iPhone SE 3 reaches its first market for testing

Report claims Apple is already testing the iPhone SE 3 at least in one market
According to a just-leaked report, the initial models of the Apple iPhone SE 3 (or iPhone SE 2022) have just reached their first market. Specifically, a total of three model numbers have been discovered making their way to India for preliminary testing, in preparation for a wider release.

Budget iPhones are (intentionally) a rare commodity these past years. So far, Apple has only released a total of two iPhone SE models, with the launch dates being few and very far between. The last one was released in 2020, or two years ago.

For a while now, we've been aware of a new, third iPhone SE model that's been brewing in Apple's cauldron. And although no announcements have been made yet, we knew to expect it sometime in the spring of 2022. However, we didn't expect it to make its first appearance quite so soon.

According to 91Mobiles, the budget iPhone has been discovered to have been imported into India under model numbers A2595, A2783, and A2784.

Starting out its new iPhone SE in India—where true budget phones are known to flourish—will allow Apple to test out the market in a more limited capacity, in order to ensure that it is employing the optimal strategies before it finally initiates a wider launch. It also presents a safer testing environment for the device, where leaks to the international market should be kept to a minimum for the time being.

We still don't have any information on the iPhone SE 3's exact price tag, which will be of great interest to most users. However, 91Mobiles's report does say that the phone's base price is known to be $300, before import duties and other taxes are applied.

All taxes and fees included, we can expect the iPhone SE 3's final cost to be equal to—or possibly slightly higher than—its predecessor's $399 release price (in USD). Even if it costs $450, however, that's still well in the mid-range budget phone price, and may prove quite appealing to Apple fans who aren't keen on splurging on a $1000+ flagship.

The iPhone SE (2022) is coming soon, and we can never be sure it won't be the last.

Apple is keeping its iPhone SE model releases as few and far between as possible, because the last thing it wants to associate itself with is a budget brand. Over the years, Apple has been building up a reputation as a lifestyle brand for those who can afford it, even trying to set itself up as a luxury name (remember the Hermès AirTag key rings?).

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There's a reason some of the world's most expensive smartphone cases are crafted for none other than the iPhone—other brands are also picking up on Apple's consistent high-class vibes.

However, Apple hasn't forgotten what it achieved with the original iPhone SE and iPhone SE (2020). With a perhaps ever-so-slight compromise to its brand identity, the company managed to keep millions of users inside its tight ecosystem, many of which it may have lost otherwise. 

A whopping 73% of total US sales of the iPhone SE 2 were upgrades to older iPhone models, for buyers who may not have otherwise shelled out for a pricier flagship, and chosen to switch brands instead. 

The last budget iPhone also managed to draw in plenty of new users, with its more affordable price tag. And we all know it: once you're in Apple's ecosystem, it can be very, very hard to get out.

iPhone SE 3 specs and release date

Rumors currently put the iPhone SE 3's release date somewhere around April or May. It is expected to have the same dimensions as the iPhone SE (2020), including a 4.7-inch Retina HD display. As for the iPhone's innards, Apple will most likely outfit it with its own Apple A15 Bionic chipset, a Qualcomm X60 5G wireless modem, and a Touch ID finger scanner. Any future leaks will be added to the list.

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