Apple's affordable iPhone SE (2020) sold 24 million units in the year of its launch and has seemingly prompted the company to reduce the launch time for its successor. It took four years for Apple to launch a successor to its first iPhone SE, but the next edition could be arriving in 2022, likely in the first half of the year.
A report from ITHome suggests that the iPhone SE 3 (or the iPhone SE 2022 as it might be called) could be entering trial production soon and that the phone is expected to launch in the first half of 2022.
It also claimed that multiple component vendors were preparing to ship the iPhone SE 3, so it sounds like things are really ramping up. For what it's worth, one previous leak said the iPhone SE 3 would land in March, which could probably line up with what we're hearing here.
Similar specs to the current model
This report also adds some claims about the iPhone SE 3's specs, largely echoing earlier leaks in saying that much like its predecessor, the device is likely to sport a 4.7-inch Retina HD LCD display, with a fingerprint sensor embedded in the home button.
In other words, there would be no Face ID on the upcoming device, with Apple seeming keen to offer this only on the flagship range.
The report additionally points to an improved 12MP rear camera, possibly using a new sensor, along with an A15 Bionic chipset (much like the iPhone 13 range) paired with an external X60M 5G baseband chip. Finally, there might be 3GB of RAM, much like the last model.
Interestingly though, the report also mentions that there could be a larger-screen iPhone SE Plus with 4GB of RAM. There are aren't any additional details on this phone here, but it's something we've heard rumored before, though details remain thin on the ground.
Analysis: the iPhone SE 3 could be a popular choice
While recent claims that the iPhone SE 3 could tempt 1.4 billion Android users are massively overblown, this could still prove a big seller for Apple.
It's largely expected that there won't be an iPhone 14 mini (or indeed any new 'mini' iPhones), so the iPhone SE 3 could be the next best thing for fans of smaller phones - especially if and when Apple discontinues the iPhone 13 mini.
Beyond that, it's also likely to have all the advantages offered by the iPhone SE (2020), including an affordable price (for an iPhone), but with upgrades such as 5G and a top-end chipset.
Being stuck with an old-fashioned design (with a home button and no Face ID) as has been rumored could hold it back though.
This is a design that makes phones bigger than they could otherwise be, thanks to the need for large bezels, and with Apple rumored to be moving beyond the notch for the iPhone 14 Pro, it seems high time that the home button was ditched from all new models.