Apple could deliver iPhone SE refresh we didn’t ask for in 2020

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iPhone SE
Apple could ditch the one thing that made iPhone SE special.
Photo: Sam Mills/Cult of Mac

It seems Apple hasn’t given up on the iPhone SE just yet. A new report claims an upgraded model is in the works — but you’ll have to wait until next spring to get your hands on it.

And it won’t be the iPhone SE upgrade you were hoping for.

What made the iPhone SE special was its size. It was the only decent smartphone you could buy with a 4-inch screen, and lots of iPhone fans didn’t (and still don’t) want anything bigger.

We’ve been hoping a next-generation model would offer the same form factor, but with an edge-to-edge screen like that on flagship models. Sadly, it doesn’t sound like that’s what we’re going to get.

Next iPhone SE could be rebranded iPhone 8

A new report from Nikkei claims Apple’s next iPhone SE will be more like the iPhone 8, with a larger 4.7-inch display.

Three sources say it will carry “most of the same components” as this year’s flagships — like an A13 processor. But it will use LCD panels instead of OLED to keep costs low.

It’s likely the device will also retain Touch ID, rather than shifting to an edge-to-edge screen with Face ID. So, it will basically be an upgraded iPhone 8 with a new name.

iPhone SE could boost sales next year

GF Securities analyst Jeff Pu predicts the new iPhone SE “could serve as a sales momentum kicker the first half of next year, if the new premium iPhones do not perform well in the coming months.”

But will that really be the case? It seems unlikely that a new iPhone SE will be all that successful if Apple takes away the one thing that made the last model so popular — its compact form factor.

After all, the iPhone 8 isn’t that much smaller than the iPhone XS. The only other reason to buy one would be price, but flops like the iPhone 5C have proven that affordability isn’t everything.

Coming next spring

Sadly, we’ll have to wait until next spring to find out what the new iPhone SE has in store for us, Nikkei says. In the meantime, here’s to hoping Apple changes course and sticks with that 4-inch form factor.