Apple to upgrade budget iPhone SE to 5G, drop iPhone mini from 2022 lineup

Nikkei Asia on Wednesday reports that Apple plans an update to the budget iPhone SE, adding a faster processor and 5G capabilities, while confirming that Apple will be making this the last year of the mini (with the “iPhone 13 mini”) which has seen disappointing sales compared to the other iPhone 12 models: iPhone 12, iPhone 12 Pro, and iPhone 12 Pro Max.

iPhone SE (2020)
Apple’s iPhone SE (2020)

Lauly Li and Cheng Ting-Fang for Nikkei Asia:

All iPhones released next year will be 5G-capable, including Apple’s first revamp of its budget handset in two years, as the company looks to boost sales of a product that still accounts for more than half of its revenue.

Apple will not introduce any new 4G models next year, sources familiar with the matter told Nikkei Asia, and will instead begin selling a version of its cheapest handset — the popular iPhone SE — that is compatible with the next-generation communication standard.

The company will also not introduce an updated version of the iPhone Mini next year, after the premium smartphone with a smaller screen failed to catch on with consumers, sources added.

The budget 5G iPhone is set to hit the market as early as the first half of 2022, sources briefed on the matter said. It will be powered by Apple’s own A15 processor — the same chip that will go into this year’s premium iPhones — and its 5G connectivity will be enabled by Qualcomm’s X60 modem chip, they added.

Mass production of this year’s new iPhones is also set to begin in August, in line with Apple’s usual pre-pandemic production schedule. Apple could produce as many 95 million units between then and the end of January, though sources stressed that such forecasts are subject to review. For all of 2021, Apple aims to build up to 230 million iPhones, including both the existing and new models, an 11% growth from last year, sources told Nikkei Asia.

MacDailyNews Take: Nikkei Asia also confirms earlier reports that new Apple Silicon MacBook Pro models(we expect 14- and 16-inch models) and a new version of entry-level AirPods (which we expect to look like the current AirPods Pro, but without Active Noise Cancellation) are coming later this year.

A little birdie tells us that DigiTimes‘ “AirPods Pro Lite” are actually AirPods (3rd gen.) which offer the new shorter-stem AirPods Pro design sans active noise cancellation. — MacDailyNews, March 5, 2020

Apple already sells AirPods Pro Lite. They’re called AirPods.MacDailyNews, February 12, 2020


  1. It’ll be great seeing one more up-to-date iPhone (with 5G and latest A-chip) that has an “antiquated” Touch ID Home Button. Hope that part of rumor is true. And even if iPhone mini ends with upcoming 2021 model, it will probably be in the 2022 iPhone lineup. Just has iPhone 11 (from 2019) and even iPhone XR (from 2018) are in the current iPhone lineup.

    It may continue into the 2023 lineup as well, and THEN serve as the design base for a later iPhone SE in Spring 2024, after the rumored 5G iPhone SE (2022) has a two-year run. iPhone SE has been the “special edition” of an existing proven design with updated specs, offered at a budget-conscious price. iPhone mini is ideal for that purpose, a smaller iPhone with bigger screen than current iPhone SE.

  2. Why not make the iPhone mini the new SE? Everyone around me opt for an iPhone mini. I remember the poll on MDN and people did favor the mini. Discussions in forum are positive in regard to have a smaller form factor… Geesh, I hate those pop-tarts size iPhone were you can no longer use your phone with only your thumb…

  3. So let me get this straight-
    They’re doing away with the Mini because of poor sales, but keeping the SE with the button, but they’re going to update the SE to the specs of the Mini (or how the Mini would be if still made).

    Seems to me they are just combining them into what will become…
    Apple SE/Min

  4. Brought back the shirt pocket small phone with the SE debut in March 2016. Discontinued and brought it back a couple years later with another SE – bought both. Discontinued again for the Mini now SE coming back again??

    Make up your mind Apple and quit monkeying around. Obviously the small SE phone is here to stay as it should be.

    I’ll take two, please… 😁

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