Apple has recently launched a new iteration of its hugely popular iPhone SE series. With the iPhone SE (2020) users get a device very similar in style and features to the iPhone 8, but with specifications closer to the iPhone 11.
Of course, Apple never stands still, so in this article we turn our gaze towards what we can expect when the next update to the range appears. Here's all we know or think might appear in the iPhone SE 3 when it eventually arrives.
If you're hoping for a larger device, then also take a look at our coverage of the rumoured iPhone SE Plus which could arrive next year.
When will the iPhone SE 3 be released?
Unlike regular iPhone models that receive an upgrade each year, the SE range has little in the way of form to suggest a similar frequency. The original iPhone SE first arrived back in 2016, with a storage bump the following year. This model was then retired by Apple in 2018, only to have the name resurrected two years later with the iPhone SE (2020). If this approach is replicated, expect to see the iPhone SE 3 appear in 2024.
We're not quite convinced that Apple will leave that money on the table, though, so hopefully 2021 would be a more optimistic prediction.
How much will the iPhone SE 3 cost?
Again, there's not much of a pattern to guide us in this area, but with the original baseline iPhone SE launching at £379/$399 (albeit for 16GB of storage) and the iPhone SE (2020) coming in at £419/$399 for the 64GB entry-model, it seems very likely that any new version will try to keep around the £450/$400 mark.
What features will appear in the iPhone SE 3?
Obviously, with Apple only recently launching the iPhone SE (2020) there's little in the way of any firm details for what we should expect in its successor. Much depends on whether this is to become an established part of the iPhone line-up, with regular models appearing alongside the more expensive devices, or a sporadic release that arrives whenever Apple deems it necessary.
If it's the former than we'd expect the design to remain the same for another generation or so as Apple utilises the tried-and-tested manufacturing processes for this configuration that has hardly altered since the introduction of the iPhone 6 back in 2015.
One area that could be addressed is Night Mode, the camera software setting that massively improves low-light photography. The current iPhone SE (2020) seems capable of the technique - it has the A13 chip - but so far it's been absent.
Adding this a year from now would make a nice bump in the usefulness of a newer model, especially as photography is such an important aspect for people buying smartphones. There's also the issue that Google's cheaper Pixel devices (the 3A and heavily rumoured 4S) already include Night Sight, which is a very similar feature.
Another area that would be welcome on the iPhone SE 3 would be 4GB of RAM rather than the 3GB found in the latest SE model. In our iPhone SE (2020) review we noticed that although the cheaper device had many of the same specs as the iPhone 11, the latter outperformed it in terms of speed. This could be attributed in a large part to the iPhone 11 coming with 4GB of RAM, which gives the extra headroom that allows the speeds to stay high.
If Apple follows suit with the last two iterations of the SE, then a new model could take the design of a longstanding model that is being discontinued. The iPhone SE came in the frame of the iPhone 5s and the new iPhone SE (2020) uses the iPhone 8 chassis, with that model now retired.
With this in mind, it would make the most sense to us if the iPhone SE 3 adopts the guise of an iPhone XR, as it's the cheapest non-SE model in the current range and looks unlikely to be upgraded significantly. This would introduce the first iPhone SE with Face ID and a large display.
While we still think it could be a couple of years until Apple updates the iPhone SE line-up, we'll keep looking for news and rumours and updating this article when they arrive. So be sure to check back regularly to see what we unearth.
In the meantime, if you're looking for a bargain, read our Best iPhone SE (2020) deals roundup.