Apple reportedly to launch third-generation iPhone SE in first quarter 2022

Apple plans to launch the third-generation iPhone SE in the first quarter of 2022, followed by four models (“iPhone 14” series) in the second half of the year, as usual, TrendForce reports.

Image: iPhone SE (2020)
Apple’s current A13 Bionic-powered 4.7-inch iPhone SE (2020) starts at just US$399


The smartphone market is showing an improvement in demand during the second half of this year due to the peak season for e-commerce promotional activities and the easing of COVID-19 outbreaks in regions such as Southeast Asia, according to TrendForce’s latest investigations. However, there have been significant shortages of components including 4G SoCs, low-end 5G SoCs, display panel driver ICs, etc. The persistent component gaps are constraining smartphone brands from raising device production for the second half of the year. Looking at 3Q21, the quarterly total smartphone production came to around 325 million units, a 5.7% QoQ increase. Even so, not only does the QoQ increase in smartphone production for 3Q21 fall short of the QoQ increase for the same quarter last year, but the quarterly production volume for 3Q21 also shows a weaker performance result when compared with figures from 3Q20 or from 3Q19, prior to the emergence of the pandemic.

As for the total production for the whole 2021, TrendForce has lowered the projection to 1.335 billion units with a YoY growth rate of 6.5%. The previous projection was 1.345 billion units with a YoY growth rate of 7.3%. This downward correction mainly reflects the impact of the component gaps on device production. Going forward, an important point of observation in the smartphone market is whether the pandemic will further weaken demand. Also, the other significant variables that will influence future smartphone demand include geopolitical tensions, distribution of production capacity in the foundry market, and global inflationary pressure.

Apple released four new iPhone models under the iPhone 13 series in 3Q21. Thanks to their contribution, the total iPhone production for 3Q21 registered a QoQ increase of 22.6% to 51.5 million units. With this result, Apple was also able to climb to second place in the global ranking. In terms of product development, Apple is staying with the plan to release its third-generation iPhone SE in 1Q22 and four models under a new series in 2H22. The third-generation iPhone SE is expected to be a major instrument in helping Apple establish a presence in the market segment for mid-range 5G smartphones. Its production volume for 2022 is forecasted to reach 25-30 million units.

MacDailyNews Take: According to an October report from Chinese site MyDrivers, Apple’s third-generation iPhone SE will sport a design very similar to the iPhone XR with Touch ID in the side button (à la iPad Air 4 and iPad mini 6) and be Cupertino’s last ‌iPhone‌ produced with an LCD display.

MyDrivers said that the ‌iPhone SE‌ 3 will be launched next spring, starting with 64GB storage capacity and the same low $399 starting price of the current model.

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  1. Here’s why rumor that iPhone SE will be “similar to” iPhone XR does not make sense. The SE has been the “special edition” of an existing iPhone design that’s been popular, with update specs. So it makes sense if this rumored iPhone SE is iPhone XR (using Face ID) with updated specs. But if you swap Face ID with Touch ID on power button, you need a new LCD part because there’s no need for a big notch. You still need a small notch (or hole) for the lone FaceTime camera (and other sensors not related to Face ID). You’re creating a brand new iPhone, not saving on development and manufacturing cost by using a mostly existing design. So, I think the next iPhone SE is either just like iPhone XR, OR it’s just like the current iPhone SE, with updated specs (including 5G). I prefer the latter, to keep it smaller and with Touch ID on solid-state Home Button.

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