Expecting an iPhone SE 2? We've Got Bad News

Senior Editor
Updated

If you were counting on a new iPhone SE arriving this spring, maybe it's time to start making alternative plans. A leading Apple analyst says that Apple's resources may be stretched too thin to come out with a successor to its tiniest iPhone.

Credit: Tom's GuideCredit: Tom's GuideThat's according to analyst Ming-Chi Kuo of KGI Securities, who's developed a following based on his connections to Apple's supply chain. In a Kuo research note obtained by MacRumors, the analyst suggests that Apple is putting its resources into a trio of new iPhones that will launch later in 2018.

We've heard about Apple's planned iPhone triple threat before, both from Kuo and other reports coming out of Asia. In this rumored scenario, Apple would release three phones in the fall — a successor to the iPhone X with a larger 6.5-inch screen, a revamped version of the 5.8-inch iPhone X, and a 6.1-inch phone with compromises like an LCD screen to keep the price in the range of the $699 iPhone 8.

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That's going to consume a lot of Apple's internal resources, Kuo says — so much so that an iPhone SE successor appears to be the odd phone out. "With three new models in the pipeline for the second half of 2018, we believe Apple may have used up its development resources," Kuo says in a portion of the note published by MacRumors.

Kuo's analysis seems to be heavily based on Apple's rollout of the iPhone 8, 8 Plus and X in 2017. That's another instance where Apple introduced three new phones, but ended up staggering the iPhone X's debut. Kuo suggests that Apple wants to avoid that kind of delay in 2018.

If Kuo's correct, the lack of a new iPhone SE would be bad news for a few reasons. For starters, it leaves fans of compact phones without much of a choice, since the smallest phone Apple will introduce this year would have a 5.8-inch display. Presumably, Apple would continue to offer the 4.7-inch iPhone 8, but that would feature older components.

No new iPhone SE would also mean fewer low-cost options for iPhone fans — or at least what passes for low cost in Apple's ecosystem. The current iPhone SE sells for $349, which is half the cost of an iPhone 8. Even if Apple follows form and cuts the price on its 2017 phones once the new models arrive this fall, you still won't find a phone in its lineup that costs as little as the iPhone SE does.

Previous iPhone SE 2 rumors suggested the new compact phone would debut in May or June, offering a new glass back to support wireless charging. Otherwise, the phone was expected to offer specs a step or two behind Apple's current flagship phones in exchange for a lower price tag.