With the Apple March event just a week away, taking place on March 8, an iPhone SE 3 (or maybe iPhone SE (2022) seems incredibly likely. This is partly because the timing lines up with expectations, and partly because this date was leaked previously.
– Might land on March 8
– 5G could be the main addition
– A similar design to the last model is likely
– The screen could either stay the same or grow
– A powerful A15 Bionic chipset
– A 12MP camera with a new sensor
Whenever it comes out, the iPhone SE 3 probably won’t be called that, and it’ll likely follow the iPhone SE (2020)‘s naming convention with the year of release in the title, so perhaps we’ll actually see the iPhone SE (2022). Then again, a recent leak suggests it could actually be called the iPhone SE Plus 5G.
But while the name is slightly unclear, some of the specs and features are starting to become more so, as there are various leaks and rumors about this upcoming phone, with more rolling in all the time. We’ve collected them all below, and we’ll update this article whenever we hear anything new.
Latest iPhone SE 3 news
Mar. 4: A big seller? A leak has pointed to numerous possible iPhone SE 3 specs, and suggested that Apple expects it to sell very well.
Mar. 3: Apple event confirmed. Apple has sent out invites for a March 8 launch event, which lines up with earlier leaks on a release date, making the device’s imminent launch seem incredibly likely. Plus, a retailer has reportedly made a test page for the upcoming device.
Feb. 27: A cheaper price? One analyst suggests the starting price of the iPhone SE 3 could drop as low as $300 in the US.
Feb. 7: A 2022 highlight? What will the new iPhone SE 3 be like? If we’re right, it could be one of the biggest smartphone surprises of 2022.
iPhone SE 3: what you need to know
iPhone SE 3 release date: The iPhone SE 3 could land on March 8 according to recent leaks. It’s likely to land at Apple’s spring event, which is now confirmed for that date.
iPhone SE 3 price: Pricing is unknown, but the iPhone SE (2020) started at $399 / £419 / AU$749. Prices could well be similar for the upcoming phone, although there have been whispers that it could get even cheaper.
Design: The iPhone SE 3 is rumored to look much like its predecessor, with big bezels and a home button, housing a Touch ID fingerprint scanner.
Display: The iPhone SE 3 will likely have a 4.7-inch LCD screen, just like the last model. That said, some reports point to it launching as the iPhone SE Plus 5G and having a larger 5.7-6.1-inch display.
Camera: There might not be many camera changes, with the iPhone SE 3 thought to have the same 12MP snapper as the iPhone SE (2020). However, the actual sensor might be new.
Specs: 5G support is likely to be the big addition with the iPhone SE 3. Beyond that, leaks point to an A15 Bionic chipset – the same as the iPhone 13 range.
Battery: We don’t know anything about the iPhone SE 3’s battery yet, but it’s likely to be similar to the 1,821mAh one in the iPhone SE (2020).
iPhone SE 3 release date
At this point, all the rumors point to a 2022 release, with sources suggesting the phone will land in the first half of the year, and one getting as specific as saying it will land before the end of March. Since there’s a March launch event happening on the 8th, that seems likely.
Other leaks have suggested March or April, sometime in ‘spring’ (meaning March to May in the US), or perhaps the second half of April or early May. The most recent and perhaps the most reliable rumor, however, suggests that the iPhone SE 3 will get its debut alongside the iPad Air on Tuesday, March 8, 2022.
We’ve also seen an unannounced iPhone believed to be the iPhone SE 3 get certified by the Eurasian Economic Commission – something that typically happens close to launch, and the phone has even been listed on a test page of a retailer’s site.
Trial production was also apparently about to start in December 2021, further suggesting it’s coming soon, with mass production apparently starting in March, and Apple supposedly expecting to ship 25-30 million units in 2022 alone.
That said, we’ve elsewhere heard that the iPhone SE 3 might have been delayed until 2024, so there could be a long wait.
And there’s also the iPhone SE Plus to consider. This was rumored to land sometime after the iPhone SE (2020), and while we haven’t heard much about it lately, Ming-Chi Kuo (an analyst with a good track record when it comes to Apple) claimed back in April 2020 that the iPhone SE Plus might not land until 2022.
So this might land instead of the iPhone SE 3 – or maybe we’ll get an iPhone SE 3 and an iPhone SE 3 Plus. It’s hard to say at this point.
iPhone SE 3 price
As for the price, the iPhone SE (2020) starts at $399 / £419 / AU$749, so the iPhone SE 3 is likely to have a similar price – Apple tends not to change around its pricing too much between versions.
One analyst has suggested the iPhone SE 3 could come in at $300 in the US, a drop of 25%, but that hasn’t been verified yet. It would certainly help the upcoming handset compete better against cheap Android phones.
(Image credit: Future)
iPhone SE 3 design and display
The biggest iPhone SE 3 leak so far has revealed a number of the possible specs, including that it might be visually similar to its predecessor, with the same bezel-heavy design and 4.7-inch LCD screen.
We’ve also previously heard that it might have a 4.7-inch LCD screen, so that aspect is looking likely. More recently a third source has weighed in to say the design and screen size won’t change with the next refresh.
It’s something that we’ve heard a fourth time now too, with the source this time saying that the colors will stay the same as well – meaning a choice of white, black or red.
That said, another source claims that actually it will have a 5.7-6.1-inch LCD screen. This is something we’ve now heard more than once, and it could be accompanied by a name change to the iPhone SE Plus 5G. So we’re not sure which of these is right. It’s possible that eventually we’ll get both phones.
Elsewhere we’ve heard that Apple could bring Face ID to a future iPhone SE model. That would likely mean a substantial change to the design, with no more home button and a notch instead. However, given that the leaks above suggest a similar design for the iPhone SE 3, this change might be further out (if it happens at all).
In fact, one source said an iPhone 11-like design was on the cards but then backtracked and said that Apple had decided to stick with the iPhone 8-like look for 2022. The source also said that the company plans to use the iPhone 11-like look on the iPhone SE (2024).
iPhone SE 3 specs and features
According to a big leak, the iPhone SE 3 will have an A15 Bionic chipset (the same as in the iPhone 13 range) and support 5G, while another leak says it will also have 3GB of RAM like its predecessor.
Another source agrees, saying that an A15 chipset and 5G will be added, as does a third (adding that it will stick with 64GB, 128GB and 256GB storage sizes), with a fourth source also pointing to 5G – so that upgrade looks very likely.
Elsewhere, a leak says it will also have 3GB of RAM, like its predecessor. So that aspect might not be upgraded.
There’s also another report that echoes all of the above, but adds that the iPhone SE 3 might stick with a 12MP camera like the iPhone SE (2020), but with a new sensor.
What we want to see
As good as the iPhone SE (2020) is, there’s always room for improvement, so here’s what we want from the iPhone SE 3.
1. A modern design
The iPhone SE (2020) has a rather old fashioned design, and certainly an older design than the rest of the current iPhone range. So we’d like to see things brought up to date for the iPhone SE 3.
By that we mean get rid of the home button and the big bezels above and below the screen, for a more modern look. Doing this would also allow Apple to increase the screen size without increasing the overall size of the handset – or alternatively keep the screen the same size and shrink the phone even smaller.
2. An OLED screen with a higher resolution
(Image credit: Future)
The iPhone SE (2020) has an IPS LCD screen with a 750 x 1334 resolution, neither of which are exactly cutting edge.
Now, there are of course limits to what can be done with a mid-range phone, but when you consider that the similarly priced OnePlus Nord and Google Pixel 4a both manage a higher resolution and OLED technology (which typically delivers better contrast and other improvements versus LCD), it’s hard to see how Apple could justify omitting these things from the next iPhone SE model.
That said, we wouldn’t count on getting either – Apple rarely competes with Android phones on pure specs.
3. Better battery life
The iPhone SE (2020) has a small 1,821mAh, which might seem reasonable given the phone’s compact size, but we found it didn’t go far, lasting around a day.
That’s not terrible, but it’s certainly not impressive, so we’d like much more from the battery in the iPhone SE 3, whether that’s achieved through increasing the size or making things more efficient.
4. Keep it small and affordable
The iPhone SE (2020) stands out through both its small size and its relatively affordable price, and we want both of those things to remain for the iPhone SE 3.
There aren’t many compact phones anymore – certainly not ones with good specs, and nor are iPhones known for being affordable, so the two things make for a great combination.
5. More cameras
(Image credit: TechRadar)
The iPhone SE (2020) has just one camera on the back and one on the front, and while they perform reasonably well, they don’t give you the versatility that you can get with more lenses.
Of course, with even the iPhone 13 only having a dual-lens snapper we don’t expect too much more from the iPhone SE 3, but when you consider that rivals like the OnePlus Nord and Moto G 5G Plus have four cameras on the back and two on the front, you’d think an extra lens or two wouldn’t be too much to ask for.
Apple has now embraced 5G on its flagship range, and we really hope the company lets the tech filter down to the iPhone SE 3, as it’s already available on some of the SE (2020)’s key rivals, notably the aforementioned OnePlus Nord and Moto G 5G Plus, among others.
7. A higher refresh rate
Another feature offered by a number of rivals now is a high refresh rate. The iPhone SE (2020) has a 60Hz refresh rate, which until relatively recently was what all handsets other than gaming phones offered, but now numerous mainstream phones have refresh rates of 90Hz or 120Hz.
It’s a feature that the iPhone 13 Pro and iPhone 13 Pro Max offer, but we’re not optimistic that Apple will bring it to the iPhone SE 3, since it’s only on Pro models so far, so Apple is likely to keep the tech as a premium feature for a while.
But it would be great if the company did start including this as a standard feature – it could still differentiate by giving its flagships a 120Hz (or higher) rate, and the iPhone SE 3 a refresh rate of 90Hz.
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