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These new renders might show the unreleased iPhone of your dreams

Published Mar 31st, 2021 9:00AM EDT
iPhone SE Plus
Image: Apple

The original iPhone SE release in 2016 was something of a godsend. At a time when iPhone models were getting increasingly bigger and unwieldy for folks who preferred a smaller form factor, the iPhone SE came around and offered some of Apple’s most advanced technologies in a size similar to Apple’s beloved iPhone 5.

The success of the original iPhone SE even caught Apple executives by surprise and helped illustrate that while large phones are great for some, they’re not ideal for everyone. Still, Apple for some reason decided to wait a full four years before releasing a revamped iPhone SE in April of last year. The updated iPhone SE was long overdue, but rumor has it that we won’t have to wait another four years before Apple issues a refresh. Specifically, an updated iPhone SE with support for 5G may arrive as early as 2022.

What’s more, there are even reports that Apple may introduce an iPhone SE Plus at some point in the near future. Such a device would presumably be positioned for folks who want a larger iPhone display without having to shelve out top dollar for one of Apple’s more premium devices.

According to an April 2020 report from reputed analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, an iPhone SE Plus would boast a 5.5-inch display and may arrive sometime during the second half of 2021. Kuo’s initial projection, however, was made before the full impact of COVID-19 was known, which is to say Apple’s product release schedule may have shifted substantially since then. To this point, word has it that Apple’s AirPods Pro 2 release was delayed by at least six months due to development and manufacturing issues stemming from the coronavirus pandemic.

In the interim, a YouTuber by the name of the Hacker 34 put together an intriguing concept video that imagines what an iPhone SE Plus might look like. The design boasts a Touch ID sensor built into the power button itself which is actually something Apple has reportedly been trying to develop. The design also features an edge-to-edge display, MagSafe charging, and of course, 5G connectivity.

The suggested price for the iPhone SE Plus here is $499, which seems like a fair $100 markup over the regular-sized iPhone SE introduced last year.

If we’re being honest, though, the iPhone SE Plus envisioned above basically seems to be a watered-down iPhone 12 Mini. That, of course, begs the question: would an iPhone SE Plus be different enough from an iPhone 12 or iPhone 13 Mini to justify the existence of both products? Truthfully, it’s hard to say, especially in light of reports that the iPhone 12 Mini isn’t selling as well as Apple anticipated. Over the past few weeks, we’ve seen several reports indicate that Apple scaled back iPhone 12 Mini production in a meaningful way due to lower than expected sales. In light of that, perhaps Apple will eventually scrap the iPhone Mini line and replace it with an iPhone SE Plus.

Regardless, as long as Apple makes a point to offer up a smaller-sized iPhone with advanced internals, it doesn’t really matter what Apple decides to call it.

Yoni Heisler Contributing Writer

Yoni Heisler has been writing about Apple and the tech industry at large with over 15 years of experience. A life long expert Mac user and Apple expert, his writing has appeared in Edible Apple, Network World, MacLife, Macworld UK, and TUAW.

When not analyzing the latest happenings with Apple, Yoni enjoys catching Improv shows in Chicago, playing soccer, and cultivating new TV show addictions.