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iPhone SE 3 launch to happen in April at the earliest

Published Jan 20th, 2022 7:31AM EST
iPhone SE
Image: Apple

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The iPhone SE 3 appeared in several reports recently, a sign that Apple will soon launch the third-gen iPhone SE version. Some of these reports said Apple might unveil the iPhone SE 3 and iPad Air 5 in March or April. Furthermore, a regulator’s database revealed new entries for products running iOS 15 and iPadOS 15 that fit the narrative that Apple will soon launch the new iPhone SE and iPad Air models. A trusted display analyst who has provided accurate information about unreleased devices, including iPhones, has a better release date window estimate for the iPhone SE 3. If his information is accurate, the new entry-level iPhone SE will not hit stores sooner than the second half of April.

The iPhone SE 3 will be identical to the current model, which means the iPhone 8 design will survive at least one more year. But Apple will upgrade the internal components. That means fitting this iPhone 8 variant with powerful hardware that ships with the iPhone 13 series.

As a result, the iPhone SE 3 will feature an A15 Bionic chip and 5G support, just like every iPhone 13 model. But, unlike the iPhone 13, the iPhone SE 3 will be a lot cheaper. The iPhone SE 2 costs $399, compared to $729 for the iPhone 13 mini. Apple will likely target the same entry price for the iPhone SE 3, but that’s just speculation at this point.

The iPhone SE 3 launch window

iPhone SE launch events usually occur in spring, so that’s when we’d expect the iPhone SE 3 regardless of what leaks say. The first-gen iPhone SE dropped in March 2016, and the current version launched in April 2020.

Apple routinely holds press events in the spring to launch new devices. The expectation is that Apple will host a spring event for the iPhone SE and iPad Air 2. It’s unclear whether Apple has other hardware products to unveil at this time.

But display expert Ross Young doesn’t expect the iPhone SE 3 to hit stores any sooner than the second half of April.

“Apple 5G SE model starting panel production this month,” Ross tweeted. “Phone production likely from March. This means a launch is likely for 2H April/early May with shipments from late April or early May.”

Responding to a different user, Ross also made it clear that the iPhone SE will stick with an LCD screen just like its predecessor. “Once flexible OLED prices approach LCD prices, which will be a while,” the iPhone SE might get an OLED screen.

Ross said in previous remarks that a larger “iPhone SE Plus” might launch next year, featuring a 5.7-inch LCD screen. The iPhone SE is the only new iPhone in Apple’s lineup that features an LCD panel.

Display production aside, Apple is also dealing with the ongoing chip shortages that have disrupted plenty of supply chains, including the iPhone’s. As such, launch delays are only to be expected for new devices, even the cheaper iPhone SE 3.

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.