The good news is that Apple is working on a successor to the surprisingly popular iPhone SE. The bad news is that the device, at least from some of the early rumors floating around, will not be a device devoted iPhone SE users will be interested in in the slightest.
While Apple rumors are a dime a dozen, analyst Ming-Chi Kuo over the past few years has proven himself to be exceptionally accurate with his predictions. Most recently, Kuo issued a research note indicating that Apple’s iPhone SE 2 will boast a form factor similar to the iPhone 8, complete with a 4.7-inch display. Additionally, the iPhone SE 2 will boast a Touch ID sensor, Apple’s latest A13 processor, and a single-lens camera on the back.
All of that sounds great, but for the fact that the iPhone SE 2 will boast a form factor similar to the iPhone 8. The core appeal of the iPhone SE is that it offered users advanced hardware in a compact form factor, something that’s become increasingly hard to find as companies like Apple continue to churn out devices with gargantuan screens. The iPhone SE 2, in essence, is defined by its 4-inch display and compact form factor, a design which makes the device incredibly easy to use with just one hand.
If Kuo’s report is accurate — and this is a rare instance where I hope it’s not — Apple will essentially be offering users an upgraded version of the iPhone 8. And yet, some analysts believe that the iPhone 8 will help drive iPhone sales in 2020 as customers still using iPhone 6 and 7 models will be attracted to the iPhone SE 2’s cheaper price point.
Here’s the problem with that, though; the iPhone 8 is already available at a cheap price point. If customers are looking for an affordable upgrade option, it already exists. As far as I can tell, it seems that Apple is simply planning to upgrade the iPhone 8 with more up to date internals and a more advanced camera. Suffice it to say, it’s not a device worthy of the iPhone SE 2 moniker.
Many iPhone SE fans over the past few years have been dreaming of a compact device with an edge to edge display, similar to what Apple introduced with the iPhone X and illustrated in the concept rendering below.
Unfortunately, if the iPhone SE 2 is said to boast Touch ID, it stands to reason that we won’t see a svelte design with an edge to edge display, but rather an updated iPhone 8 with limited appeal across the board.
The original iPhone SE filled a gap in Apple’s product lineup and it’s been shocking to see Apple completely neglect it for what’s pushing on four years now. What makes this all the more surprising is that the iPhone SE proved to be wildly more popular than even Apple imagined.
“We’re thrilled with the response that we’ve seen on it,” Tim Cook said about the iPhone SE during an earnings conference call back in 2016. “It is clear that there is a demand there even much beyond what we thought.”
The demand was the result of the form factor, not the price. Hopefully, Apple can appreciate this and deliver an iPhone SE 2 that customers will actually want.