Is Apple running out of design ideas for the iPhone SE series?

New updates are added at the bottom of the story…

The original story (as of April 04) follows:

The mention of Apple’s iPhone is often associated with prestige. This explains why many view the iPhone as a premium product that only the “elite” can afford, but Apple has been working to change that narrative.

The iPhone SE series is Apple’s entry into the budget smartphone market. The 2016 model surprised some of us, only for the 2020 version to add weight to the idea of ​​having a budget iPhone.

With the strong market performance of the 2nd generation iPhone SE which saw more than 24 million units Trading hands in 2020, there was no denying the series would likely get a new member sooner or later.

And indeed, the iPhone SE 2022 arrived a few weeks ago. The market performance of the 2020 model must have been a huge incentive for Apple to halve the wait time before refreshing the series.

The 3rd generation iPhone SE follows the same design philosophy as its predecessors, where Apple simply reboots an older model with fresh guts. The OG model came dressed in an iPhone 5S body while the 2020 variant took after the iPhone 8.

In this way, Apple is able to reuse existing design materials and therefore significantly save on the cost of production. The cost savings then trickle down to the end user, hence the affordable prices seen on the SE models.

While it was easy enough to recommend the iPhone SE 2020 to anyone looking for a budget iPhone. There’s just something about this year’s edition that makes it desirable only for a small slice.

The iPhone SE 2022 costs $429. This gives you the latest A15 Bionic chipset found in the iPhone 13 series alongside 5G support. Apple also claims that battery life has improved, which is about that.

Despite the higher price, you get the same HD display with a 60Hz refresh rate, the same Touch ID, the same design language, the same colors but with fancy names, the same 64GB base storage, and even the same camera hardware.

Other than the A15 chip and its 5G support, the specs of the iPhone SE 2022 are incredibly average. Heck, how should the 2018mAh battery unit handle power-hungry 5G networks?


Even though Apple has kept the same camera hardware, software advancements mean the 3rd Gen SE packs in modern features like Portrait mode and Smart HDR 4. These should encourage owners to take even more photos and videos. .

Add to that the many apps and media downloaded for offline listening and you see why having a base 64GB model just isn’t enough in 2022.

By comparison, Samsung recently launched the Galaxy A53 5G, a phone that looks well-positioned to take on the 2022 iPhone SE in North America where the likes of Xiaomi and Oppo don’t sniff.

Apple has focused on outfitting the latest iPhone SE with a flagship-level chipset while swapping things like battery life, display technology, and most importantly, modern looks.

In contrast, the Galaxy A53 took the opposite approach. It has a modern look with an AMOLED display and 120Hz refresh rate, a massive battery with 25W fast charging, and a quality camera.

Samsung Galaxy A53

You even get up to five years of software support. Not as good as Apple, but no one is trying to keep the 2022 iPhone SE for seven years. You also get 128GB base storage with a microSD card slot. The A53 costs $449.

For the most part, only geeks appreciate the internal hardware of any smartphone. The rest is usually after camera performance and looks. Apple underdelivered on the first aspect, and even more so on the last aspect.

The company calls the iPhone SE’s design “iconic” because of the nostalgic hardware fingerprint button (which has since been replaced by an in-display scanner) and 4.7-inch HD display. Not so many special things to write home about this “Special Edition” phone for sure.

Although it’s possible the iPhone SE 2020 was inspired by demand from the previous year’s iPhone 8, which sold out more than 17 million units. Just because the 2020 model performed well doesn’t mean the “iconic” design is still desirable today.

In rehashing the design of the iPhone 8, Apple clearly got it wrong, which should partly explain recent reports of “weaker than expected” demand for the iPhone SE 2022.

iPhone 8
iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus

And after three attempts, it becomes clear that Apple does not have much to offer in the budget segment. Make no mistake, the iPhone SE 2022 is a budget phone, but rebooting older models with a newer chipset won’t always be enough.

The fact that this seems like the only trick up Apple’s sleeve implies that the Cupertino company still hasn’t mastered the art of producing budget phones. Or maybe he’s run out of design ideas for the SE series.

There’s still a lot to learn if the iPhone SE series is to remain relevant. But hard to see it moving forward when we already have reports of planned production cuts due to weaker demand.

The good thing is that Apple has spent up to four years planning its next move for the SE series. There’s still plenty of time to rethink the current strategy, which gives me some hope for the 4th Gen SE, if it ever comes.

What do you think? Are you buying the iPhone SE 2022 or have you already bought it? Let us know via the following poll or in your comments below.

NOTE: The article will be updated after a week with the poll results.

Update 1 (April 10)

Survey results are out. A majority (80%) of those who voted agree that Apple should discontinue the iPhone SE series. While the rest (20%) disagreed.

In case you missed the poll, you can always share your thoughts in the comments section at the bottom of this page.

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