Our iPhone SE 3 wishlist: 6 upgrades we’re hoping to see in Apple’s subsequent reasonably priced iPhone

Our iPhone SE 3 wishlist: 6 upgrades we're hoping to see in Apple's next affordable iPhone

The brand new iPhone SE seems to be hanging in crimson. At $399 it is probably the most reasonably priced iPhone you may at the moment purchase.


John Kim/CNET

At $399 (£389, AU$679), the budget-minded iPhone SE is the most affordable Apple smartphone you should purchase. We praised the 2020 mannequin for its reasonably priced worth and quick efficiency pushed by the identical chip within the iPhone 11, which launched only a few months earlier than the iPhone SE.

However there are nonetheless many issues we would like from Apple’s subsequent low-cost smartphone, particularly as rivals like Samsung and Google have improved their very own cost-conscious gadgets. The iPhone 11’s new cheaper $499 (£489, AU$849) worth may additionally make the $399 iPhone SE a harder promote for many who desire a extra reasonably priced Apple machine, contemplating it comes with longer battery life and a greater digicam system for simply $100 extra.

Apple is rumored to be creating a brand new iPhone SE that will launch in early 2022, in accordance with a report from Nikkei Asian Overview. If that seems to be true, listed here are the enhancements we would prefer to see.

A sharper selfie digicam

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The 2020 iPhon SE has a 7-megapixel entrance digicam and we would like to see an improve within the subsequent mannequin.


John Kim/CNET

The iPhone SE’s wallet-friendly worth signifies that it comes with some compromises, significantly in relation to the digicam. And if Apple retains the following iPhone SE’s pricing as aggressive because the 2020 model’s, that in all probability will not change a lot. 

However we would no less than like to see a higher-resolution front-facing digicam for clearer video calls and selfies. The present iPhone SE has a 7-megapixel entrance digicam just like the iPhone XS. The iPhone 11 and newer gadgets have a 12-megapixel entrance digicam with a wider discipline of view, as my colleague Patrick Holland identified in his overview. 

Whereas the iPhone SE’s rear digicam lacks the dual-lens setup that is turn into widespread on most telephones — even on funds gadgets — its single-lens large digicam continues to be succesful sufficient to provide spectacular pictures. However now that the COVID-19 pandemic has made making video calls on our cellular gadgets the norm, it will be nice to see the entrance digicam get an improve that brings it nearer to Apple’s pricier telephones.

Learn extra: Is shopping for an iPhone 13 value it? Let’s evaluate the final 5 years of Apple’s iPhones

A more moderen Apple processor

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Apple A15 processor within the iPhone 13 has 15 billion transistors.


Screenshot by Stephen Shankland/CNET

Probably the greatest issues concerning the iPhone SE is that it comes with the identical processor because the iPhone 11, making certain it will not really feel sluggish quickly and will probably be well-equipped to deal with new options. Whereas the A13 Bionic chip contained in the iPhone SE packs loads of energy for on a regular basis duties, Apple may give its funds telephone an edge by outfitting it with a fair newer processor. 

The iPhone 13’s A15 Bionic processor can be splendid, however even gaining final 12 months’s A14 Bionic chip can be a step ahead in future-proofing the iPhone SE for years to come back. Once more, the older A13 Bionic chip is greater than sufficient for a lot of the duties you’d usually accomplish in your telephone, whether or not that is checking e-mail, studying the information, taking part in video games, or taking images. 

However the improved neural engine in Apple’s newer chips will probably make your iPhone higher at a number of the machine learning-powered software program thrives that the iPhone has gained in recent times. These embody app suggestions, textual content predictions, language translation and the flexibility to acknowledge folks in images. It is a majority of these options that largely drive the iPhone’s attraction somewhat than uncooked computing energy, and the extra highly effective neural engine in Apple’s newer chips ought to assist.

There’s an opportunity we may see Apple’s newest cellular processor arrive within the subsequent iPhone SE, as Nikkei’s report says it is going to run on the identical A15 Bionic chip in the iPhone 13

5G help

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 T-Cell 5G nationwide community commercial seen in Midtown Manhattan. 


Alex Tai/SOPA Photos/LightRocket by way of Getty Photos

You could not want 5G at present contemplating speeds are often akin to that of 4G LTE networks. However 5G is now commonplace in most smartphones, that means they are not usually dearer than non-5G telephones as was the case in 2019. Together with a processor improve, bringing 5G to the iPhone SE can be one other method to make sure that Apple’s next-generation funds telephone does not really feel dated in two to 3 years. Nikkei’s report additionally suggests the following iPhone SE will include 5G help, which might imply Apple’s complete 2022 lineup will probably be able to supporting the next-generation community. 

Learn extra: iPhone SE 3: Launch date, worth, 5G and all the opposite rumors we’re listening to

Longer battery life

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The iPhone SE is certainly one of Apple’s smallest iPhones, together with the iPhone 12 Mini and iPhone 13 Mini.


John Kim/CNET

The iPhone SE is not simply the most affordable telephone Apple sells; it is also one of many tiniest. That additionally means it has a smaller battery than different iPhones just like the iPhone 11, 12 and 13. Apple estimates that the iPhone SE ought to final for as much as 13 hours when taking part in again native video, whereas the iPhone 13 ought to final for 19 hours and the iPhone 11 and 12 ought to final for 17 hours. Apple additionally improved the battery life in its different smaller-sized iPhone, the iPhone 13 Mini, which it says can final for 17 hours throughout video playback similar to the iPhone 12. 

In our overview of the iPhone SE, my colleague Patrick Holland wrote that he was in a position to simply get by a day and a half on a single cost. Nonetheless, battery life will at all times differ relying on how you employ your machine. In my very own expertise, I’ve solely been in a position to get by a full workday into the late afternoon on days once I’m making a number of calls or recording audio for work. However I usually get extra mileage on weekends once I’m largely simply checking e-mail, studying the information and searching social media. 

Nonetheless, battery life can by no means be too lengthy, and since Apple improved the iPhone 13 Mini’s battery life I am hopeful it’s going to do the identical for the following iPhone SE.

Contact ID 

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The iPhone SE is the one present iPhone with Contact ID. 


Angela Lang/CNET

The iPhone SE is the one mannequin Apple at the moment sells that also has the Contact ID fingerprint sensor within the dwelling button. I think about that is a giant draw for some folks, particularly over the previous year-and-a-half as many people have been carrying masks when leaving the home. Some may also discover Contact ID to be extra handy than Face ID since you do not have to fret about positioning your telephone in entrance of your face correctly to get it to work. 

Many trendy Android telephones embody each facial recognition and fingerprint scanning as biometric choices for unlocking your telephone or authenticating funds. Stories recommend that Apple is engaged on an in-screen fingerprint scanner for future flagship iPhone fashions, however I am hopeful that Apple will no less than preserve Contact ID on the iPhone SE within the meantime. 

Extra storage on the base mannequin

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The iPhone SE begins with 64GB of storage, however we would like to see 128GB. 


Angela Lang/CNET

Apple bumped up the iPhone’s entry-level storage capability from 64GB to 128GB with the iPhone 13 — a welcome replace that might be a lot appreciated on the following iPhone SE, too. Extra storage often leads to a worth enhance, however 128GB is now broadly thought-about to be the usual on most smartphones, together with funds fashions like the $350 Samsung Galaxy A42 5G and $450 Google Pixel 5A 5G. I am hoping that by slicing the 64GB configuration out of the iPhone 13 lineup, Apple is acknowledging this shift somewhat than introducing it as a premium function that is solely obtainable on its flagship telephones. 

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