In order to test its own modem chip, Apple intended to produce an iPhone SE 4 in 2024. However, development issues have reportedly forced the Cupertino tech giant to scrap the low-cost model.
Apple will not release the iPhone SE 4 next year
The highly-anticipated iPhone SE 4 – which would look similar to the iPhone XR – was reportedly going to be introduced by 2024. However, a new report from TF Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo suggests that the upcoming iPhone SE may not make it through the manufacturing process.
In late December 2022, Kuo said that the Cupertino tech giant may postpone or scrap the iPhone SE 4 release due to ongoing weak shipments of its mid-tier and low-end iPhones such as the iPhone SE 3 and the iPhone 13 mini.
Apple was rumored to be working on an in-house baseband chip for the fourth-generation iPhone SE. If all went well with the budget-friendly iPhone, the tech giant planned to add its own 5G modem to its iPhone 16 lineup. Unfortunately, the development of the baseband chip did not go as planned and Qualcomm will continue to be Apple’s main supplier for 5G modems.
A setback in Apple’s modem development is alleged to be the primary cause behind the cancellation of the iPhone SE 4. According to Kuo, Apple was worried that its own baseband chip would fall short of Qualcomm’s.
Due to concerns that the performance of the in-house baseband chip may not be up to par with Qualcomm’s, Apple initially planned to launch its baseband chip in 2024 and let the low-end iPhone SE 4 adopt it first, and decide whether to let the iPhone 16 use its baseband chip depending on the development status of iPhone SE 4.
In the end, it appears that Qualcomm will provide the 5G modems for the next two iPhone generations. Previously, Qualcomm was anticipated to begin losing orders to Apple by 2024.
However, the cancelation of the iPhone SE 4 has significantly increased the chances of Qualcomm remaining the exclusive supplier of baseband chips for the 2H24 new iPhone 16 series, which is better than the market consensus that Qualcomm will start losing iPhone orders in 2024.
As of right now, it is unclear whether Apple plans to release a refreshed budget iPhone in the future. However, given how popular the iPhone SE generations have been, Apple will likely add some iteration of a budget option to its offerings.