Although Apple seems to go dark during the winter months, the company is reportedly hard at work on several new products for 2022. And while we’re still a few months away from the company’s spring event, everyone is talking about the rumored third-gen iPhone SE.
Keep in mind Apple does not share details about upcoming hardware, so there’s a good likelihood the company will throw us a few curveballs. That said, rumors, supply chain chatter, historical trends, and analyst reports help paint a picture of what’s to come. Here’s everything we think we know about the iPhone SE 2022.
What Will the iPhone SE 3 Look Like?
iPhone SE 2020 (right) and iPhone 11 (left) (Photo: Sascha Segan)
The iPhone SE 3 will reportedly look like the 2020 iPhone SE, which resembles the iPhone 8, measures 5.45 by 2.65 by 0.29 inches (HWD), and weighs 5.22 ounces. (There’s a chance the measurement and weight will change slightly to accommodate the 5G modem and antennas.) While there were some early reports saying Apple would use the iPhone 11’s form factor, Apple analysts Ming-Chi Kuo and Ross Young say there’s no merit to the rumors.
The front of the phone will have a 4.7-inch LCD panel, MacRumors reports. We wouldn’t be surprised to see Apple bump the display up to 1080p, but details are scant. As with its predecessor, expect the upcoming iPhone SE to have a large bottom bezel and Touch ID button.
We expect it will have the same Qi wireless charging as the second-gen iPhone SE, but there’s a chance Apple could add MagSafe to the mix.
Durability should be good as well, but maybe not quite on par with the latest iPhone flagships. The current iPhone SE is rated IP67 (can be 1 meter underwater for up to 30 minutes) versus IP68 (6 meters up to 30 minutes) on the iPhone 13 lineup.
What Type of Hardware Will the iPhone SE 3 Have?
The iPhone SE 3 is rumored to have the same A15 chipset used on Apple’s iPhone 13 lineup, according to Nikkei (other, less reliable sources suggest the A14). That’s not a big surprise since the iPhone SE 2020 also had a then-flagship SoC. And it means Apple’s upcoming budget phone will likely pack more raw power than some of the newest Android flagships.
With an upgraded chipset, you should expect the usual perks: NFC for Apple Pay, Wi-Fi 6, and Bluetooth 5.0. And while the last-gen iPhone SE was missing a U1 chip for ultra-wideband connectivity, we’d be shocked if it doesn’t appear on its successor.
Rumors are split on whether the third-gen iPhone SE will still have 3GB of RAM, or bump it up to 4GB, but either should be enough for most users. As for storage, the iPhone SE 2020 is currently available with 64GB or 128GB of space. Apple stopped making a 256GB iPhone SE last year, which Ars Technica suggests may have been to push buyers toward the iPhone 13 mini.
Will the iPhone SE 3 Have 5G?
Yes! 5G will be one of the iPhone SE 3’s major selling points. The phone will reportedly pack an external Qualcomm X60 5G, a flagship modem that’s capable of speeds at 7.5Gbps down and 3Gbps up. It also has 800MHz of mmWave bandwidth and 200MHz of bandwidth on sub-6GHz.
We expect to see Qualcomm Snapdragon 480+ 5G or Qualcomm 695 5G SoCs on most midrange Android phones in 2022. Both chipsets pack a Qualcomm X51 modem, capable of 2.5Gbps down and 1.5Gbps up. Bandwidth comes in at 200MHz and 100MHz, respectively.
How Much Will the iPhone SE 3 Cost?
Analysts and reporters say Apple will keep the iPhone SE’s price at $399, but don’t be surprised if it comes in higher. Although the iPhone SE 3 doesn’t look any different from its predecessor, there’s a lot going on under the hood. For starters, the phone’s 5nm process A15 chipset, external 5G modem, and mmWave antennas add to the bottom line. Sure, some of the components are less expensive than they were on the last-gen iPhone SE, but it’s hard to see Apple cutting its manufacturing costs on the iPhone SE 3.
But add that to the component shortage (though TSMC has budgeted up to $44 billion to boost chip production this year), recent factory shutdowns in China, extended warehousing costs, and exponentially higher shipping costs, and there’s a good chance a $399 iPhone SE 3 could cut Apple’s margins. It could easily decide to price the phone between $449 and $469.
Still, there’s a chance Apple will be flexible on the price since the iPhone SE 3 has the potential to be one of its best-selling products. Analysts at JP Morgan Chase estimate the updated SE could attract “nearly 1.4 billion low- to mid-end Android phone and about 300 million older iPhone model users,” Reuters reports.
When Will the iPhone SE 3 Be Released?
Apple typically makes its first product announcements in the spring. Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman reports Apple will announce the iPhone SE 3 in March or April. Due to protracted issues with the supply chain, we believe Apple will announce the product in late March, and it will be available in stores in mid-April.