If you prefer your iPhones to be smaller and cheaper - and many do - then you may be pleased to hear that there are some rumours pointing to a new version of the iPhone SE launching in 2018, or at least a new handset that is being positioned as a cheaper version of the iPhone X.
Analyst Ming-Chi Kuo believes that along with updates to the iPhone X and a bigger version of that full-screen iPhone with an OLED screen, Apple will launch a cheaper iPhone - except that handset will be a 6.1in model with an LCD screen, so perhaps not the smaller handset many are hoping for, but still a potential successor to the iPhone SE.
If this rumoured LCD handset is indeed the replacement for the iPhone SE, does that mean Apple will no longer continue to sell a smaller handset? It's starting to look that way... But before you rush off to look at smaller Android handsets, bear in mind that the iPhone X squeezes a bigger screen into a smaller handset that's 143.6mm by 70.9mm, and is 7.7m thick, while the iPhone SE is still a small 123.8mm by 58.6mm and 7.6mm thick. That's just 2cm longer and slightly more than 1cm wider, so the iPhone X may not be as massive as you were thinking...
But if you think small is perfect, don't completely give up hope - we have seen details of a leaked screen protector and "factory CAD shots", both of which point to an iPhone X-style notch design on a small SE-sized handset.
So, read on to find out more about the iPhone SE 2 as we collect and analyse the clues, hints and evidence pointing to the release date of Apple's follow-up to the iPhone SE, as well as the iPhone SE 2's tech specs, design, new features, pricing and leaked images.
This page will be updated whenever new information emerges relating to the launch of an updated iPhone SE, so check back regularly for the latest iPhone SE 2 rumours. For buying advice related to the current range, take a look at our roundup of the best iPhone SE deals as well as our iPhone buying guide.
iPhone SE 2 release date
Lots of rumours point to a new version of the iPhone SE being launched in 2018.
There was some speculation that the new phone would arrive in May 2018. When it failed to materialise, there was some hope that an iPhone SE 2 would launch at Apple's WWDC event on 4 June, but Apple used the event to show off software including iOS 12 and watchOS 5 instead.
So, are we going to have to wait until September for Apple to update the iPhone SE? It's looking that way. Making his predictions about the new LCD iPhone, analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, has pointed to a possible September release date alongside the successor to the iPhone X.
Will the iPhone SE be discontinued?
First the bad news. Several analysts have suggested that there won't be a new iPhone SE at all.
In January 2018 Ming-Chi Kuo wrote a research note arguing that Apple had "used up its development resources" and would not be able to produce a new SE for the spring launch window.
"The announcement of three new iPhone models in the same quarter in the second half of 2017 was the first time Apple made such a major endeavour," he wrote.
"We believe the delay of iPhone X, which had the most complicated design yet, shows that Apple doesn't have enough resources available for development. With three new models in the pipeline for the second half of 2018, we believe Apple may have used up its development resources."
And back in July 2017 China's Huaquang Research analyst Pan Juitang predicted that Apple wouldn't update its 4in phone, arguing that there isn't enough demand for smaller devices as many consumers opt for larger displays for watching movies, playing games and browsing the web. The vast majority are accustomed to 5in or bigger displays, he added.
iPhone SE 2 availability
Even if the SE is updated, it may not launch where you live. Some reports suggest that the new SE handset might not be available everywhere.
According to the Economic Daily, a Chinese-language site, Apple is working on a low-end iPhone codenamed Hangzhou. This low-end, lower-priced model will apparently be launched in an attempt to "seize the low-end market" in China and India.
Another report claims that the SE 2 will launch in India prior to launching in other territories. This sounds dubious to us, although it might fit with Apple's plans to offer a cheaper handset to certain territories (normally Apple does this by offering an older version of the iPhone to certain countries).
iPhone SE 2 price
We expect the iPhone SE 2 to be similarly priced when (and if) it launches.
iPhone SE 2 design
A Chinese report from February 2018 says the iPhone SE 2 will have a similar design to the current iPhone SE. However, it will have a larger 4.2in display, apparently. The bigger display won't be due to it having an all screen display like the iPhone X, though. The report states that it will still maintain the classic iPhone shape and the front Home button to support fingerprint recognition.
Another (relatively) radical prediction comes from the Macotakara report cited earlier, which says that the headphone port is going to disappear. This claim was based on assertions by a case maker - and ports are exactly the kind of thing that case makers need to know about.
The idea that Apple would redesign the iPhone SE so extensively doesn't get a lot of support from analysts like Ming-Chi Kuo who believes that Apple is so busy with the successors to the iPhones X and 8 that it won't have the time or resources to focus on this entry-level handset.
A complete redesign aside, one thing that is likely to change is the colour options.
The iPhone SE is currently available in silver, gold, Space Grey and Rose Gold options. The iPhone SE 2 is likely to be available in silver, gold, and Space Grey - like the iPhone 8. The Rose Gold and gold version have kind of merged in the iPhone 8 and it is likely that the new iPhone SE will also offer this new brassier gold colour option rather than two gold options.
There's also been a suggestion that the iPhone SE could come in iPhone 5C style colours - although this rumour is more specifically about the LCD handset that has been rumoured.
Rosenblatt analyst Jun Zhang predicted in May 2018 that the cheaper LCD iPhone model released in late 2018 would launch in multiple colours, including blue, yellow and pink.
Zhang argues that these colours have been chosen to appeal to younger users and to differentiate between the LCD iPhone and the more expensive OLED models that will launch at the same time.
"We believe the company needs to differentiate the designs of the LCD model from the two high end OLED models," said Zhang. "One reasonable choice would be to add different colours."
Another possility is that the new iPhone SE could have a glass back - allowing for wireless charging, a feature introduced with the iPhone 8 and iPhone X. This could mean the new iPhone SE 2 has a retro air to it - as it could look like the all-glass iPhone 4.
Leaked photos & concept illustrations
We've seen a number of iPhone SE 2 leaks. One posted on 31 May 2018, shows screen protectors for the SE 2 and the iPhone X, and appears to confirm that the former will have the same notch design as the latter. (According to OnLeaks, accessory makers including Alibaba are also preparing for a notch design.)
Images appearing on 26 April show a design featuring a new glass back for wireless charging - and a 3.5mm hole for a headphone jack. The latter news will come as a surprise to some, given that just days earlier another image appeared that appeared to show no headphone jack.
The images appeared on a Chinese social network site, and it's not clear how trustworthy they are.
Slashleaks has posted an image allegedly showing the chassis of the iPhone SE 2 in two colours - gold and Rose Gold. And they fairly clearly have glass backs, which suggests support for wireless charging.
Beyond that, we move into the realm of concept illustrations: images and videos created to explore design concepts rather than actual leaks.
Here's a factory CAD shot from OnLeaks, who warns that he is "still unable to confirm this":
The case maker Olixar has created a render of the iPhone SE 2018 for a screen protector product it plans to sell; the image was provided to us by Mobile Fun. The firm says this is based on information from the supply chain.
Here's a idea of what we could expect from Concept Creator, imagining what the iPhone SE 2 might look like if Apple was to give it an iPhone X-like redesign and some vivid new colour finishes:
Concept Creator previously made another iPhone SE 2 video with an iPhone X remake theme:
iPhone SE 2 dimensions
Currently the iPhone SE has a 4in screen (that's 4 inches measured diagonally). The handset itself measures 123.8mm by 58.6mm and it's 7.6mm thick. It weighs 113g.
The new iPhone SE dimensions may slim down further. For example, the phone might be as thin as the iPhone 8 at 7.3mm. If Apple was to ditch the iPhone 5s-esque design for the iPhone SE, in favour of mimicking the iPhone 8 design, this could be feasible.
It's also possible that the new iPhone SE - or entry-level iPhone - won't be a smaller handset at all. According to KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, Apple is working on a low-cost version of the iPhone that will feature an LCD-TFT screen, fewer pixels, and will cost between $649 and $749. This iPhone screen will measure 6.1in diagonally so the new handset could be even larger than the iPhone 8 is.
A Chinese report in February claimed that the new iPhone SE 2 will feature a larger 4.2in display, but the bigger display won't be due to it having an all screen display like the iPhone X, though.
iPhone SE 2 screen
As per KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo's theory, Apple could introduce a 6.1in LCD-TFT screen on its new low-cost iPhone, while the other iPhones will feature OLED screens like the iPhone X does now. Shown below.
There has also been a suggestion that the iPhone SE could have a 4.2in screen rather than the current 4in. The extra .2in being made possible by reducing the size of the bezels. Although unlike the iPhone X, which has a screen that stretches to the base of the phone - and thus no Home Button (read about the iPhone X here) - the Home Button is expected to remain on the iPhone SE 2.
The naysayers suggest that Apple wouldn't extensively change the design of the iPhone SE for such a minimal change in the dimensions of the screen. It would involve a lot of research and development for little noticable difference to the consumer.
The new iPhone SE won't be a flagship, so you shouldn't expect any totally new features - it's more a question of which features will trickle down from the top-end iPhone X and 8 Plus.
This is the biggie, and if we are looking at an iPhone SE with Face ID it would imply that we're also getting an edge-to-edge screen and no Home button.
According to Ming-Chi Kuo the 'iPhone X SE' (the LCD version of the bigger iPhone coming in the autumn) will indeed get Face ID, the same controversial but impressive biometric tech as on the iPhone X, which also means Animoji and, we presume, Portrait Mode on front-facing selfies. (Oddly enough, since the analyst predicts a single camera lens on the rear of the X SE to keep costs down, we could end up in the situation where Portrait Mode is available on front- but not rear-facing shots.)
However, if Apple is going to launch an update to the existing SE model then the Touch ID Home button is likely to remain.
Since 2014, iPhones have been equipped with NFC chips, but these have historically been less functional than those in rival devices, essentially limited to Apple Pay for security reasons. But it's believed that WWDC 2018 will see Apple 'unlock' the capacities of these chips and allow iPhones to perform commonplace NFC tasks such as interacting with badge readers (to identify a user, open security doors and so on).
According to The Information, citing sources familiar with the matter, the move is so far along that Apple's own staff are already using it internally.
"The change to the near-field communication, or NFC, chip, which is expected to be announced [in June 2018], could pave the way for people to use iPhones for other security-sensitive interactions, from paying transit fares and opening car doors to verifying their identity in other ways," the site writes.
The new iPhone SE 2 (or iPhone X SE) could offer wireless charging thanks to the rumoured glass back. Tekz24 claims that it received a tip from a "very reliable source" that the new iPhone SE 2 "will have a glass back panel" and that it "might support wireless charging."
Apple's 3D Touch screen tech has been around for a while, and it feels logical to add it to the SE. But sources say this will not be the case: Ming-Chi Kuo has given it the thumbs down. As Tech Times observes, this runs the risk of the feature being seen "as nothing more than a gimmick that only customers who purchase the more expensive iPhones may enjoy
iPhone SE 2 specs
According to a Tekz24 report (on which the FocusTaiwan report mentioned above was based), the new iPhone SE 2 will offer an A10 Fusion chip (as seen in the iPhone 7). It currently offers an A9 chip, as used in the iPhone 6S.
This Chinese report also suggests that the new iPhone will use a newer A10 Fusion chip, rather than the A9 in the current model, but sport 2GB of RAM and 32GB or 128GB capacities, as currently.
In addition we could see a 5Mp or 7Mp FaceTime camera with Retina Flash replace the 1.2Mp FaceTime camera in the current model.
Other than that, it is likely to keep many of the features of the current iPhone SE, such as:
- 12Mp camera: The current SE offers 12-megapixels with an f/2.2 aperture.The iPhone 8 has an f/1.8 aperture.
- No bump: One key difference between the iPhone SE and 8 is the lack of camera bump on the bigger model. Hopefully the new iPhone SE camera on the back of the iPhone will also be flat.
- 2GB RAM: The iPhone SE already offers 2GB RAM and it's unlikely that we'd see any more than that.
- 32GB or 128GB storage options.
The battery will also have a slightly raised rating from 1,640mAh to 1,700mAh - this might be necessary to power the slightly larger display, if that happens.
You may also be interested in our iPad Pro 3 rumours.