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These crazy iPhone SE Plus concepts would destroy Android

Published Jan 28th, 2021 6:50AM EST
iPhone SE Plus 2021
Image: Apple Inc.

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  • Apple is rumored to launch an iPhone SE Plus phone at some point in the coming months.
  • A couple of iPhone SE Plus concepts propose a new design for the phone that could turn out to be a major nightmare to Android vendors.
  • An all-screen design, combined with iPhone 12-grade hardware and an affordable price tag, would make the iPhone SE Plus a phone just too good to pass up.

When Apple launched the iPhone SE (2020) last year, it delivered a major blow to Android device makers everywhere. The $399 iPhone SE is just as powerful as the iPhone 11, thanks to that A13 Bionic chip. That chip also powers a better camera experience than the iPhone XR, the best-sold iPhone model of the series that preceded the iPhone 11. Apple came out with the iPhone SE before Google had time to launch its own affordable Pixel 4a phone, and several months before Samsung launched an affordable Galaxy S20 variation (the FE model). And the iPhone SE launch happened in the first months of the coronavirus pandemic, which were hectic times, as the world was still learning how to deal with the new health threat.

The iPhone SE does have a huge downside when compared to similarly priced Androids. The handset features the same design as the iPhone 8, complete with huge bezels at the top and bottom. People who love Touch ID might appreciate it, but the iPhone SE’s screen-to-body ratio is hardly appealing in this particular smartphone era. But what if the iPhone SE Plus phone that’s supposed to launch this year will ditch the expected iPhone 8 Plus design in favor of something more appealing?

If any of the following concepts are remotely close to the iPhone SE Plus’s final design, then Apple might be sitting on the ultimate Android killer. The iPhone 12 is already selling incredibly well, outperforming rivals and expectations. On top of that, Apple also stocks the iPhone XR and iPhone 11, which are still worthy devices, with the latter actually offering better performance than all 2020 Android flagships. But a cheaper entry-level iPhone SE Plus that delivers an all-screen design and top hardware would be something else.

First up, we have an iPhone SE Plus concept coming from Twitter user @apple_lab that proposes a 6.1-inch LCD screen, A14 or A13 processor, 12-megapixel main camera, and Touch ID in the Home Button. This phone would retail for $499 or €589.

There are a few problems with this whole concept that need addressing. First of all, the phone still has a notch, which wouldn’t be necessary if there’s Touch ID in the home button. But then, where’s the home button? Apple is yet to introduce under-screen Touch ID, and that’s the kind of feature we’d expect to see on the iPhone 13. And the Touch ID power button trick we saw on the 2020 iPad Air is an iPad Air-only feature for now.

As for the price, that $499 price slot is already taken. That’s how much a 64GB iPhone XR would cost you. Could Apple replace the XR with a new XE Plus? Absolutely, but no rumors are pointing to such a change.

The second iPhone SE (2021) concept is even crazier. Like the concept above, Slovakian blog Svetapple created an all-screen iPhone SE concept. But this one doesn’t have a notch, being based on the iPhone 12 mini design.

Image source: Svetapple

We’re looking at a hole-punch camera design similar to what’s available on Android, with Touch ID placed in the power button like the iPad Air. Apple has been studying hole-punch cameras as well, long before Samsung launched the Galaxy S10. Apple could one day equip iPhones and iPads with such technology, but there’s no telling when that will happen. This is, after all, a concept that’s not backed up by any rumors.

Not to mention that the iPhone SE the Slovakian blog created sounds too good to be true. Apple isn’t likely to pack an OLED screen, A14 Bionic support, Touch ID, and MagSafe charging in a phone that’s supposed to be marginally more expensive than the iPhone SE. These are high-end, costly features that would raise the price tag significantly. Of course, Apple could lower its margins and make this phone. But it doesn’t look like the company is compelled to do that. The expensive iPhones are still selling like hotcakes despite the pandemic.

But if the iPhone SE Plus does come out with some sort of an all-screen display, A14 Bionic support, 5G, and a sub $500 price tag, this will put tremendous pressure on all the Android device makers that are just about to launch new 2021 flagships and affordable handsets.

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.

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