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This exciting iPhone SE 4 rumor might upset iPhone 15 buyers

Published Aug 14th, 2023 11:39AM EDT
iPhone 14 design.
Image: Christian de Looper for BGR

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The iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Pro Max are just around the corner, and the iPhone 15 already looks like a much better buy than the iPhone 14. Especially if you’re not ready to spend more money on the pricier Pro and Pro Max versions. But word on the street is that Apple is also going forward with a new iPhone SE 4 that is based on the iPhone 14. Depending on when it hits stores, however, such a handset might upset some iPhone 15 buyers.

In early July, iPhone SE 4 rumors said the handset might launch in 2025, as Apple was struggling with OLED screen supply for the handset.

That was already an exciting development for the next-gen iPhone SE model. Using OLED screens instead of LCD means all of Apple’s iPhone models would have OLED panels. Also, using the iPhone 14 design as a base for the iPhone SE 4 is a great approach. Previous rumors said the iPhone 11 chassis would serve as the basis for the iPhone SE 4.

The iPhone 14 design is a variation of the 2020 iPhone 12 design. The iPhone 11 is a variation of the older iPhone X design that Apple introduced all the way back in 2017.

Fast-forward to mid-August and leaker Unknownz21 reiterated claims that the iPhone SE 4 will be an iPhone 14 variation.

The leaker said the iPhone SE 4 will be similar to the iPhone 14, but not quite the same handset. Also, he said the notch design, the cameras, and another mysterious feature would differentiate the iPhone SE 4 from the base iPhone 15.

Unknownz21 expanded on that tweet a couple of days later, listing the purported iPhone SE 4 features. The phone will apparently feature Face ID, USB-C connectivity, the iPhone 15 Pro’s Action button, and one rear-facing camera.

About a year ago, I thought that Apple keeping the iPhone 11 in stock and selling it for $399 would have been an amazing idea. It would effectively become a killer iPhone SE 4 device. Apple never did that and never followed up with an iPhone 11-derived iPhone SE variant. But an iPhone SE 4 based on the iPhone 14 is an even better idea.

If the claims above are accurate, the iPhone SE 4 will be a tremendous handset.

But why might an iPhone SE 4 upset iPhone 15 buyers? If Apple can release it in early 2024, then the iPhone 14 will have a big advantage over the iPhone 15, the Action button. However, it’ll feature just one camera.

But the inclusion of the Action button in an iPhone 14 design would indicate Apple could have added an Action button to the regular iPhone 15. The two iPhone designs are almost identical.

If the iPhone SE 4 isn’t released until 2025, it’s another matter entirely. By then, I’d expect all iPhone 16 variants to feature Action buttons.

But I’d speculate the 2025 iPhone SE 4 will have another advantage over the base iPhone 15 by that time, one the leaker doesn’t mention. It seems likely for the iPhone SE 4 to get the powerful A17 Bionic chip in 2025. The processor is now reserved for the iPhone 15 Pro models. But it should power Apple’s cheaper iPhone 16 models next year.

That said, you should not avoid the iPhone 15 if you need an upgrade right now just because rumors tease a great iPhone SE 4 coming in the next two years.

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.