New evidence surfaced today suggesting that Apple could release a new iPhone model — possibly an iPhone SE refresh — in the next couple of months.
Specifically, a new Russian-language regulatory listing was filed with the Eurasian Economic Commission (EEC) on Tuesday. The filing, first spotted by French website Consomac, suggests several unreleased iPhone models could be ready for a launch in the near future.
The filing lists a series of iPhones running iOS 11 with various model numbers that don’t correspond to any existing handset in Apple’s lineup. The model numbers are listed below.
The unreleased iPhones have now been approved for sale in a variety of Eurasian countries, including Russia and Armenia.
EEC regulatory filings have leaked the existence of unrelated devices before. Earlier this year, an EEC filing confirmed two new models of iPad — the Wi-Fi and cellular versions of Apple’s 9.7-inch 2018 tablet — months before they were released.
Last May, similar filings corresponded with MacBook models that were eventually unveiled at WWDC ’17 in June.
Based on the timeline of the filings published today, we might be able to expect the iPhones to be unveiled in May or June of this year — possibly during the 2018 WWDC event.
Apple is largely expected to unveil three flagship iPhones this year: an iPhone X successor, an iPhone X Plus, and a mid-range 6.1-inch LCD iPhone. However, these iPhones will most likely be announced during Apple’s fall keynote, which rules them out of today’s filing possibilities.
Of course, despite several analysts casting doubt on the rumors, there is a plethora of evidence suggesting that Apple is developing a refresh to its surprisingly popular 4-inch iPhone. Just as the device seemed increasingly unlikely for 2018, these regulatory filings might revitalize those rumors.
Reports of the so-called iPhone SE 2 first started surfacing last year, when some outlets described the model as part of Apple’s India strategy. Since then, the existence of such a device has been corroborated by a handful of reports.
While these rumors differ on the exact details, most agree that the device probably won’t sport modern iPhone features like Face ID or an OLED display. Instead, it could adopt incremental upgrades like slightly slimmer bezels and a faster processor, all at a lower price tag.
While many of those reports pointed toward a potential March release date, the iPhone SE 2 failed to make an appearance at Apple’s education event. Similarly, it wasn’t launched online or revealed via press release last month.
On the other hand, several analysts have forecasted that the iPhone SE 2 could see a launch closer to the May-June time period. That’s a timeline that would line up with today’s regulatory filing, and it could suggest a potential unveiling at WWDC ’18 (which is slated to kick off on June 4).
The iPhone SE lineup has been surprisingly popular since its release in May 2016. Beyond a small storage bump in May 2017, the device hasn’t been refreshed since it launched. And while Apple doesn’t typically unveil new iPhones at WWDC, there’s no rule or reason preventing it from bucking that trend this time around.