The iPhone SE 3 has a high bar to clear. For a mere $399, the iPhone SE (2020) delivers a powerful A13 Bionic chip in a compact body. Despite some weaknesses, the phone is overall a great value.
With the iPhone SE 3, we’re hearing that Apple will offer at least two big upgrades for 2022: 5G connectivity and the same powerful A15 Bionic chip that’s found in the iPhone 13.
Unfortunately, it could be that Apple is sticking with the same design on the iPhone SE 3 as the current iPhone SE. But we hope that is not the case.
Here’s everything we know so far about the iPhone SE 3.
A suite of rumors have the iPhone SE 3 tipped to be released in the first quarter of 2022.
And the latest report has once again hammered home the point that the Apple iPhone SE 3 is apparently on target for a release early next year. This would make sense as it would be nearly two years since the iPhone SE 2020 made its debut and would make it due a refresh.
iPhone SE 3 name: iPhone SE Plus?
According to display analyst Ross Young, Apple will call the iPhone SE 3 the iPhone SE Plus when it debuts next year. This would be a surprise since Apple used to apply the Plus moniker to larger screen devices and Young believes that the iPhone SE Plus will stick with a 4.7-inch panel.
Interestingly, Young claims that a larger 5.7 to 6.1-inch iPhone SE 3 will launch in 2024.
iPhone SE 3 potential price
We don’t know much about the iPhone SE 3’s price right now, but we think Apple will still aim for that $399 price point. It’s the price-to-performance ratio that makes the SE (2020) so appealing for a lot of people, and it would be foolish of Apple to buck that.
One leaker has the iPhone SE 3 priced at 3,499 yuan, which converts to $542. That seems steep to us and such currency conversion are rarely accurate.
iPhone SE 3 specs
We don’t know much about the iPhone SE 3 specs so far, but the Macotakara report says that the new iPhone SE will be powered by the A15 Bionic chip. This is the same processor found in the iPhone 13. So the iPhone SE 3 could easily be the fastest cheap phone around.
Another key upgrade tipped for the iPhone SE 3 is 5G connectivity, which seems like a no-brainer for any phone in 2022. Google already has a cheap 5G phone of its own in the Pixel 5a.
iPhone SE 3 design
The iPhone SE (2020) used the same exact body as the iPhone 8. It was an effective cost-saving measure, even if that phone’s design looks severely outdated by today’s standards.
The bad news is that the iPhone SE 3 could sport the same design as the current iPhone SE. That would be a 4.7-inch display, chunky bezels and a physical Touch ID button. We’re hoping that’s not the case, but analyst Ross Young also backs up this claim, saying that the iPhone SE Plus will sport a 4.7-inch display and 5G. According to him, that’s the name of the next iPhone SE handset, not iPhone SE 3.
Concept renders of the iPhone SE 3 see it more as a reimagined iPhone XR, with the phone adopting Face ID via a display notch and dropping the Touch ID-equipped home button.
This design is certainly sleeker, but we’d be curious to see if Apple didn’t go another direction, say making use of a punch hole selfie camera and putting a fingerprint scanner in the phone’s power button similar to the iPad Air 2020.
iPhone SE 3 cameras
The iPhone SE 2020 takes good-looking photos, thanks to Apple’s computational photography, but it packs only a single lens. We’d like to see Apple add an ultrawide lens for the iPhone SE 3.
Apple also needs to give the iPhone SE 3 a night mode to better compete with the Pixel 5a. The front camera could also use an upgrade on the iPhone SE 3, as the current selfie shooter is stuck at 7MP.
iPhone SE 3 battery and charging
A notable weakness for the iPhone SE was the battery life. In the Tom’s Guide battery life test, the iPhone SE managed 9 hours and 18 minutes, and that was over 4G. Fortunately, the A15 Bionic processor should help the iPhone SE be more efficient, and we’re hoping Apple is also able to squeeze in a larger battery.
iPhone SE 3 name: Will it be the SE 3 or the SE Plus?
We’ve heard about an iPhone SE Plus, which may or may not be the same as the iPhone SE 3. Rumours suggest that this may be a larger affordable iPhone and it’s difficult to tell if it’s actually the iPhone SE 3.
Right now, we just don’t know. Apple could release two new models, a smaller version and a larger one. Both handsets would target the affordable mid-range market. We’ll just need to wait for further leaks on Apple’s plans.
iPhone SE 3: What we want to see
As good as the iPhone SE (2020) is, we’d like to see a few things improved for its successor.
5G: Now that other phone makers are releasing 5G phones for under $500 and even under $400, it’s time that Apple does the same for its budget handset. Although 5G networks are still be deployed, shoppers deserve future-proof connectivity.
OLED display and higher resolution: The LCD on the iPhone SE (2020) is fine, but we’d like to see a better OLED display on the iPhone SE 3. This would mean punchier colors and deeper blacks with better contrast. We’d also like to see a bump in resolution. The pixel density on the iPhone SE (2020) isn’t all that great either at 1334 x 750.
Better battery life: Like we said above, the battery life on the iPhone SE (2020) is just alright. It doesn’t hit the 10-hour mark average that we like to see in our battery tests, but it can get through a day with light to medium use. For the iPhone SE 3, we hope that Apple uses a bigger battery.
More cameras and Night Mode: The iPhone SE (2020) uses a single 12MP wide-angle camera. It produces decent photos, but in some cases Apple falls behind the Pixel 5a. If the iPhone SE 3 adds an extra camera, we’d expect it to be an ultrawide sensor. We also really want Night Mode since the SE (2020) lacks it.
Slimmer bezels: The iPhone 8 was a nice device for its time, but it predated the radical redesign that came with the iPhone X. As phones use slimmer and slimmer bezels, the iPhone 8 body begins to look old and out of fashion. We hope that Apple will update the design for the iPhone SE 3 and make it look more modern. Other affordable phones look more modern.