Will Apple update the iPhone SE 2020 in 2021? Possibly – here’s all the latest news and leaks, plus what we’d like to see…
But what does the future hold for Apple’s iPhone SE line of phones? Will there be an iPhone SE 3 in 2021? And if so, what will that phone be like? How will Apple update it? Let’s investigate…
iPhone SE 2021 Release Date
The iPhone SE 2020 launched in April 2020. Apple likes to be pretty regular with its updates. We always get new iPhones around the same time every year – late-Q3.
Using this logic, if a new iPhone SE model is coming – and it is called the iPhone SE 3 or iPhone SE 2021 – then it stands to reason that the phone will launch in and around April 2021.
This launch period is great for Apple, as it gives it a fresh sales period, and more revenue, during the early part of each new year. Sales of its standard iPhones are always good, year-round, but having a cheaper option to bulk out sales (and revenues) during Q1 and Q2 will always be welcome.
For this reason, if we do get another iPhone SE in 2021, it will most likely launch in and around April 2021.
Adding fuel to this idea is a couple of new leaks via Macotakara that suggest the iPhone SE 2021 will, indeed, launch in March. According to the reports, the new iPhone SE 2021 will launch alongside a new pair of Apple AirPods (like the AirPods Pro 2) and likely get a release date sometime in April.
The next question is what kind of spec will the iPhone SE 2021 (AKA iPhone SE 3) carry? Will it keep the home button? Or, will Apple move the platform over to its more modern design which uses FACE ID in place of a home button. As of right now, no one knows. But the addition of 5G is almost a certainty.
iPhone SE 3 Specs – How Will It Be Updated?
The iPhone SE 2020 was based on the iPhone 8. It looked more or less the same and carried many of its internal specs and features. The CPU was updated, of course, and Apple tweaked the camera. But that was about it. For all intents and purposes, the iPhone SE 2020 was an iPhone 8 redux.
With this in mind, the next logical step, if Apple does release and iPhone SE 3 in 2021, would be to base the model on its iPhone 11. It couldn’t use the iPhone XR, for example, because that phone is too similar, in terms of spec, to the current iPhone SE 2020 model.
Basing the iPhone SE 3 on the iPhone 11 would mean the phone would feature a dual-12MP camera on the rear, have more RAM, a larger display (potentially LCD, but it could be OLED), and a slightly different design. It would look and feel like an iPhone 11 and that means it would have a 6.1in display.
And because Apple now has its iPhone 12 Mini, I don’t really see the need for a small iPhone again. A cheap iPhone, sure, but not a small one. For this reason, as well as what’s been outlined above, if we do get an iPhone SE 3 it will almost certainly be based on the iPhone 11.
That means it will either have a 6.1in display or a 5.8in display like the iPhone 11 Pro. If I were a betting man, I’d wager that Apple will use the iPhone 11 Pro’s design and chassis outfitted with the iPhone 11’s internal specs.
That would keep the size down and ensure great performance, as it would almost certainly run Apple’s A14 CPU.
How Much Will iPhone SE 3 Cost?
Price is obviously a big bone of contention with this kind of release. The iPhone SE 3 will obviously be cheaper than the base-model iPhone 12, but it will, again, almost certainly be more expensive than its predecessor, the iPhone SE 2020.
Why? Because the iPhone SE 3 will feature improved specs, a new design, and will likely also run 5G – and these updates will cost money which will be passed on to you, the consumer. The only question is how much more will the iPhone SE 3 cost compared to the iPhone SE 2020?
The OG iPhone SE cost $399 (for 16GB model) and the iPhone SE 2020 cost $399 for the base model, so the iPhone SE 3 could – theoretically – start at $399 too, however, I do not see this happening.
Apple will want to keep a cheaper iPhone option around, but I think it will almost certainly raise the price of the iPhone SE 3 in 2021. I think the handset will still be available for less than $500, that’s the sweet spot, but it will almost certainly cost more than $399 – most likely $450 or thereabouts.
Having said that, if Google can produce a cheap 5G phone for less than $400, in the form of the Pixel 4a 5G, I don’t see why Apple cannot do the same. DO and WANT are two very different things, however, and Apple usually WANTS to charge more for its products, so expect a sizeable price hike with the iPhone SE 3 in 2021.
iPhone SE 3 Camera
If the iPhone SE 3 is indeed based on the iPhone 11, it means you’ll be looking at the iPhone 11’s dual-12MP camera setup on the rear. Based on this theory, this could be what the iPhone SE 3’s camera spec sheet looks like:
iPhone SE 3 Camera Specs:
- Main Camera – 12 MP, f/1.8, 26mm (wide), 1/2.55″, 1.4µm, dual pixel PDAF, OIS + 12 MP, f/2.4, 120˚, 13mm (ultrawide), 1/3.6″ Features Dual-LED dual-tone flash, HDR (photo/panorama)
- Front Camera – 12 MP, f/2.2, 23mm (wide), 1/3.6″ + SL 3D, (depth/biometrics sensor) & HDR
And if that is indeed the case, the iPhone SE 3 will be a MAJOR update in the camera department. In fact, compared to the iPhone SE 2020’s camera, it would be a quantum leap with respect to performance and image/video quality.
Add in a lower price than Apple’s iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Mini – plus the inclusion of 5G – and Apple’s iPhone SE 3 could well be one of the best mobile phones to buy in 2021.
Based on all of the above, I know I am definitely interested in seeing what happens with this phone, providing we actually get one!
Nothing is yet confirmed, so it is entirely possible that Apple could not update its iPhone SE 2020 next year and, instead, wait until 2022 as some have claimed.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Will There Be An iPhone SE 3?
Nothing is confirmed as yet. But Apple does need a cheaper iPhone option to keep itself competitive, especially as there are now more and more affordable 5G phones coming to market. For this reason, while not anywhere near confirmed, an iPhone SE 3 release in 2021 does seem more likely than not.
Q: When Will The iPhone SE 3 Get A Release?
If Apple does release an iPhone SE 3, it will almost certainly launch inside the same time-frame as the iPhone SE 2020, meaning in and around April 2021. Apple likes to follow tight release schedules, so if it sticks to its guns with the iPhone SE 3, we could see the phone launched and released during late-Q1, early-Q2 2021.
Q: What Specs Will The iPhone SE 3 Have?
The iPhone SE 3 will almost certainly be based on the iPhone 11. It will feature the same design as the iPhone 11, likely based on the iPhone 11 Pro’s chassis, just with iPhone 11 internal spec. It will feature Apple’s A14 CPU, like the iPhone 12 range, and potentially 5G too. Whether the iPhone SE 3 will have an OLED display remains to be seen. I wouldn’t hold your breath, though…
Richard Goodwin has been working as a tech journalist for over 10 years. He is the editor and owner of KnowYourMobile.