While we already have some clear indications of what to expect from the fourth-generation iPhone SE, there are currently three main issues facing the device.
Chinese site MyDrivers and leaker Jon Prosser believe the iPhone SE will move to an iPhone XR-like design in its next iteration, which would involve doing away with the home button and adding a “notch” cutout at the top of the display. This change seems likely, since Apple’s “SE” products have been using the design of older devices.
The iPhone SE could launch after the release of the iPhone 15 series in 2023. The two standard iPhone 15 models are expected to feature the A16 Bionic chip found in this year’s iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max, so it’s possible that the iPhone SE will also feature it — especially since the current iPhone SE already includes the A15 Bionic chip.
The device isn’t expected to launch until 2024, and insightful display analyst Ross Young recently said that Apple is considering several decisions related to the next-generation iPhone SE.
According to Young, Apple is considering displays between 5.7-inches and 6.1-inches in size from two different suppliers for the fourth-generation iPhone SE. It is worth noting that the iPhone XR, the device that the next-generation iPhone SE is purportedly based on, featured a 6.1-inch display. Moreover, Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo previously said that Apple was working on an iPhone SE with this exact display size.
Both the 5.7- and 6.1-inch display sizes have been rumored in the past, and Apple not yet making a final decision explains why we continue to hear about two different panel sizes.
Display Technology: LCD or OLED?
In his most recent report on the matter, Young said that the 5.7- to 6.1-inch displays being considered by Apple feature LCD technology, just like the current iPhone SE, but the company is also weighing up simply opting for a 6.1-inch OLED display, the likes of which have been offered on the iPhone 12 and iPhone 13.
The iPhone X launched in 2017 as the first OLED iPhone, and ever since the launch of the iPhone 12 in 2020, all of Apple’s main iPhone models feature OLED displays. OLED display technology is more expensive than LCD, but it delivers better efficiency, “true” blacks, high contrast, and high dynamic range. It is possible that OLED panels have come down in price sufficiently for Apple to use them for the iPhone SE, which is positioned as an entry-level device, especially as it is not set to launch for over a year.
Touch ID or Face ID?
In moving to an all-screen design like the iPhone XR, there would presumably no longer be space for a capacitive Touch ID Home button in the iPhone SE’s bottom bezel, so Apple seemingly has no choice but to offer a Touch ID Side button, under-display Touch ID technology, or Face ID.
Multiple reports, including information from MyDrivers and Ming-Chi Kuo, suggest that Apple plans to add a Touch ID side button to the iPhone SE. The latest iPad, iPad Air, and iPad mini models have Touch ID integrated into the top button, but no iPhones offer the feature yet. As Apple’s cheapest iPhone product and to keep costs down, the iPhone SE has never had Face ID technology, sticking with a capacitive Touch ID Home button like older iPhone models. So it makes sense that the iPhone SE would be the first iPhone model to get the updated side-button Touch ID implementation.
Since the iPhone SE is expected to have a notch at the top of the display, it’s also possible that it will bypass Touch ID in favor of Face ID, according to Young. By 2024, “Face ID” will be seven years away, which means that probably enough time has passed to justify bringing the technology to entry-level devices. With under-display Touch ID technology currently not offered on even the flagship iPhone models, this seems like the least likely option for Apple to introduce its cheapest iPhone models. The authentication technology Apple will choose for the fourth-generation iPhone SE may become clearer if more information about the device surfaces in the coming months.
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