We've been waiting for this one. How we've waited.
The iPhone SE arrived a little over four years ago, and departed in the autumn of 2018. Ever since, rumours of a second coming have swirled around the popular little handset, but no announcement has been made.
Some of this is of course wishful thinking, since unlike most discontinued iPhones the SE left no replacement, no obvious upgrade. (If you have small hands or tight pockets the alternatives must seem unappealing: it's pretty much the iPhone 8 right now, but that costs £479/$449 and has a 4.7in screen; the SE was a sweetspoterrific £359/$399 and 4in.) And like all sceptics we must avoid the fallacy of thinking that because we want something to be true, it necessarily is true.
We must also beware of anecdata. Large numbers of complaints on Reddit don't necessarily mean the SE was a hit; it just means people feel strongly about it. And one imagines that if the SE really had sold like hot cakes (or the iPhone 6) Apple would have hurried an SE 2 out of the door on 1 March 2017 and not let the grass grow under its feet.
(There may be analogies here with the people who rushed to defend BBC 6 Music when it was threatened with closure, but hadn't actually listened to it in years. Don Draper's sentimental bond with a product is indeed potent, but in itself it won't pay the bills.)
Nevertheless, it would appear that the new iPhone SE is about to arrive at last. There have been rumours before, and they've been wrong before, but we've never seen such a solid wave of them all pointing to a single period - spring 2020 - and a specific month - April.
There has been disagreement about the date, too, but there is good reason to think that 15 April will be the happy occasion, not least because we're halfway through the month and the clock is ticking, it's a midweek date (Apple rarely launches on Monday or Friday, and never at the weekend) and the other touted options (recounted here and here) have already passed by without an announcement.
Added to this, this date is the one that was predicted most unambiguously. At the end of April the analyst Jon Prosser tweeted out a timeframe that he said was based on an internal meeting at Apple HQ. This had the announcement on 15 April, followed by shipments on 22 April... although he added the caveat that the pandemic could yet change the plan.
iPhone 9 update ?— Jon Prosser (@jon_prosser) March 31, 2020
Per an internal meeting yesterday, Apple is now preparing for an April release.
- Announcement on April 15
- Shipments on April 22
Keep in mind: we're in the middle of a pandemic, and things could change.
Fingers crossed ? pic.twitter.com/egz8UWXd9F
(You can read all the various rumours about the device's release schedule in New iPhone SE release date, price & specs. There's been a huge amount of speculation.)
Assuming the wait is almost over, what can we expect to arrive today? Well, it looks like the name will be the disappointingly prosaic 'iPhone SE' - which we in the media will be obliged to suffix with the year, to avoid confusion - after the fractionally more interesting 'iPhone 9' burned brightly and then dropped out of contention.
We also think it will have 3GB of RAM, an A13 Bionic processor and support for Transit Express. But the main thing is that the device will be small, and (reasonably) cheap. And if it fulfils those two requirements while offering updated internals and maybe even a modernish design, it's guaranteed to make everyone happy.
I'm kidding, of course. Can you imagine!
(Well the new iPhone SE did arrive on 15 April and if you are wondering how the iPhone SE compares to the old iPhone SE? Read our comparison of the old and new iPhone SE here.)