Flagship-killer iPhone SE 4 stealing Android's most special title 9 years after original OnePlus One

This article may contain personal views and opinion from the author.
Flagship-killer iPhone SE 4 stealing Android's most special title 9 years after original OnePlus One
As we come to find out from old and recent leaks of information, Apple seems to be on its way to revealing a brand-new iPhone! That’s according to leaks shared by Ross Young (dating back January) and Jon Prosser (more recently). Note that the former said there’s some chance the new iPhone could also be unveiled in 2024.

Anyway, we’re not talking about a flagship iPhone, but a flagship-killer iPhone! Of course, the phone in question is the upcoming iPhone SE 4!

As discussed further into the story, the last three iPhone SE models totally outsold a ton of (virtually all) Android flagship phones and even some of Apple's flagship iPhones. However, I dare to say that in spite of the flagship-grade sales record, the iPhone SE never looked like a flagship-killer - of course, thanks to its iPhone 6-inspired front look.

But apparently, this is about to change as Tim Cook & Co are gearing up for an early iPhone SE 4 release, which was expected to take place in the spring of 2024.

Anyway, here's everything we know about the iPhone SE (2023) so far and why this new-old iPhone might be the single biggest challenger to any Android flagship phone in 2023-2024 and even to some iPhone 14 and iPhone 15 models.

Supposedly, this is the iPhone SE (2023), and it looks amazing compared to the current iPhone SE (and if you liked the iPhone XR)

That's right! The iPhone SE 4 is set to look a lot like the 2018 iPhone XR (in fact, perhaps a 1:1 copy of it), which is a great thing! Sure, Apple didn't set the bar high, but despite that, the new SE would be an absolutely massive upgrade over the ancient-looking iPhone SE (2022). Although less flashy than the premium iPhone XS series, the iPhone XR easily outsold Apple's expensive offerings and certainly didn't go unnoticed, especially by the average consumer.

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Funny enough, the elephant in the room is the same one that "bothered" everyone back in 2018 - the iPhone XR had a 6.1-inch 720p LCD display, which is expected to make a comeback on the new iPhone SE. No OLED, no 1080p, and certainly no high-refresh-rate.

Unlike phone nerds like me (and probably you), 95% of users tend not to notice or be bothered by a slightly lower-res, less contrasty display. In fact, the screen on the iPhone SE 4 should be plenty sharp, bright, and colorful anyway, as Apple's expected to make use of a high-end LCD. When it comes to high-refresh-rate, I've already written a long story, which concludes that 60Hz on iPhones feels more like 90 Hz compared to 60Hz on Android, which feels like… 60Hz.

Display controversies aside, according to  leaks and what we've seen from Apple's previous iPhone SE releases, the iPhone SE 4 is expected to arrive with the following:

  • The A16 Bionic chip from the iPhone 14 Pro with 5G (although I personally see the iPhone SE 4 using the A15 Bionic from the iPhone 14 instead)
  • A single 12MP rear camera and a 7MP front selfie shooter (judging by Apple's SE strategy, these should be the exact same sensors from before but with the iPhone 15's image processing)
  • Roughly a 3000mAh battery (which is on the bigger side for an iPhone) with 20W wired and 7.5W wireless charging (my hunch is that MagSafe will be left out)
  • 64/128/256GB of storage and 4GB of RAM
  • IP67 dust-water resistance

iPhone SE 4 - why does it exist, and why is Apple rushing to launch another iPhone so soon after the iPhone SE (2022) and iPhone 14 series?

Although I do find it bizarre that Apple is about to give us two iPhone SE models two years in a row, since the first iPhone SE refresh arrived after four years, and the second after two, Cupertino has a bunch of great reasons to do release the iPhone SE 4 in 2023:

  • The current iPhone SE (2022) carries the old iPhone design, meaning the new iPhone SE (expected to look a lot like the iPhone XR) won't clash with last year's SE

  • Both the iPhone 14 and especially the iPhone 14 Plus seem to be underperforming sales-wise, making the appearance of a new iPhone even more justifiable (surprise, surprise - Apple likes making money)

  • An affordable iPhone that looks relatively new might be the perfect phone to sell in the midst of a global economic crisis, like the one we're in right now, and (sadly) probably will be for the foreseeable future

  • Last and in this case least, the truth is that phones like the discounted Galaxy S21 FE, Pixel 6A, and Pixel 7 have made the "flagship-killer" segment more competitive than it's ever been, so… Apple might be feeling some minor pressure to try harder and sooner with the most affordable iPhone

It's really no rocket science - Cupertino's new-old design, in combination with long software support and a super-powerful chip, should sell like hotcakes. Really, the question is, why wouldn't Apple launch an iPhone SE 4 as soon as possible…

The numbers speak clearly - the iPhone XR (77.4 million units sold in 2018) easily managed to outsell the iPhone XS and XS Max (48 million units sold) combined, showing that people really aren't bothered by the slightly thicker bezels and an HD display if it comes at a good price!

The remaining question is how much the new iPhone SE is going to cost, so let's move on to that topic…

Can Apple establish itself as the new flagship-killer, and is the iPhone SE 2023 really going to sell better than the iPhone 14?

To answer both questions right away - I do think the iPhone SE can be the new "flagship-killer" and I do believe it has a great shot at selling more units than the iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Plus combined! But, of course, the real elephant in the room here is how Apple is going to price the "affordable" iPhone SE 4.

As of now, we have zero leaks and rumors on the topic of price, so I'll have to speculate. And my Apple price radar is telling me… $529! I know this almost seems too specific, but I have my reasons to believe it…

  • The iPhone SE (2022) costs $429
  • The iPhone 12 goes for $599
  • The iPhone 13 costs $699
  • The iPhone 14 is $799

As romantic as this might sound, there's absolutely no way Apple will replace the (still recent) iPhone SE (2022) with the iPhone SE 4 and sell the new one at the same $429 price. On the other hand, swapping the iPhone 12 with the iPhone SE 4 seems unreasonable, as both the iPhone 12 and the new iPhone SE would have some great selling points over the other.

Regardless, the real "surprise", however, is going to be for UK and European users, who, according to Apple's most recent price strategy (and given that the iPhone SE 4 really debuts at $529 in the US), might be looking at a slightly more expensive “budget” iPhone SE 4, starting at £549 and €549 for the 64GB variant.

That’d make the more usable 128GB version £599 and €619, entering Pixel 7 territory (unless, of course, Apple gives the base model of the iPhone SE 128GB of storage). Tim, please?

So, that's just about everything there's to know and consider when it comes to the unreleased iPhone SE 4! The device is expected to arrive next spring during (well…) Apple's spring event.

Try putting yourself in the shoes of the average consumer and tell me what's your take on the supposed iPhone SE 4! If you ask me, this one's shaping up to be the perfect iPhone replacement for my aunt, who's still using an iPhone 8. Then again, as a phone nerd, are phones like the Galaxy S21 FE and Google Pixel 7 more appealing at this $500-600 price point? Shoot a comment!

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