iPhone SE 2024 rumors return — fans of the small budget iPhone may be upset

Apple iPhone SE 2022
(Image credit: Future)

The iPhone SE 3 is nearing its first birthday, and while late last year some suggested the smallest and most affordable iPhone may be delayed or retired, it seems that rumors of its demise may have been premature.

Now the very same Apple analyst, Ming-Chi Kuo, has reversed course on those claims and expects the iPhone SE 4 to arrive in 2024 with a few notable upgrades, but we aren't so sure that fans are going to be thrilled with the end result (via MacRumors).

We're going to need a bigger iPhone SE

Apple's iPhone mini experiment ended after two years with the iPhone 14 line dropping the diminutive standard iPhone in favor of the iPhone 14 Plus. That left the iPhone SE 2022 as the only current iPhone with a sub-six-inch display. While the SE is a reasonable budget option, it's not up to typical iPhone standards with a weak camera setup, a dated design, an LCD panel, and disappointing battery life.

The latest tweets from Kuo suggest that the iPhone SE 2024 will look quite a bit like the current iPhone 14. Moving to a 6.1-inch OLED display and likely the familiar notch that the non-Pro iPhone models still rely on. Display analyst Ross Young chimed in with his own tweet indicating that the display will likely be produced by Chinese manufacturer BOE rather than Samsung panels like most iPhone 14 models.

iPhone 14

(Image credit: Future)

Apple to the core

The other revelation that Kuo had this time around was that the iPhone SE 2024 should feature an Apple 5G chip, rather than the Qualcomm 5G chip used in the current model. The only surprise there is that given the typical spring launch window for the iPhone SE, the cheapest iPhone may be the first to use Apple's 5G chip, as reports are that the iPhone 15 that arrives this fall will still be using Qualcomm. 

Apple will reportedly move exclusively to its own 5G chips by 2025, but its unclear what the split will look like across product lines next year.

Apple iPhone SE 2022

(Image credit: Future)

Bottom line

Despite many claiming to prefer a smaller iPhone option, the sales have never borne that out. So in that sense, a 6.1-inch iPhone SE 4 is likely to be warmly received, my concerns for it rest on whether Apple will maintain the affordable pricing.

The display is one of the most costly components on a phone — and a new design coupled with moving to a larger OLED panel from a smaller LCD panel could certainly motivate Apple to bump the iPhone SE 4 to $499 from $429. Maybe Apple keeps the current iPhone SE around at $379; that would certainly fit with how its handling the rest of the iPhone lineup.

I have no doubt it would still find its way into our best budget phones, but it would be a much tougher sell. It also could portend a price bump for the standard iPhone lineup as we know there are rumored long overdue upgrades coming to the iPhone 15 as well.

We're still over a year away from the likely announcement of the iPhone SE 4, but the leaks are going to pick up, so stick with us for all of the latest.

Sean Riley

Sean Riley has been covering tech professionally for over a decade now. Most of that time was as a freelancer covering varied topics including phones, wearables, tablets, smart home devices, laptops, AR, VR, mobile payments, fintech, and more.  Sean is the resident mobile expert at Laptop Mag, specializing in phones and wearables, you'll find plenty of news, reviews, how-to, and opinion pieces on these subjects from him here. But Laptop Mag has also proven a perfect fit for that broad range of interests with reviews and news on the latest laptops, VR games, and computer accessories along with coverage on everything from NFTs to cybersecurity and more.