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iPhone SE 3 design might get a big upgrade in 2022

Published Oct 24th, 2021 1:17PM EDT
iPhone SE 3 Design
Image: Christian de Looper for BGR

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The $399 iPhone SE 2 is a device with no rival in the industry, and that was particularly evident last year. The iPhone SE 2 launched with the same processor as the iPhone 11, which was Apple’s newest flagship at the time. And it featured the Touch ID feature that many people craved. More than a year later, there’s no iPhone SE 3 update in stores featuring the same chip as the iPhone 12. That’s because these special edition iPhones aren’t annual releases. But Apple will reportedly launch the iPhone SE 3 next year and fix the worst thing about the iPhone SE 2 in the process.

The obvious “issue” with the iPhone SE 2 is the classic iPhone design. The phone has large top and bottom bezels, as it uses the same design as the iPhone 8 series. That’s the price to pay for Touch ID on an iPhone now that the notch dominates the iPhone landscape. While the iPhone SE 2 has no rivals in terms of performance, when you look at mid-range Androids that retail for $399, those rivals do feature large all-screen displays.

iPhone SE 3 design rumors

According to MyDrivers, the iPhone SE 3 will feature a brand new design. This time, Apple will use the iPhone XR chassis rather than the iPhone 8. But Apple won’t ditch the Touch ID sensor in favor of Face ID. Instead of a Touch ID home button, the iPhone SE 3 will reportedly feature a Touch ID button on the side.

Apple already uses this technology for Touch ID on the iPad Air 4 and iPad mini 6. Placing a touch ID sensor on the side is also something we’ve seen before on Android phones. That said, we’re still looking at an unconfirmed rumor.

The iPhone SE 3 will still feature an LCD screen, reportedly being the last iPhone to feature this type of display.

The same rumor indicates the iPhone SE 3 will feature the A15 Bionic chip that powers the iPhone 13 series. That’s certainly the expectation for any next-gen iPhone SE model — to pack the same hardware as the high-end iPhone.

Finally, the iPhone SE 3 should feature 5G connectivity. Considering that all iPhones now have 5G support, that’s not a surprise. The report notes that the iPhone SE 3 will still start at $399. The lowest price tier will supposedly have 64GB of storage.

The design controversy

The iPhone SE 3 design is the only thing that’s puzzling in this report. That’s because other reports claimed the iPhone SE 3 will feature the same design as the iPhone SE 2. Initially, Ming-Chi Kuo and Ross Young said that the iPhone SE 3 will feature a 6.1-inch display like the iPhone XR with Touch ID on the side. But both insiders changed their expectations this year, saying that the iPhone SE 3 will look just like its predecessors. Other reports made similar claims.

Young still expects a 6.1-inch iPhone SE down the road. That phone might launch in 2023 at the earliest, packing a hole-punch selfie camera.

We’ll know more as we approach spring 2022, which is when Apple would normally unveil a new iPhone SE model.

Chris Smith Senior Writer

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he brings his entertainment expertise to Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises.

Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.