iPhone SE tipped for the biggest design upgrade ever

A new report suggests that the Dynamic Island is coming to Apple's most affordable iPhone. Legitimate leak or just wishful thinking?

iPhone SE 2024 render
(Image credit: Upinthezone / X)

Apple is widely expected to refresh the iPhone SE this year, and as we reported back in November it's expected to be a departure from the existing design, which is getting awfully old-looking. The SE is largely identical to the iPhone 8 from seven years ago, and the current model has been around since 2022.

According to a new report, Apple is now planning the biggest design change to the SE since it abandoned its initial iPhone 4-esque design. As previously rumoured the camera assembly will be a single-lens lozenge, but this new rumour says that round the front we'll see something making its debut on the iPhone SE: the Dynamic Island, the cut-out for cameras and sensors that Apple now uses as part of the iPhone 15 interface.

How reliable is this iPhone SE rumour?

The new report comes from tipster Majin Bu on X, who also posted the iPhone 16 batteries we reported on yesterday. 

According to the post, "Based on what has been reported to me, the iPhone SE could have a design very similar to that of the current iPhone 16 still in development. The new iPhone SE will most likely have a single camera instead of the double one of the iPhone 16 models, otherwise it seems that the dynamic island is confirmed, and the dimensions are similar to those of an iPhone XR."

However, the tipster also appeared to walk back their prediction pretty much immediately. In the same post Bu said that you should "take this news as a possible rumor since it is still early to talk and have certainties about it." In the resulting comments thread, the position changed to "not even the information mentioned above should be taken too seriously as I was saying, but there is a possibility that this could happen."

My money's on this being informed speculation rather than a leak. The iPhone SE is due an update and a 2024 or 2025 refresh is likely, but the only thing we can say with any certainty is that it'll definitely be USB-C. Apple didn't replace the notch in its best-selling iPhones until the launch of the iPhone 15, so while the prospect of a Dynamic Island-packing SE is certainly appealing it may not be a priority for Apple just yet: while of course anything is possible the iPhone SE has typically inherited fairly old hardware from the rest of the iPhone range, and an iPhone 15-esque design doesn't fit that pattern.

Carrie Marshall

Writer, musician and broadcaster Carrie Marshall has been covering technology since 1998 and is particularly interested in how tech can help us live our best lives. Her CV is a who’s who of magazines, newspapers, websites and radio programmes ranging from T3, Techradar and MacFormat to the BBC, Sunday Post and People’s Friend. Carrie has written more than a dozen books, ghost-wrote two more and co-wrote seven more books and a Radio 2 documentary series; her memoir, Carrie Kills A Man, was shortlisted for the British Book Awards. When she’s not scribbling, Carrie is the singer in Glaswegian rock band Unquiet Mind (unquietmindmusic).