Apple is reportedly working on a new version of the iPhone SE. While some of you might need to buy a new phone in the near future, others might want to hold off and wait for the rumored iPhone SE 3/iPhone SE Plus.
Last April, Apple finally released its long-awaited follow-up to the popular 4-inch iPhone SE from 2016.
The iPhone SE 2 looks nothing like the original and comes with a much bigger display. That said, it’s probably Apple’s best budget iPhone model and it’s a device that you should have on your shopping list if you’re in the market for a new phone in early 2021.
Before you commit to a new iPhone, you’ll also want to to check out the new iPhone 12 series (iPhone 12, iPhone 12 mini, iPhone 12 Pro, iPhone 12 Pro Max), iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro, iPhone 11 Pro Max, iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max, iPhone XR, iPhone X and, perhaps even the iPhone 8 and iPhone 7.
Many of you will be perfectly fine buying one of these phones in 2021. Remember, most carriers allow you to upgrade after a year so if you buy a new phone now you’d able to upgrade to something brand new in early 2022.
We’ve heard a lot about the phones that are potentially coming out later this year. iPhone 13 rumors have been swirling for months and we’ve also heard about a new iPhone SE though its release timeline is currently up in the air.
iPhone SE 3 Rumors
While most rumors have centered around the iPhone 13, we’ve also seen rumors highlight some potential changes coming to Apple’s budget iPhone.
It initially looked like Apple might launch 5.5-inch version of the iPhone SE 2 in 2020, but those rumors failed to pan out. The company only announced a 4.7-inch model.
According to respected analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, Apple will release a new iPhone SE model with some notable design changes including new Touch ID and a larger display. In addition to 5.5-inches, rumors have also pointed to a larger 6-inch display.
In another note, Kuo says we won’t see Apple release a new iPhone SE in early 2021. This seems to rule out a launch in March and, potentially, a launch in 2021. Apple has twice used its March launch window to deploy a new iPhone SE.
Kuo released a newer note in early March and he reiterates this claim. He believes Apple will release the iPhone SE 3 in early 2022.
In a note to investors, JP Morgan supply chain analyst William Yang claims that Apple won’t launch a new iPhone SE in 2021. Yang believes Apple will launch a new iPhone SE 3 in the first half of 2023.
Leaker Jon Prosser says we won’t see an iPhone SE 3, in the current size at least, in 2021.
On the other hand, Japanese blog Mac Otakara believes Apple will launch a new iPhone SE in April. Their information comes from Chinese suppliers.
There’s also chatter about a launch coming in the second half of 2021, but that’s far from guaranteed.
At this point we’re probably months away from Apple’s announcements which means Apple’s plans for the device could certainly change. That said, there are some great reasons to consider waiting for the next version of the iPhone SE.
- Fully unlocked and compatible with any carrier of choice (e.g. AT&T, T-Mobile, Sprint, Verizon, US-Cellular, Cricket, Metro, etc.).
- The device does not come with headphones or a SIM card. It does include a charger and charging cable that may be generic, in which case it will be UL or Mfi (Made for iPhone) Certified.
- Inspected and guaranteed to have minimal cosmetic damage, which is not noticeable when the device is held at arms length.
- Successfully passed a full diagnostic test which ensures like-new functionality and removal of any prior-user personal information.
- Tested for battery health and guaranteed to have a minimum battery capacity of 80%.
In this guide we’ll take you through the best reasons to wait and the best reasons to go with another device long before the iPhone SE 3/iPhone SE Plus arrive.
We’ll also continue to update this guide as we learn more about Apple’s plans.
Wait for a Bigger iPhone SE
As we've noted, at one point it looked like Apple would launch two versions of the iPhone SE 2: The 4.7-inch model that's currently on shelves and a larger model with a 5.5-inch display. Obviously that didn't pan out, but that doesn't mean dreams of a budget 5.5-inch iPhone are dead.
According to Ming-Chi Kuo, Apple is working on an iPhone SE Plus that will come with a 5.5-inch or 6.1-inch display. This would put its screen size somewhere between the iPhone 8 Plus and iPhone 11.
Barclays analysts Blayne Curtis, Thomas O'Malley, and Tim Long have also heard about an iPhone SE with a larger display.
iOS 14 code also points to the existence of a larger iPhone SE Plus. So unless Apple scraps its plans, there's a very good chance we see a larger iPhone SE model down the road.
Last year Best Buy listed an iPhone SE Plus screen protector (with iPhone 8 Plus dimensions) on its website, but we wouldn't read too much into it.
If you want a top-of-the-line budget iPhone, but want a big display, you might want to hold out for the iPhone SE Plus.
Last update on 2020-12-15. This post may contain affiliate links. Click here to read our disclosure policy for more details. Images via Amazon API
This article may contain affiliate links. Click here for more details.