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Long before we even knew when Apple would be holding its spring 2022 event, it was a safe bet that we were going to see a new 5G-capable iPhone SE arrive early this year.
While next week’s event will undoubtedly feature a lot more, the 5G iPhone SE is definitely coming, and now venerable Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo is filling in a few of the blanks to give us a better idea of what we can expect.
Kuo, who has actually been on Twitter since early 2011, appears to have only ever posted two tweets in that entire time. He just shared the news in the second of those a few hours ago.
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Much of what Kuo is sharing isn’t revelatory. In fact, he’s been saying most of the same things since this time last year, and some of the others are fairly safe bets. Still, it’s nice to have some confirmation.
What We Know About the iPhone SE ’22
From the very beginning, Kuo has insisted that the new iPhone SE will retain the same design as the 2020 model, and today’s Tweet more or less confirms that, although he describes the form factor as “similar” rather than identical. Nonetheless, it’s fair to say that we won’t see a radical change.
- Expect the same display bezels with a home button front-and-center. It’s most likely still going to sport a 4.7-inch screen as well, unless Apple’s decided to go with a “Plus” version instead.
- Don’t expect it to get more colourful, either. Kuo says it’s going to be in the same white, black, and red — likely (PRODUCT)RED — colours as before.
- Storage capacities are also what we’d expect: 64GB, 128GB, and 256GB. If Apple maintains its pricing, that means $399, $449, and $549. While Apple quietly discontinued the 256GB iPhone SE following the launch of the iPhone 13 lineup last fall, there’s no way they’d release a new model without the higher storage tier.
- Since the whole point of this refresh is to add 5G capabilities, we already know that’s coming, but Kuo confirms that there will be an mmWave-capable version available. That shouldn’t come as a big surprise, since we’d heard that Apple plans to use the same Qualcomm Snapdragon X60 chip that’s found in the iPhone 13 lineup, but it also wasn’t something we’d automatically assumed. It’s good to see Apple isn’t planning to skimp on the 5G capabilities here.
- Likewise, Kuo confirms that the new iPhone SE will gain the A15 chip. That’s pretty much table stakes for a new iPhone SE, every one of which has gained the A-series chip from whatever flagship iPhone is currently on the market at the time.
What’s perhaps more interesting is that Kuo suggests that the iPhone SE didn’t even enter mass production until this month, which begs the question as to when it will actually arrive in stores.
To be fair, Kuo only says “Mar’22” which means that Apple’s manufacturing partners may have already been churning out new iPhones for four days now. It’s also likely to be in less demand than Apple’s flagship iPhone models, so it may not need to accumulate as much of a stockpile. Besides, Apple is well-known for its “just-in-time” logistics, which it pioneered under Tim Cook’s leadership as Chief Operating Officer back when Steve Jobs was still at the helm.
Kuo does estimate that Apple will ship 25-30 million units of the iPhone SE this year, but it’s probably safe to say that won’t happen all at once. The iPhone SE isn’t the kind of iPhone that people line up for and insist on getting into their hands on day one. Most likely it’s going to be a year of slow and steady sales of the new wallet-friendly model, as more people look to upgrade their older iPhones, or take their first steps into the world of 5G without spending too much.
When Will the New iPhone SE be Available?
If Apple follows its usual playbook, it’s a pretty safe bet that the iPhone SE will be available for pre-order next Friday, March 11, and then arrive in stores the following Friday, March 18.
Even if Apple only began mass production this week, that still gives it two weeks before it has to actually deliver new iPhone SE units.
However, it also wouldn’t be completely unprecedented for Apple to take an extra week, and not begin delivering the new iPhone SE until March 25 instead. While almost every iPhone model has arrived 9-10 days after its announcement — even the 2020 iPhone SE, which didn’t have an event — in 2015 the iPhone 6s saw a 16-day delay between its announcement on Wednesday, September 9, 2015, and its in-store availability, which came on Friday, September 25, 2015.
That year, Apple also made the unusual move of opening pre-orders on a Saturday — September 12, 2015 — although that was likely just to avoid doing so on September 11 — a date that Apple has always scheduled around due to the tragic events of 2001.
This time around, however, even if Apple delays the iPhone SE until March 25, it’s a safe bet that we’ll still see pre-orders open on March 11.
[The information provided in this article has NOT been confirmed by Apple and may be speculation. Provided details may not be factual. Take all rumors, tech or otherwise, with a grain of salt.]