But that’s not to say the insides are anywhere as dated: much of the hardware is similar to the iPhone 6S from late 2015.
Apple realised post-iPhone 6 that there was no iOS alternative to those who wanted to get a new mid-range phone with a smaller screen and decided there was still a sizeable market for a smaller handset.
Of course, this isn't just an Apple thing; there have long been plenty of smaller Android phones.
Apple has updated the iPhone SE in the interim, bumping the 16 and 64 GB memory options up to 32 and 128 GB in March 2017. That said, we’ve been expecting a new version of the iPhone SE for a little while now.
Part of this is because Apple has binned the home button on the iPhone X so it stands to reason that this change will eventually come to other iPhones. There’s also no getting away from the fact the design now looks aged.
iPhone SE 2: Release date
- Expected in the summer
- Alongside other Apple revisions?
It's been two years since the iPhone SE and iPad Pro 9.7 appeared (since replaced last year by the iPad Pro 10.5) and a year since the iPhone SE got bigger storage options. Naturally, with such an anniversary, rumours have been swirling about an iPhone SE2 release date during the next few months.
Apple has form for doing other Spring to mid-year product launches – last year’s new iPad was announced in March, as was the Product (Red) iPhone 7 and the original new MacBook (which had a 10 April release date).
The Economic Daily News cites sources saying the iPhone SE 2 could launch in the first half of 2018 for $450. If that's at all true, it will need to launch soon!
According to filings pulled from the Eurasian Economic Commission (EEC) database, which were spotted by French website Consomac, Apple has a bunch of unreleased iPhone models with the model numbers A1920, A1921, A1984, A2097, A2098, A2099, A2101, A2103, A2104, A2105, and A2106. These model numbers do not correspond to Apple's existing smartphones.
iPhone SE 2: Design
- Design based on iPhone 8?
- Unlikely it will use Face ID because of cost
Could iPhone X point the way to the new iPhone SE? Well, possibly. But we think it more likely it would be a slightly shrunken version of the current iPhone 8 design, so it will have Touch ID. This tallies with April 2018 rumours from Japanese blog Macotakara.
Those rumours also suggest a major design change - the lack of a headphone jack. We're used to seeing headphone jacks disappear in flagship handsets but not necessarily in mid-range phones so we're not really buying thta one. There may be waterproofing though.
Rumours suggesting the new iPhone SE will arrive with a notch and Face ID are still circling, although for it to remain budget (in Apple terms at least) we would be genuinely surprised if Apple removed the Touch ID home button in favour of facial recognition.
Case maker Olixar has released a render supposedly based on specifications it's been given, and it shows a notch design. We don't think this particular iPhone SE rumor is true.
This video also suggested the iPhone SE2 design would be more like the iPhone X, though we think this unlikely.
This video - that surfaced in late April 2018 - suggested that the new iPhone SE will have almost the same design but with one key difference; a glass back for Qi wireless charging. The headphone jack remains.
This came via Weibo and could easily be a fake, but it's very interesting that it is the back that is different - this is the most believable leak yet in our eyes.
In May it emerged that Mac Otakara has obtained more information from a glass supply source, that says Apple is still testing three types of glass for the SE 2. However, all three share the same traits, in that there are "no Touch ID holes and their upper portion are cut into the shape of TrueDepth cameras [aka the notch]."
We still believe it's more likely Apple will keep a similar design to the current iPhone SE but upgrade the internals and camera and give it that aforementioned glass back for wireless charging.
iPhone SE 2: Display
- Current display retained?
Rumours suggest that the iPhone SE will retain its current, enormously popular, smaller screen size of 4-inches.
A small size bump is possible, though the 326ppi retina display we first saw in the iPhone 5 remains enormously clear and crisp even if its 1,136 × 640 resolution is now dated.
iPhone SE 2: Camera
- Probably will use camera from the iPhone 8
It also stands to reason that an iPhone X 2 or iPhone XI will have Face ID, as will whatever replaces the iPhone 8, whether that’s a new iPhone 9 or the current iPhone X just gets cheaper to fill in the gap.
So standard cameras then and surely we’ll see the 12MP ƒ/1.8 aperture camera we’ve seen in other iPhones – probably with up to 4K 30fps video recording but also possibly 60fps if the camera comes over from the iPhone 8.
iPhone SE 2: Hardware and software
- Specs to match the iPhone 8 or possibly iPhone 7
Given what happened with the original SE, we’d expect the new phone to be based on the innards of the iPhone 7 or 8. As with 2017’s iPhones, expect more Apple-designed silicon inside, including its own graphics chips. That’s why we think it more likely it would be based on the iPhone 8.
As a result, it’s likely the iPhone SE 2 would support Qi wireless charging like the rest of the latest generation of iPhones. That would also require the handset to have a glass back like the flagship line-up. And it will also be able to support Apple's AirPower charging mat.
If the SE 2 was to be based on the iPhone 7, it would mean moving from the A9 processor to A10 with M10 co-processor (rather than the A11 Bionic found in the iPhone 8 and iPhone X).
In any case, it’ll surely have the faster Touch ID sensor we saw in the iPhone 6S and later and probably the barometer from the same model. Both of these enhancements were missing from the original iPhone SE.
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