After over a year of rumors, we are finally nearing the release of Apple’s highly-anticipated low-cost iPhone. The 2020 iPhone SE, also previously referred to as the iPhone 9 and iPhone SE 2, is expected to be released imminently. Here’s everything we know about it.
The iPhone SE
As a bit of backstory, the first iPhone SE was introduced in 2016, continuing the iPhone 5-era design amid the launch of devices like the iPhone 6s and iPhone 7. The iPhone SE was positioned at the low-end of the iPhone lineup, priced at $399 for 16GB of storage.
The iPhone SE was unique for offering the specifications of the then-modern iPhone lineup, at a lower-end price and in a smaller form factor. Parts of that will hold true for the 2020 iPhone SE, but there are also some key changes to Apple’s strategy.
2020 iPhone SE design
As reported early on by analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, the 2020 iPhone SE will feature a design similar to that of the iPhone 8. This means the device will have a 4.7-inch display with a Home button, as opposed to the bezel-less design and Face ID authentication of the iPhone 11 lineup.
On the back will reportedly be a single-lens rear camera. In an effort to keep costs low, Apple will keep the camera array of the 2020 iPhone SE relatively simple, though it remains unknown if features like Portrait mode could be enabled via software.
As for colors, Kuo has said that the 2020 iPhone SE will come in space gray, silver, and red. The addition of red is notable, as it is generally a popular color and came to the iPhone 8 lineup in a mid-year update. 9to5Mac also corroborated a lineup of white, black, and PRODUCT(RED).
A set of video renders has offered a closer peak at what the 2020 iPhone SE might look like. These renders depict a home with a form factor nearly identical to the iPhone 8, but with a frosted glass back similar to the iPhone 11 Pro finish. This would create a sense of uniformity among Apple’s iPhone lineup, despite the other differences in design.
Those renders also show that the 2020 iPhone SE might be around 0.5mm thicker than the iPhone 8, measuring in at 7.8mm thick. Other than that difference, the device is expected to be identical to the iPhone 8.
Apple is also believed to be working on a larger “Plus” model of the new iPhone SE, but it is believed that it has been delayed.
All in all, Apple clearly isn’t trying to reinvent the wheel with the 2020 iPhone SE. Instead, it’s sticking to the design that made the iPhone 6, iPhone 7, and iPhone 8 so popular – which makes sense considering the upgraders that Apple is targeting.
Much like with the original iPhone SE, the 2020 iPhone SE will be just as powerful as modern-day iPhones. According to supply chain reports and recently confirmed by 9to5Mac the 2020 iPhone SE will feature Apple’s A13 processor. This is the latest and greatest Apple processor, which is also used in the iPhone 11 and iPhone 11 Pro. The new 2020 iPhone SE will also reportedly feature 3GB of RAM, which is 1GB less than the iPhone 11 lineup, but still more than enough for almost anything you could throw at it.
While there are whispers that Apple is working on an iPhone that supports both Face ID and Touch ID, don’t expect the 2020 iPhone SE to be that device. With an iPhone 8-like design, it’s expected that the 2020 iPhone SE will support Touch ID for biometric authentication.
Also new to the 2020 iPhone SE compared to the iPhone 8 that it replaces: Express Card and future CarKey support.
Most notably, the inclusion of the A13 processor means that the 2020 iPhone SE will be supported by iOS for years to come. Apple is targeting iPhone 6 users with the new iPhone SE, and those people have been holding onto their phones for as long as five years. Thanks to the A13 processor, they should be able to do the same with the this year’s device.
2020 iPhone SE pricing + release
According to Kuo, Apple is targeting a $399 entry-level price for the new iPhone SE with 64GB of storage. 9to5Mac has also confirmed three storage tiers for the new iPhone SE:
The original iPhone SE debuted back in 2016 at $399 for a 16 GB configuration. When Apple discontinued the SE in 2017, the entry price had dropped to $349 and the base storage capacity had been doubled to 32 GB. Essentially, you’ll be able to get the 2020 iPhone SE for the same price as the original iPhone SE, but with 4 times as much storage.
What about the current iPhone 8? It’s still available in Apple’s lineup, with the company selling the 64GB iPhone 8 for $449. Given that the new iPhone SE will likely be cheaper and more powerful, one has to assume that the iPhone 8 will be removed from Apple’s lineup in conjunction with this year’s launch.
When should we expect the 2020 iPhone SE to be released? 9to5Mac reported this week that the launch is imminent. We also learned from a separate source earlier this week that retailers are preparing to start merchandising cases for the new iPhone starting Sunday, which doesn’t rule out an official announcement early next week.
2020 iPhone SE naming
Last but not least, a note on naming. Kuo regularly referred to this low-end, 4.7-inch iPhone as the “iPhone SE 2.” As we have pointed out, this new iPhone isn’t a followup to the iPhone SE in terms of form factor.
The original iPhone SE featured a 4-inch display, which is what made it so popular among many people. The so-called iPhone SE 2 will get significantly bigger at 4.7-inches, with the goal being to bring iOS 13 to more users – not to appeal to those who like the smallest possible phone. This led to the belief that the device could be marketed as the iPhone 9.
But this week, 9to5Mac learned new information about the device. Based on what we learned, Apple will simply call the new entry-level model “iPhone SE” while referencing the new hardware as the 2020 version.
As reports have said, Apple’s goal with the 2020 iPhone SE is to incentivize those still using the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus to upgrade. That makes quite a bit of sense, especially considering that those devices were dropped by iOS 13 this year.
Because iOS 13 is not supported on the iPhone 6 series, those users are unable to access Apple’s newest services such as Apple Arcade and Apple TV+. A modern, low-cost iPhone SE makes it easier for those users to upgrade and therefore increases the active user base capable of accessing Apple Arcade and Apple TV+.
Apple’s goal is clearly to drive more users towards its subscription services, even if that means offering more affordable, yet just as powerful iPhone hardware. Analysts have predicted that Apple could sell over 30 million 2020 iPhone SE phones across all of 2020.
Again, what you shouldn’t expect from the 2020 iPhone SE is a 4-inch followup to the original iPhone SE. Apple has clearly changed its trajectory, and seemingly has no plans to release another 4-inch iPhone.
What do you think of the rumors surrounding the 2020 iPhone SE? Let us know down in the comments.