iPhone SE 3: 6 updates we want in Apple’s next budget smartphone

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The new iPhone SE looks striking in red. At $ 399 it’s the most affordable iPhone you can buy right now.

John Kim / CNET

At $ 399 (£ 389, AU $ 679), the budget iPhone SE It is the cheapest Apple smartphone you can buy. We praise the 2020 model for its affordable price and fast performance powered by the same chip in the iPhone 11, which was released just a few months before the iPhone SE.

But there are still a lot of things we want from Apple’s next cheap smartphone, especially since competitors like Samsung and Google have improved theirs. inexpensive devices. the New iPhone 11 cheaper price of $ 499 (£ 489, AU $ 849) It could also make the $ 399 iPhone SE harder to sell for those who want a more affordable Apple device, considering it comes with a longer battery life and better camera system for just $ 100 more.

Apple is rumored to be developing a new iPhone SE that could launch in early 2022, according to a report from Nikkei Asian Review. If that turns out to be true, here are the improvements we’d like to see.

A sharper selfie camera

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The 2020 iPhon SE has a 7-megapixel front camera and we’d love to see an update on the next model.

John Kim / CNET

The iPhone SE’s wallet-friendly price means that it comes with some compromises, particularly when it comes to the camera. And if Apple keeps the price of the next iPhone SE as competitive as the 2020 version, that probably won’t change much.

But at least we’d love to see a higher-resolution front camera for sharper video calls and selfies. The current iPhone SE has a 7 megapixel front camera like the iPhone XS. The iPhone 11 and newer devices have a 12-megapixel front camera with a wider field of view, as noted by my colleague Patrick Holland in his review.

While the iPhone SE’s rear camera lacks the dual-lens setup that has become common in most phones, even budget devices, its single-lens wide camera is still capable enough of producing impressive images. But now that the COVID-19 pandemic has made video calling on our mobile devices the norm, it would be great to see the front camera get an update that brings it closer to Apple’s more expensive phones.

Read more: Is it worth buying an iPhone 13? Let’s Compare The Last Five Years Of Apple iPhones

A newer Apple processor

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The Apple A15 processor in the iPhone 13 has 15 billion transistors.

Screenshot by Stephen Shankland / CNET

One of the best things about the iPhone SE is that it comes with the same processor as the iPhone 11, ensuring that it won’t feel sluggish anytime soon and will be well-equipped to handle new features. Weather the A13 Bionic chip Inside the iPhone SE has plenty of power for everyday tasks, Apple could give its budget phone a head start by equipping it with an even newer processor.

the IPhone 13 Bionic A15 Processor It would be ideal, but even getting last year’s A14 Bionic chip would be a step forward in future-proofing the iPhone SE for years to come. Again, the older A13 Bionic chip is more than enough for most of the tasks that you would normally perform on your phone, be it checking email, reading the news, playing games, or taking photos.

But the improved neural engine in Apple’s newer chips will likely make your iPhone better at many of the machine learning-driven software developments the iPhone has gained in recent years. These include app recommendations, text predictions, language translation, and the ability to recognize people in photos. It’s these kinds of features that largely drive the iPhone’s appeal rather than raw computing power, and the more powerful neural engine in Apple’s newer chips should help.

There is a chance that we could see Apple’s latest mobile processor arrive in the next iPhone SE, as the Nikkei report says it will run on the same A15 Bionic chip in iPhone 13.

5G support

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Advertisement for T-Mobile’s nationwide 5G network seen in Midtown Manhattan.

Alex Tai / SOPA Images / LightRocket via Getty Images

you may not need 5G today taking into account that the speeds are usually comparable to those of 4G LTE networks. But 5G is now standard on most smartphones, which means they are typically no more expensive than non-5G phones as was the case in 2019. Along with a processor upgrade, bringing 5G to the iPhone SE would be another. way to ensure that the next Apple-generation budget phone doesn’t feel out of date in two to three years. The Nikkei report also suggests that the next iPhone SE will come with 5G support, which would mean that Apple’s entire 2022 line will be able to support the next-generation network.

Read more: iPhone SE 3: release date, price, 5G, and all the other rumors we’re hearing

a higher battery time

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The iPhone SE is one of Apple’s smallest iPhones, along with the iPhone 12 Mini and iPhone 13 Mini.

John Kim / CNET

The iPhone SE isn’t just the cheapest phone Apple sells; it is also one of the smallest. That also means it has a smaller battery than other iPhones like the iPhone 11, 12 and 13. Apple estimates that the iPhone SE should last up to 13 hours when playing local video, while the iPhone 13 should last 19 hours and the iPhone 11 and 12 should last 17 hours. Apple too improved battery life on its other smaller sized iPhone, the iPhone 13 Mini, which it says can last 17 hours during video playback just like the iPhone 12.

On our review of the iPhone SE, my colleague Patrick Holland wrote that it could easily get through a day and a half on a single charge. However, battery life will always vary depending on how you use your device. In my own experience, I have only been able to get through a full day of work until the afternoon on days when I make a lot of calls or record audio for work. But I usually get more mileage on the weekends when I mostly just check email, read the news, and surf social media.

Still, battery life can never be too long, and since Apple improved the battery life of the iPhone 13 Mini, I hope it will do the same with the next iPhone SE.

touch ID

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The iPhone SE is the only current iPhone with Touch ID.

Angela Lang / CNET

The iPhone SE is the only model Apple currently sells that still has the touch ID fingerprint sensor on the home button. I imagine that’s a huge draw for some people, especially for the last year and a half, as many of us have been wearing masks when leaving the house. Some may also find Touch ID to be more convenient than Face ID since you don’t have to worry about placing your phone in front of your face correctly for it to work.

Many modern Android phones include both facial recognition and fingerprint scanning as biometric options for unlocking your phone or authenticating payments. Reports suggest that Apple is working on a screen fingerprint scanner for future flagship iPhone models, but I’m hopeful that Apple will at least keep Touch ID on the iPhone SE in the meantime.

More storage in the base model

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The iPhone SE starts out with 64GB of storage, but we’d love to see 128GB.

Angela Lang / CNET

Apple increased the iPhone’s entry-level storage capacity from 64GB to 128GB with iPhone 13 – a welcome update that would also be greatly appreciated on the next iPhone SE. More storage usually results in a price increase, but 128GB is now considered the standard in most smartphones, including budget models like the $ 350 Samsung Galaxy A42 5G and $ 450 Google Pixel 5A 5G. I hope that by removing the 64GB configuration from the iPhone 13 lineup, Apple recognizes this change rather than presenting it as a premium feature only available on its flagship phones.

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