There are a lot of rumors out there about the so-called iPhone SE 2. But, unfortunately for those wanting conclusive answers, there’s little agreement among many of those rumors.
The latest information comes from Japanese site Macotakara. The outlet, citing Chinese accessory manufacturer sources, suggests that Apple hasn’t even begun production of the iPhone SE 2 yet.
Macotakara reports that Apple has yet to pick a finalized design among a handful of prototypes. At least one of those sports iPhone X-style features. Others have a design more similar to the current generation iPhone SE, but with incremental updates like wireless charging.
While the Japanese blog has a decent track record, it’s worth noting that the entire sphere of iPhone SE 2 rumors is — to put it lightly — a complete mess.
Last Friday, noted phone leaker Benjamin Geskin tweeted a photo of an alleged iPhone SE 2 display with a “notch” and no Home button. On the other hand, Geskin noted that his primary source contradicted those photos — saying that it’ll sport the same design and display as the original iPhone SE.
That’s a trend we’ve seen with other recent rumors about the 4-inch refresh. For one, Macotakara’s report that the iPhone SE 2 hasn’t begun production conflicts with earlier reports.
And for quite a while, most predictions agreed that the iPhone SE would be an incremental update. It would sport upgraded internals and specs, and possibly some other features like wireless charging. The device could be made in India, possibly giving Apple a vector for growth in that region.
The idea that Apple could overhaul the 4-inch handset with iPhone X features existed on the fringes of the Apple rumor mill. But that idea picked up steam recently, thanks to a variety of alleged leaks and renders put forth by Chinese sources and accessory makers.
Since its debut, the iPhone SE has been a lower-cost device. That, along with its smaller form factor, has likely been a driver for its surprising success.
But that’s the problem. It’s hard to imagine that it’s possible to give the SE 2 a “modern iPhone” overhaul without significantly raising its price. A higher price point would likely take away some of its appeal (and might conflict with what seems to be Apple’s 2018 pricing strategy).
Similarly, renders and schematics of the “notched” iPhone SE 2 show off a display cutout that’s quite a bit smaller than the iPhone X’s. Too small, it seems, to fit a TrueDepth camera and Face ID. Importantly, those same renders and schematics also depict a device without a Home button.
With no Home button or Face ID, the notched iPhone SE 2 seems to have few options for biometric authentication unless Apple opts for a rear-mounted or under-display fingerprint sensor. But of those options seem unlikely.
All in all, a much more incremental update for the iPhone SE seems to be the most probable.
Imagine an iPhone SE with a processor bump, and a glass back with wireless charging. Renowned Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo of KGI Securities agrees. But until Apple actually debuts the device, we’ll just have to wait and see.
Speaking of when we’ll see the iPhone SE 2, there’s also a bit of disagreement here.
But Macotakara’s report suggests that the iPhone SE 2 might launch in the second half of the year, possibly alongside the fall stable of iPhones (iPhone X successor, iPhone X Plus, and 6.1-inch LCD iPhone).
Again, nothing about the iPhone SE 2 is confirmed until Apple confirms it. And that might be a bit frustrating to 4-inch iPhone fans who want to know what to expect.