Top 3 Apple iPhone SE 3 features I want – and 1 I definitely don't

Be careful what you wish for

iPhone SE 3
(Image credit: Apple)

The invitations are out, the rumour mill is grinding and Tim Cook is no doubt filming a hilarious video. Yep, the Spring Apple Event is happening next week on March 8, and while we're really dubious that "peek performance" means anything other than a Face ID laptop or perhaps a preview of the Mac Pro, we do know that Apple will launch the third generation of its cheapest iPhone, the iPhone SE 3 5G. 

I really like the current iPhone SE, and it is without doubt one of the best cheap phones on the market, but I'd like to see some changes this time around – and there's one change I'm torn about, because it's an upgrade that would introduce one of my least favourite iPhone things. So here are the three things I'd like to see in the iPhone SE 3, and the one thing I really don't.

Want: 5G connectivity 

5G isn't just about sheer speed. It's about better quality connections too, and if like me you've gone all-in on streaming for everything from podcasts to TV programmes, music to movies, then that's a really big deal. It's also extremely useful if your broadband's down or you need to give the kids internet access via iOS's personal hotspot feature, as it delivers broadband-ish speeds fast enough that you can get stuff done without killing your phone battery.

Want: A killer price

This one' s a rumour but I hope it's right: the iPhone SE 3 5G price may be as little as $299/£299/AU$429. That is exceptionally cheap by Apple standards, making it easier and more affordable to have the very latest Apple software. If it also means the current iPhone SE sticks around for iPod touch money, the existing model could replace the excellent but awfully dated iPod touch as Apple's entry-level handset.  

Want: A newer old design

The current iPhone SE is essentially an iPhone 8 with more up-to-date innards, and while those innards are excellent the screen is awfully small by today's standards. This would pretty much rule out my second hope, a lower price tag, but an iPhone SE 3 based on the iPhone 11 would be much more attractive and more useful too: I know there are many people who love the smaller screen on the iPhone SE, but it's starting to feel closer to the display in the Apple Watch Series 7 than any of Apple's other phones.

So that's the wish list. As for the hope-not list, there's only one entry...

Don't want: The dreaded Notch

If the iPhone SE 3 5G really does get a design based on the iPhone 11, that means SE owners will get to experience the joys of the dreaded Notch. It's either that or no Face ID, and no Face ID means no all-screen design. Given the choice I'd rather have no Touch ID button and a correspondingly bigger screen, but it does feel rather like choosing between being shot and being stabbed: while one is without a doubt better than the other, both are going to hurt.

Want a compact phone iPhone upgrade but don't want to wait for iPhone SE 3? Then consider the iPhone 13 Mini, today's best prices on which can be seen below.

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 thirteen books, ghost-wrote two more and co-wrote another seven books and a Radio 2 documentary series. When she’s not scribbling, she’s the singer in Glaswegian rock band HAVR (havrmusic.com (opens in new tab)).