After months of will-they-or-won’t-they speculation on whether Apple would ever update the iPhone SE, regulatory filings suggest a new model could be just around the corner.
The Eurasian Economic Commission, a regulatory body that approves devices for sale in five countries (including Russia), just added 11 iPhone models to its database. The EEC, which in the past has spilled the beans on AirPods, the iPhone 7 and the newest iPad, didn’t offer any information about the devices beyond “smartphone running iOS 11.”
That means a new iPhone could be launched as early as May. With that timeframe, it’s unlikely that the new models are flagship iPhones, which are typically announced in September. That leaves the iPhone 2, which hasn't really seen a substantive update since its initial launch in 2016.
The 2-year-old, 4-inch, $349 iPhone SE is overdue for an upgrade. It’s the smallest and cheapest iPhone that Apple makes, and the device has been popular with buyers for both reasons. Rumors of an SE with an iPhone X-like notch and glass back for wireless charging have run rampant, but reputable analyst Ming-Chu Kuo put the kibosh on that speculation, noting that Apple doesn’t have the resources to redesign the SE this year, given that it's reportedly planning to roll out three new iPhones this fall.
Even without a substantial redesign, the iPhone SE could certainly benefit from a specs bump. We'd like to see either an A10 Fusion or A11 Bionic processor replacing the aging A9 chipset in the current phone. Upgrades to the cameras would also be welcome.