the iPhone SE 2020, you could be disappointed.

The next Apple budget phone is about to enter trial production, according to MyDrivers, which cites sources within the Apple supply chain. As you may have guessed from the name, trial production is still a testing phase of a new product's design. It comes before mass production begins, which means there is still a bit of a wait before we see a new iPhone SE that's ready to debut. This is still a strong sign of progress however.

The MyDrivers report claims that the mold for the phone remains the same as the current model, which means we'll still get a phone with a 4.7-inch display and a Touch ID home button. But the camera sensor has appeared to change, which hopefully means we'll see upgrades like support fo night mode photography. Reports suggest that there will still only be one sensor on the back, though, rather than the more typical two or three found on mid-range phones.

We are expecting the new phone to cost around $400 like its predecessor. It will however likely get a new chipset to keep it ahead of the Android competitors, possibly the iPhone 13's A15 chip that would provide the iPhone SE with 5G compatibility. MyDrivers also reports there could be an increase in RAM from 3GB to 4GB.

It's unclear where this leaves rumors of the iPhone SE Plus. While a larger redesigned SE (possibly based on the iPhone XR) is expected in 2024, and another SE is expected before that in 2023, it's claimed that this new model could still be called the Plus, even if it is the same size as before.

The expected launch date for the iPhone SE we are getting will be toward the end of the first three months of 2022, rumors suggest. That likely means a March launch, a little earlier than the April debut the last iPhone SE received in 2020.

Richard Priday

Richard is a Tom's Guide staff writer based in London, covering news, reviews and how-tos for phones, gaming, audio and whatever else people need advice on. 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.