Analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, known for Apple-related prediction, previously stated that Apple had canceled the iPhone SE (4th Gen) altogether. But on Monday, he came up with another tweet stating that Apple is going to restart iPhone SE 4 production with an in-house 5G modem. So, in this article, we will discuss the latest development in the iPhone SE 4 saga.
iPhone SE 4 Rumors Roundup:
Apple’s own 5G modem
According to Kuo, Apple will use its own 5G modem in iPhone SE 4. But its 5G capability will be slightly limited as Apple’s modem only supports sub-6GHz frequencies. And not the faster mmWave 5G. Needless to say, this move hurt Qualcomm’s business with Apple quite significantly.
[Update] Apple has restarted the iPhone SE 4 and will adopt an in-house 5G baseband chip. The significant decline in Qualcomm's Apple orders in the foreseeable future is a foregone conclusion. https://t.co/0MeZDFnbzg
— 郭明錤 (Ming-Chi Kuo) (@mingchikuo) February 27, 2023
In an interview with Wall Street Journal at MWC 2023, Qualcomm’s CEO Cristiano Amon said, “we expect that Apple will do their own modem in 2024 but if they need ours they know where to find us.”
A big design shift
Apple is no stranger to reusing designs from its older phones on the SE lineup. Continuing the established tradition, Apple is also expected to reuse iPhone XR‘s design for the next iPhone SE. Which is a big shift from the iPhone 8 chassis that Apple had been using for the last two generations.
This means iPhone SE 4’s display could stretch 6.1 inches with no Touch ID on the bottom. And the classic bathtub notch on top. As a result, Apple may opt for Face ID or a side-mounted Touch ID here. Just like what we saw on the new iPad Air and iPad Mini.
But it’s likely that Apple will stick with Touch ID to keep the cost down. If so, we can also expect iPhone SE 4’s notch to be smaller than that of the XR. Interestingly, Kuo suggests Apple will use an OLED panel here versus LCD, which will be a slightly modified version of what we saw on the iPhone 14.
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Why did analysts think Apple canceled iPhone SE 4?
The iPhone SE lineup is home to Apple’s most affordable smartphone. And there have been two new iterations since the company dropped the first one in 2016. It was succeeded by iPhone SE (2nd Gen) in 2020, while the third iPhone SE arrived almost two years later in 2022.
Going by this recent timeline, Apple was expected the launch the 4th gen iPhone SE in 2024. However, the company seemed to have dropped the idea altogether. And the main reason for its cancelation was believed to be the lower-than-expected sales of affordable iPhones, including the iPhone SE 3, iPhone 13 mini, and iPhone 14 Plus.
In addition, the added cost of manufacturing for the iPhone SE 4 was also said to have played an influential role in Apple’s decision. The reason all of the previous iPhone SEs were relatively affordable was that they all used the same old chassis. However, the company was planning to take a new route with an all-screen panel on the fourth iPhone SE. Because of this, the price of production is now higher which Apple believes is better invested to combat the upcoming recession in 2023.
Qualcomm could’ve been the biggest winner in this cancellation
Up until now, Apple has been using Qualcomm’s modem in all of its iPhones. However, the company is trying to change that by designing its own RF (Radio Frequency) modem. The initial plan was to test Apple’s first-gen in-house 5G modem in the cheaper iPhone SE before deciding whether the chip is good enough for the premium iPhones.
However, it was believed that with the supposed cancellation of the iPhone SE, Qualcomm will continue to supply RF modules for iPhone well into 2024. With this, it was almost confirmed Qualcomm will secure its position as the market leader for high-end RF modems in 2023 as well as 2024.
- Meanwhile, check out our review of the iPhone 14 Pro Max.