A lot of the attention that has been levelled at Apple recently has been regarding its major, flagship phones like the iPhone X, along with its potential upgrades. However, one story that seems to have slipped through the cracks is regarding a more budget-friendly smartphone the California tech giant was rumoured to be releasing in 2018: the iPhone SE2.
The original iPhone SE was released in 2016 as a cheaper offering for those who wanted a more pocket-sized phone. The smaller 4-inch screen was backed up by solid specifications, making it a surprisingly popular handset. As such, it is no surprise to hear that Apple might want to follow up with a sequel.
This seemed to be the case, with rumours suggesting that a new iPhone SE2 would be manufactured in India. This comes from a Chinese newspaper, the Economic Daily News, which reported that an Indian company called Wistron was looking to buy new land with which to expand its factory. Wistron is the company responsible for manufacturing the iPhone SE, and the Economic Daily News reported that this expansion was to prepare to build the SE2.
Meanwhile, a research analyst for Taiwanese website DigiTimes, Luke Lin, predicted that Apple would be releasing the SE2 in May or June this year. He went even further, predicting that the smartphone would have a glass back and be capable of wireless charging, but would not include the same 3D-sensing functionality as the iPhone X.
Of course, DigiTimes is not necessarily a reliable source for these rumours, and it has been wrong before. Now, another analyst has weighed in with a counter-rumour: Apple won't be releasing an iPhone SE2 model in 2018 at all.
This comes from respected analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, who said – in a report obtained by MacRumors – that Apple simply does not have the resources to commit to creating a new version of the SE. Instead, they will be focusing on creating a new iPhone X Plus, as well as a 6.1-inch iPhone with a bezel-less display.
Kuo – an analyst for KGI Securities – is well-known as one of the most reliable sources for this kind of iPhone speculation, thanks to contacts in Apple's Asian supply chain. He believes that if Apple were to produce a new iPhone SE2, it would be much the same externally as the original SE. Internally, he predicts it would have a faster processor, but he expects the focus for Apple would be on lowering the price of the handset.
In the research note obtained by MacRumors, Kuo said: “The announcement of three new iPhone models in the same quarter in the second half of 2017 was the first time Apple made such a major endeavor, and we believe the delay of iPhone X, which had the most complicated design yet, shows that Apple doesn't have enough resources available for development.”
“Also, we think the firm will do all it can to avoid repeating the mistake of a shipment delay for the three new models. As such, we believe Apple is unlikely to have enough spare resources to develop a new iPhone model for launch in 2Q18.”
Of course, there is a potential for Kuo to be wrong here. There have been several reports that Apple is toning down its iPhone X production due to slowing sales, and many have speculated that this is due to the device's high price tag. If this is the case, it would make sense for Apple to attempt to make more inroads into the budget smartphone market.
However, as mentioned above, Kuo is usually right in his predictions. Still, nobody can be correct 100 per cent of the time, and the initial reactions to rumours of the iPhone SE2 have been positive so it might be a good move for Apple.