By all reports, Apple is expected to release its new budget iPhone very soon, and carriers and accessory makers alike are already starting to prepare for what’s expected to be the next generation of the popular 2016 iPhone SE, and some are even jumping the gun just to make sure that they have the first offers and products available for the new iPhone right out of the gate.
Rumours have already given us lots of information about the new iPhone — we’ve known since last fall that it will closely follow the iPhone 8 design (which may not be what fans of the original iPhone SE were hoping for), while sporting Apple’s latest A13 CPU, and we’ve already seen renders of what it might look like, and even heard recent confirmations that it will sell for $399.
What we don’t know yet, however, is what Apple is actually going to call this new iPhone. So far, there have been two prevailing theories as to the name for Apple’s latest low-cost smartphone: iPhone SE 2 and iPhone 9.
The first, iPhone SE 2, was simply what most of us tech pundits have long been calling the new model simply as a sort of placeholder name, for lack of anything else to call it.
However, such a name wouldn’t be completely out of the question, considering that the “SE” originally stood for “Special Edition” and this new iPhone would in many ways be more of the same.
Still, “iPhone SE 2” is a fairly awkward name, and if Apple were going to go down that road, they’d likely just call it the “iPhone SE” without the numeral, much like the newest second-generation AirPods are just the “AirPods” and the newest third-generation iPad Air is just called the “iPad Air.”
Still, for our money, “iPhone 9″ seems to make a lot more sense.
The iPhone 8 was originally released alongside the entirely redesigned iPhone X (which of course, is the Roman numeral for 10), so it makes sense for an upgraded iPhone 8 to be called the iPhone 9. Of course, Apple is under no obligation to use this number, and it wouldn’t be the first time it skipped one — there was never an “iPhone 2” either.
Last week we saw reports that some carriers in South Korea have been placing their bets on “iPhone 9” and advertising pre-orders for the new iPhone already, but as we said when that news first broke, we believe that’s more speculation on their part than any inside information. Now we’re seeing the same thing from case makers, some of whom seem be putting their money on “iPhone SE 2” instead.
‘iPhone SE 2’ Cases Now Available
As MacRumors reports, case manufacturer Totallee has already launched pre-orders for an “iPhone SE 2” case, and similar listings are popping up on sites like Alibaba and Amazon.
Since some of these companies are Apple MFi partners it may lead you to believe that they have access to inside information from Apple, but it’s far more likely that they’re simply making guesses to try and stay ahead of the curve.
iPhone cases are a multi-million dollar business, and there’s a ton of money to be made for companies that can be first to market when a new iPhone comes out, especially if they can have them available on launch day.
Of course, whether it’s called the “iPhone SE 2” or the “iPhone 9” the new low-cost iPhone isn’t likely to garner the kind of first-day rush that Apple’s flagship models attract, but that doesn’t stop companies from wanting to make sure they have their bases covered.
This is far from the first time we’ve seen companies release cases for new iPhone models before they’ve been officially announced. In the early years of new iPhones, this often resulted in cases with poor fits as manufacturers were forced to speculate more on the sizes, and so Apple now sometimes offers dimensions of new models to its MFi partners, however just because Apple is providing sizes doesn’t mean that they’re going to disclose other details about the new device — Apple is famous for telling its MFi partners the bare minimum that they need to know, and nothing more.
Either way, however, the vast number of rumours that the new iPhone is going to have identical dimensions to the iPhone 8 means it’s not hard to guess at case sizes. In fact, many companies will likely just take their older iPhone 8 cases and slap a new product name on them. This is exactly what happened when the iPhone SE came out in 2016; we saw a resurgence of iPhone 5s cases from manufacturers packaged with the new iPhone name, and some actually just had “for iPhone SE” stickers slapped on over the older iPhone designations.
Companies are still kept entirely in the dark about what a new iPhone is actually going to be called, as that’s often one of the few surprises that Apple can still keep close to its vest. This most famously happened in 2017 when Apple released the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus alongside the new iPhone X. In the weeks leading up to that, we saw many pre-release cases sent to reviews that were labelled “iPhone 7s” and “iPhone 7s Plus” for the traditional 4.7-inch and 5.5-inch versions and and “iPhone 8” for what became the iPhone X.
Ironically, almost all of these cases were correct in every other way, but completely off on the names. When the dust settled, rather than spending money to reprint packaging for these early products, many of these companies simply added stickers with the correct names.
So needless to say, we can’t put too much take into what case makers are choosing to call the new iPhone, since for many of them it’s more important that they be first to market with a new product than that they be right about the name.