Low-cost iPhone SE 2 enters final stages of engineering validation

Low-cost iPhone SE 2 enters final stages of engineering validation

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iphone 8
The iPhone SE 2 will reportedly look a lot like the iPhone 8.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

Apple’s supply chain might be suffering due to the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak, but that isn’t stopping things moving forward for the iPhone SE.

According to a report published Thursday, the new entry level LCD iPhone has entered the final stages of engineering validation in Zhengzhou, China. That’s the stage at which the finalized hardware is tested and validated. Should all go according to plan, it will then undergo design validation and testing, prior to going into mass manufacturing.

The paywalled report, from Digitimes, notes that Zhengzhou is where Foxconn and Pegatron, two of Apple’s biggest manufacturing partners, run assembly lines. A previous report suggested that Foxconn, Pegatron and Wistron reportedly will split production duties.

iPhone SE 2: Engineering validation and beyond

The new low-cost iPhone is rumored to be called the iPhone SE 2 or, confusingly, the iPhone 9. It likely will have a 4.9-inch display, and could reuse the design from the iPhone 8, only with updated internals such as the A13 Bionic chip. Don’t expect Face ID, either: a recent Fast Company report claimed that the device will boast Touch ID. While that could disappoint some, it could also mean the new handset can retail for $399. That’s the same price as the first-gen iPhone SE.

Right now, the big question seems to be not whether Apple’s making a new lost-cost phone, but when it’s going to launch. A recent report suggested that Apple will unveil the new iPhone on March 31. But Apple’s manufacturers are currently suffering the impact of coronavirus. This has resulted in diminished workforces and other delays. Foxconn has said that it expects normal levels of production to resume by the end of March. But that’s not guaranteed. Even if it is, could impact on the iPhone SE 2’s reported end of March timeline.

The original iPhone SE debuted on March 21, 2016. Apple opened pre-orders on March 24. The phone landed in Apple Stores on March 31. Apple re-released it with a larger storage option a year later in 2017.

Are you excited at the possibility of an iPhone SE 2? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.