iPhone SE 4 could be Apple’s most expensive budget phone yet — here’s why

iPhone SE 4 in Blue renders by LaptopMag.com
(Image credit: Laptop Mag / Rael Hornby)

iPhone SE 4, Apple’s rumored upcoming budget smartphone, has had key new features leaked. But this has left us worried — will the budget iPhone actually be “budget” anymore?

According to information MacRumors has learned, the new SE (codenamed Ghost within the company) will feature iPhone 15’s recently implemented Action Button, a USB-C port, and even an OLED display. That laundry list of features could incur quite a price tag.  

Progress at what cost? 

The Action Button is a programmable interface that features a customizable input to perform whatever task the user desires. We’re big fans of it on the iPhone 15 Pro, and to see it come to the new SE would spell good news for the whole iPhone lineup getting the same implementation.

Out of all these features, the USB-C port is the most unsurprising. While the other details of this leak are up in this air, this one is almost certainly true. Apple’s struggles with the EU ensure that new Apple products will no longer force users into the Lightning ecosystem, and iPhone SE 4 is certain to follow.

MacRumors also claims an OLED display “derived from iPhone 14” is coming to the iPhone SE 4. This one makes us nervous, as the iPhone 14 started at $799—we’re not expecting this thing to be cheap and it could absolutely raise costs. 

iPhone SE 4 could be a big deal for Apple 

Apple has started a trend in recent years to include a new type of iPhone model launched at the halfway point between their typical skews every other year. This is the SE series, which began all the way back in 2016, but wouldn’t be brought back until 2020. 

iPhone SE 4 in Blue renders by LaptopMag.com

(Image credit: Laptop Mag / Rael Hornby)

Now, the phone is seemingly on a bi-yearly release pattern, with the last one launching in 2022. This means we’re expecting the iPhone SE 4 to come out next year, and if prior release dates are anything to go by, we’re expecting it to launch sometime in March or April.

The iPhone SE is by far the company’s most affordable smartphone, and a great choice for those on a budget — especially if you still want to be a part of the Apple ecosystem. While its nature as a budget phone has always been vital, it could be especially important during a time where smartphone prices are going up. The iPhone 15 Pro Max is $100 more than its previous model, while the Google Pixel 8 series is rumored to be going up by $100 each

We don’t know for sure if this is impacting the 8a, which is known to be Google’s budget phone, but Apple could deal a serious blow against the company if it maintains the cost of its cheapest smartphone beneath Google. The iPhone SE 3 started at $429, while the Pixel 7a began at $499. Both are admittedly different, but it’ll be interesting to see which company comes out on top for having the most affordable product. 

Momo Tabari
Contributing Writer

Self-described art critic and unabashedly pretentious, Momo finds joy in impassioned ramblings about her closeness to video games. She has a bachelor’s degree in Journalism & Media Studies from Brooklyn College and five years of experience in entertainment journalism. Momo is a stalwart defender of the importance found in subjectivity and spends most days overwhelmed with excitement for the past, present and future of gaming. When she isn't writing or playing Dark Souls, she can be found eating chicken fettuccine alfredo and watching anime.