iPhone SE 5G set for 2022 launch, but the leaked name is very confusing…

A reliable leaker says the iPhone SE will keep the same design with a 5G upgrade internally

iPhone SE front and back on green background
(Image credit: Apple)

Now that the dust is finally settling on the iPhone 13 release, it's time for the speculation bandwagon to roll on through to the next iPhone update – no, not the iPhone 14, but the next iPhone SE. And leaker Ross Young, who's been usually reliable and spilled accurate beans about the new MacBook Pros, has some juicy info.

On Twitter, Young said that the iPhone SE will be released next year, and will use the same 4.7-inch LCD screen – and therefore the same design overall – but will be upgraded with 5G connectivity, which likely means that it'll get a new processor too. 

Currently, Apple only sells 5G phones that use either the A14 or A15 processors, and it specifically made the choice to put an A15 chip in the iPad mini (6th Gen) when it gained 5G. My guess is that because of the small size of the battery in the iPhone SE compared to the bigger phones, Apple will want to use the more power-sipping A15  and 5G chip combo that the iPhone 13 and iPad mini use.

With so many of the best cheap phones including 5G these days, it's no surprise that Apple would want to add it to its own budget option. Everything Ross Young says makes total sense… but the name he's leaked is more of a surprise.

iPhone SE Plus. Okay, fine – it's the iPhone SE, but with something extra. Except that Apple has used the 'Plus' name before, for its bigger phones. There was the iPhone 6 Plus, the iPhone 7 Plus and – most relevantly – the iPhone 8 Plus. Remember that the iPhone SE uses the same frame as the iPhone 8, so it would be very weird to have an iPhone with the name Plus that's the same look as the non-Plus version of… ah, my head hurts.

Apple has switched to using 'Max' as a descriptor for some of its bigger models, including the iPhone 13 Pro Max (obviously) and AirPods Max. And I guess the M1 Max chip inside the new MacBook Pro models technically counts as being the physically largest version of Apple's M1 chips too, because it is.

So sure, Apple could take the 'Plus' name and start using to mean extra features instead of size… I'm just not sure why you would go for something with a slightly confusing history in iPhones when you could just call it the iPhone SE 5G. Or even just the iPhone SE still, and simply replace the model with this one and call it a day.

Anyway, we'll probably find out for ourselves in spring 2022, since iPhone SE models tend to be an early-in-the-year thing.

Matthew Bolton

Matt is T3's former AV and Smart Home Editor (UK), master of all things audiovisual, overseeing our TV, speakers and headphones coverage. He also covered smart home products and large appliances, as well as our toys and games articles. He's can explain both what Dolby Vision IQ is and why the Lego you're building doesn't fit together the way the instructions say, so is truly invaluable. Matt has worked for tech publications for over 10 years, in print and online, including running T3's print magazine and launching its most recent redesign. He's also contributed to a huge number of tech and gaming titles over the years. Say hello if you see him roaming the halls at CES, IFA or Toy Fair. Matt now works for our sister title TechRadar.