All eyes are on the iPhone 14, which will be unveiled next week at Apple’s Far Out event and will be the company’s biggest launch of the year. But a new rumor suggests that Apple is also charting the next direction for its cheaper iPhone SE line.
YouTube leaker Jon Prosser, who has a mixed record of predictions but has made some impressively accurate calls in the past, has claimed on the Geared Up podcast (via AppleTrack) that the next version of the SE will leave behind the iPhone 8 chassis used on the SE 3 earlier this year and transition to a full-screen design for the first time.
More specifically, Prosser says, the fourth-generation SE will use the iPhone XR’s case and external design. Considering the XR was released in 2018 and the SE 4 won’t be there until 2023 at the earliest (and probably not until spring 2024), that might not sound like a big step forward. But the iPhone SE handsets have always been a compromise in the name of cost, combining up-to-date technical specs with an old-fashioned design for a lower price tag, and it sounds like that’s not going to change.
Still, the upgrade from iPhone 8 to XR chassis is significant as it will finally see the departure of the Home button from the iPhone range.
The Home button has been an iconic and instantly recognizable part of iPhone history since the very first model in 2007. Apple first released an iPhone without a Home button in 2017, replacing it with the notch and swapping Touch ID for Face ID facial recognition, but has continued to sell cheaper handsets with the old button. Prosser says the updated iPhone SE would use Face ID instead of a Touch ID integrated power button like on the iPad mini and iPad Air.
The timing of Prosser’s prediction is interesting, as Apple is strongly tipped to launch its first post-notch iPhone on September 7 (the iPhone 14 Pro is expected to have a “hole + pill” pair of openings instead of a notch; the vanilla 14 will still be notched.) It can be taken as a pointed reminder that the SE line is way behind the flagship models, as they tend to adopt the notch design just when it gets outdated.
We’ll have to wait and see if Prosser is right, and it will probably be a long wait until the next iPhone SE. Since the three models have so far appeared in 2016, 2020 and 2022, it would be a bold expert to predict that the fourth model will appear this side of 2024. But when it arrives, it looks like the Home button’s days are now numbered. Rumors also say that the 10th generation iPad will lose the Home button with the upcoming refresh.