Apple is reportedly working on iPhone SE 4 with its own 5G modem
The iPhone SE 4 has not been cancelled by Apple. The company is still working on it, and it will use Apple's own 5G modem.
(iPhone 14 image used for reference)
The news comes from Ming-Chi Kuo. It's worth pointing out that a few months ago, he had claimed that Apple had scrapped its plans for the iPhone SE 4. So it may appear a little odd that he now says that the company is still making preparations for the device, but we should keep in mind that Kuo has been accurate for Apple related leaks in the past.
In case you didn't know, Apple makes its own SoCs, called the Apple Silicon (M1, M2, M2 Pro, etc.) for Mac and iPad devices, and Bionic chips such as the Apple Bionic 15 on the iPhone 13/14. However, it does not manufacture the modems that are used in iPhones. Instead, it orders them from Qualcomm.
Image courtesy: Apple
Apple is working on the iPhone SE 4 with its own 5G modem
Back in September 2022, Kuo explained that Apple was concerned about the performance of its in-house 5G baseband chip, and that it would not be as good as Qualcomm's chips. This was the reason why the Apple analyst had believed that the iPhone SE 4 would not be released. But since then, the Cupertino company seems to have made some strides towards improving the design/performance of the chip.
He says that Apple's 5G baseband chip is built on a 4 nm process, but it will only support Sub-6GHz connectivity. So it may still have some work to do to add support for mmWave (24Ghz - 40GHz high frequency) and Satellite capabilities of its 5G modems. Don't expect it to be equipped in the iPhone 15 series that will debut later this year, though. The Silicon Valley giant is still analyzing the situation, to determine whether to use the new chip in the iPhone 16 series. The iPhone SE 4 is expected to go into mass production in the 1st half of 2024. That gives Apple a long time to work further on the chip.
Qualcomm's CEO, Cristiano Amon, told The Wall Street Journal's Carolina Milanesi, that he expects Apple to use its own modem in 2024. That pretty much confirms what Kuo had said. This could hurt Qualcomm eventually, if Apple stops ordering modems from it. Kuo has also hinted that Apple may ditch Qualcomm's chips for the iPad and Apple Watch too.
The iPhone SE 4 was initially rumored to be based on the iPhone XR's design. That is quite outdated, the legacy device has a bigger notch, and a single camera on the rear. It's quite interesting that Kuo has claimed that the iPhone SE 4 is based on the iPhone 14. The current-gen mobile device, which is identical to the iPhone 13, has slimmer bezels, a smaller notch, and of course, dual rear cameras. It makes sense, not only from a design perspective, but also to appeal to users.
The iPhone SE 4 is expected to sport a 6.1-inch OLED display, the important takeaway here is that it will not be a compact phone like the previous Gen SE, which had a 4.7-inch screen. That could be disappointing for fans who had been expecting a successor to the iPhone 13 Mini. The iPhone SE 2022 has a physical home button, which doubles up as the TouchID fingerprint sensor, the upcoming iteration will move away to FaceID using the TrueDepth camera system housed in the notch.
The iPhone SE series has been viewed as the most affordable option into Apple's ecosystem, it will be interesting to see how the iPhone SE 4 will be priced
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