New, cheaper iPhone coming, reports say

A new affordable iPhone may be on the way, though not everyone agrees what form it would take.

The iPhone SE, which starts at a dirt-cheap – at least by Apple standards – price of $349 will get refreshed in the near future, according to several reports over the last few weeks. One of the strongest pieces of evidence supporting the claim is regulatory filings that point to a new phone. 

The iPhone SE is Apple’s smallest phone, with a 4-inch screen and a design that hearkens back to the 2013 iPhone 5s. The next SE “2” likely won’t break the mold, looking pretty much the same as the current SE, according to a recent report at Japan-based Mac Otakara, a reliable purveyor of Apple rumors.

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That means you’ll still get the same big bezels, above and below the display, for the camera and the Touch ID home button, respectively. The inside of the new phone is expected to get a makeover though, with an upgrade to the newer A10 processor, which is used in the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus. By comparison, the iPhone 8 and iPhone X use the newer A11 processor.

It's unclear whether the headphone jack will remain, though. The Mac Otakara report claims the headphone jack is going away while a more recent – and more sketchy – report shows a 3.5mm headphone jack present.

Other low-cost iPhone scenarios

Not everyone is on board with the updated iPhone SE predictions. The most oft-cited analyst for Apple rumors, KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, recently said he doesn’t believe a new iPhone SE-like model is likely. “We believe Apple is unlikely to have enough spare resources to develop a new iPhone model for launch in 2Q18 [second quarter 2018],” he said in a research note obtained by MacRumors.

And IDC analyst Jitesh Ubrani, who is skeptical of the reports about a new iPhone SE, agrees. “Looking ahead, much of what was accomplished by the SE for Apple, can easily be done by further extending the life of older models like the 6s or the 7,” he told Fox News.

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“Apple has to weigh [a new SE model] against the idea of keeping around yet another screen size that devs [developers] and Apple itself need to support," he added. “It’s likely more lucrative to phase it out in the long run.”

Indeed, Apple is already busy readying a new fall lineup, which is expected to include a second-generation 5.8-inch iPhone X, a large 6.5-inch “iPhone X Plus” and a low-priced 6.1-inch iPhone.

And Apple could, as it has done in the past, lower the price of older phones like the iPhone 6S, which currently starts at a relatively inexpensive $449.