The iPhone SE 2020 is currently the cheapest iPhone you can buy brand new from Apple – its retail price currently starts at $399 / £389 / AU$679 – but one source now believes that the price of the iPhone SE 3 due this year will be even lower than that.
Loop Capital Markets analyst John Donovan (via Investor's Business Daily (opens in new tab)) has apparently got hold of information suggesting the next iPhone SE could start at just $300, three-quarters of the price of the current model. If that reduction is maintained internationally, the equivalents are around £290 and AU$510.
At this stage, we only have one source on this – albeit a rather well placed and knowledgeable source – so don't take the $300 figure as anywhere near confirmed yet. However, it suggests Apple might be feeling the pressure from low-cost Android phones.
The price is right
As you can see from a quick glance at our list of the best budget phones, there are plenty of decent Android handsets around for less than $399. It might be the buyers of these phones that Apple is hoping to target with a cheaper iPhone SE.
There shouldn't be too many changes to the handset in its 2022 incarnation, based on what we've heard so far. A faster processor (possibly the Apple A15 Bionic) is pretty much guaranteed, as is the addition of next-gen 5G connectivity.
However, the rear camera unit might not see much of an improvement, and the external design of the smartphone is expected to be more or less the same. As for when we might see the iPhone SE 3, several sources are predicting an Apple launch event in March.
Analysis: price is a key factor for smartphone buyers
A finished smartphone is the sum of many different decisions made by the manufacturer along its development journey: how it should be designed, what the internal components will be, which features are needed. Ultimately though, what's most important is the price.
Even the most powerful smartphone on the planet won't attract much interest if it's priced beyond what anyone can afford – and with the global pandemic and economic uncertainty we're all still living through, keeping an eye on budgets becomes even more important.
With that in mind, it's perhaps no surprise that Apple would position the iPhone SE 3 for 2022 at the lowest possible price point. If the design is remaining largely the same, that should keep production costs down, as Apple will already have all the manufacturing processes in place.
Other rumors have also suggested the next iPhone SE might come in at a slightly lower price, though with variations in currency to consider it's always difficult to predict – and we won't know for sure until the device gets its grand unveiling.