Sun. May 19th, 2024

Acording to a leak via Liandr (@TechLiandr) on X, Details of Apple’s upcoming iPhone SE update have appeared on Weibo in China, along with an image. Most of the details line up with what’s expected, with a few exceptions.

Looking much like the iPhone 12-14 but with a single camera, the device is said to feature a 6.1” 60hz OLED display from BOE, an A16 Bionic, 48mp main camera with Optical Image Stablilisation and a 12mp FaceTime selfie camera, a Type C connector, old school notch as opposed to the current Dynamic island, Bluetooth 5.3 and an IP68 rating, with an expected $499 price point and a release date in Q1 of 2025.

So I have to say, there’s a few red flags here. The design all sounds right, along with the display. We’ve heard recently that Apple was trying to drive down Samsung on the panel price to sub $30, so using BOE to provide these makes sense. It would have done regardless, as Samsung are generally providing Apple’s more advanced displays for the Pro models, with their dynamic framerate ProMotion displays, as opposed to budget options. None the less, nice for the SE to get its first upgrade from LCD to OLED. About time.

Similarly, the cameras sound about right, a single rear sensor makes sense, but make it a good one so you have flexibility to crop in for optical zoom and the like. The two big issues I take are first, the chip. In every previous SE, Apple has used the current flagship chip, just around 6 months after being introduced for the main iPhone line.

A16 Bionic arrived with iPhone 14, and if the release date is accurate would be a three year old chip when it lands. Unlikely I think. The main reason for that is also that people buying these budget phones are likely concious of how long they will be useable for, more so than people running out to get the latest and greatest. The SE is often the choice of businesses too for field sales teams too, which means they’re not looking for lack lustre performance and short life expectancy. 

The second is the lack of Dynamic island, now that it’s in the base iPhone models, Apple is likely to have more developers taking advantage of live activities, and it’s probably not super expensive to make happen vs the notch. Dynamic island is rapidly becoming iconic of the iPhone lineup, so it would make sense to add that consistency.

I’m also not convinced it will take Apple until next year to bring a new SE. The previous versions came in 2016, 2020 and 2022, all in March or April though, so unless they get a surprise release in the Autumn, 2025 may be accurate. but would you consider an iPhone SE with these specs for $499?