iPhone SE 4 Cancelled, Un-Cancelled, Cancelled Again

iPhone SE 4 Cancelled, Un-Cancelled, Cancelled Again

It appears that Apple’s fourth-generation iPhone SE (the ‘SE’ indicating the budget-friendly range of Apple’s mobile devices) may have been cancelled again, after reports earlier this year indicated that it had been un-cancelled, which followed reports of it being originally cancelled (as this article had originally reflected).

We were originally expecting the fourth-generation iPhone SE to come either in 2023 or 2024, with a similar aesthetic to the 2018 iPhone XR (as per Apple knowledge master Jon Prosser).

Word on the iPhone SE has been noticeably quiet. Screen size and processor had been rumoured vaguely in the past, along with a potential release date, but in January 2023, known leaker Ming Chi-Quo claimed that the phone had been put on ice. This was the first time the phone had been reportedly cancelled.

“The supply chain has received instructions from Apple indicating that the production and shipment plans for the 2024 iPhone SE 4 have been cancelled rather than delayed,” Ming Chi-Quo wrote on Medium at the time.

“Due to concerns that the performance of the in-house baseband chip may not be up to par with Qualcomm’s, Apple initially planned to launch its baseband chip in 2024 and let the low-end iPhone SE 4 adopt it first, and decide whether to let the iPhone 16 use its baseband chip depending on the development status of iPhone SE 4.

“However, the cancellation of the iPhone SE 4 has significantly increased the chances of Qualcomm remaining the exclusive supplier of baseband chips for the 2H24 new iPhone 16 series, which is better than the market consensus that Qualcomm will start losing iPhone orders in 2024.”

Then Ming Chi-Quo’s tune changed in February.

The analyst tweeted that Apple was jumping back in the saddle with the iPhone SE 4 after initially cancelling plans to offer a new phone in its line of lower-end devices. This new, lower-end and somewhat cheaper phone was expected to be available sometime in 2024.

But now, again, the iPhone SE has been iced again as of April.

According to Ming Chi-Quo in a long tweet, the iPhone SE 4 they were expecting is likely an internal “engineering prototype” and that “there are no plans for mass production and sales”.

The new iPhone SE was expected to come with a 6.1-inch OLED display instead of the previous versions’ LED screen. It was expected to be the same sized screen as the iPhone 14, dropping the home button.

But as it turns out, the iPhone SE 4 may just be a prototype for Apple to bring its 5G connectivity in-house. According to Ming-Chi Kuo, the device is just being used to support a 5G baseband chip designed by Apple itself.

It isn’t terribly surprising to hear that Apple has canned plans for the SE 4 as of April, considering that a rumour about the upcoming iPhone 15 indicates that a price drop is coming.

With a price drop of around $US100 (or about $200 for Australians), it’s reasonable to expect that the phone would step on the toes of the iPhone SE at least a little.

The iPhone SE range is billed on its budget, and Apple bringing a much more powerful device down to a cheaper (though admittedly still higher) price point could push users away from the SE device.

We did enjoy the iPhone SE 5G, the third generation device in the range, so we’ll wait with bated breath for the iPhone SE’s potential return. Unless it remains cancelled forever.

It’ll be interesting seeing this shape up over the next couple of years. As an aside, Apple’s rumoured to be revealing its VR headset come June this year.

This article has been updated since it was originally published.