No iPhone SE in 2024 could be a huge Apple mistake — here’s why

Jan 12, 2024
In my opinion, Apple's current product strategy (selling the last two models as lower cost options) has virtually eliminated the possibility of a competitive iPhone SE. Not just in 2024 - maybe ever. For the iPhone SE 4, people currently seem to envision a $500 phone with the iPhone 14's body and OLED display, the iPhone 15's main camera, and the most current SOC. That just seems fundamentally unviable to me. With that phone in the lineup, who would possibly buy an iPhone 13 for $599? Or an iPhone 14 for $699? And honestly, it would get really hard for many people to justify buying the iPhone 15 for $799.

So, how about that phone in 2025? There's little point in selling an iPhone 14 against an iPhone SE that has a more modern SOC and camera and sells for $100 less. And if you suggest it might have the iPhone 16's (rumored) non-pro A18 SOC, then the iPhone 15 looks like a really bad buy. None of this is helped by the fact that all current iPhones are virtually indistinguishable from the iPhone 12 at a distance.

An iPhone SE 4 with the iPhone XR's body and display would help keep Apple's current product strategy intact, but few would call that a competitive phone when $500 Android phones are running 6+" OLED displays at 90+ Hz. An iPhone SE 4 with the iPhone 13 Mini's body and display would delight a segment of Apple's users, but it might look a little wimpy by current standards. I just don't see how you can release anything that competes directly with even a Samsung A54 or Pixel 7a and doesn't cannibalize sales of the last two models that Apple still wants to sell.

Honestly, I'd love to be wrong about all of this. Even better, I'd love to see Apple stop selling old flagships and release Pro, regular, and SE models every year. But when Apple is earning many billions selling older model phones above the mid-range Android price point, I have a hard time imagining that the finance team would allow a competitive iPhone SE to exist.