Apple Will Not Release the iPhone SE 4 Anytime Soon


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A photo of the iPhone SE in a person’s hand

This year has seen leakers saying the new Apple iPhone SE would be scrapped, then walking that back, and now reasserting that it’s not coming after all, at least for a while. It’s a lot of back-and-forth for what’s not even the best phone Apple makes.

Analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, the source behind these reports and the one to blame for this game of rumor ping-pong, now says the iPhone SE 4 will not debut this or even next year after all. In January, Kuo reported that Apple was scrapping the SE 4 to focus on developing a 5G modem for its in-house processor. Then in February, Kuo retracted that to say that Apple would actually proceed with another version of the “low-cost” iPhone to get that modem out to market. Even Qualcomm’s CEO commented on it after reports that Apple had cut down on components orders from the company. “We expect that Apple will do their own modem in 2024, but if they need ours, they know where to find us,” Cristiano Amon, CEO of Qualcomm, told The Wall Street Journal.

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Kuo now says the iPhone SE 4 he told us about is nothing more than “an engineering prototype” for a 5G baseband, meaning Apple is hard at work figuring out how to connect to cell towers. He doesn’t expect it to come to the mass market, at least for a while.

“I believe that the mass production schedule for Apple in-house 5G baseband chip will largely hinge on the test results of this engineering prototype,” tweets Kuo, adding that production could start as soon as 2025. However, if Apple’s testing of the modem “falls below expectations,” Kuo says we might not see the fruits of all this until 2026 or later.

These reports indicate Apple is working to reduce its reliance on other manufacturers. We’ve seen some impressive performance gains with Apple’s processors going in-house, and it’ll be interesting to see what its take on the modem will be like when it arrives in a couple of years (whether that price drop translates into a cheaper iPhone SE remains to be seen, but one can hope). We know the next iPhone 15 will still ship with a Qualcomm modem to connect you to your carrier’s cell towers.

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