Apple's rumored iPhone SE 4 could cost more than ever, but it'll still be a better buy than the Android competition

iPhone 14 Review
(Image credit: iMore / Stephen Warwick)

The current iPhone SE, the third of its name, is very much starting to show its age. It has a 4.7-inch display which is miniscule by today's standards, and that isn't the worst part. Sitting below that postage stamp screen is a Home button, the likes of which Apple hasn't placed on a flagship phone since 2017 with the arrival of the iPhone 8. And even then, thanks to the launch of the iPhone X, it immediately looked outdated.

Priced at $429, the iPhone SE doesn't look like a modern iPhone but you can still walk into an Apple Store and pick one up today. Whether you should or not is up for debate, all the rumors point to Apple finally, finally updating it in 2025. That launch has been coming for what feels like forever though, so I'll believe it when I see it — in-house 5G modem or not, as has so often been rumored.

There's a lot to like about what we've heard so far, too. All the rumors point to an iPhone SE 4 that will essentially be an iPhone 14 Lite, of sorts, and that's no bad thing. The iPhone 14 sells for at least $699 today, so this is very much a modern design with a modern price to match. And while the iPhone SE isn't expected to cost quite so much, a new report suggests that it could cost significantly more than the $429 of the current model. In fat, it could cost as much as $499 although that seems unlikely. But even if it did, it would still be a strong option for a whole lot of people.

An iPhone 14 in disguise

This latest news comes via X leaker Revegnus who claims that Apple is aiming to try and keep the new iPhone SE price around the same $429 that buyers pay today. A 10% price hike is a possibility we're told, but Apple is keen to make sure that it doesn't breach the $500 barrier with its budget handset.

Even if Apple does choose to charge $499 for the 2025 iPhone SE, it will still be a great buy for people who want to get a (relatively) inexpensive iPhone. It's expected to come with high-end features like Face ID and an OLED display, both firsts for the lineup, while the display size will increase from the minuscule 4.7-inch to the much more airy 6.1-inch display of Apple's modern devices. A switch to USB-C is of course a given, while there is also the assumption that Apple will bring the Action button from the iPhone 15 Pro to the iPhone SE, too. Ultimately, all new iPhones will have the button from the iPhone 16 onwards, it appears.

The iPhone SE was last updated in 2022 and the $30 price increase over the previous model was unfortunate. But that price increase came with nothing more than a speed bump. This time around a whole new, bigger display is in play as is a new method of authentication for Apple Pay, unlocking the device itself,  and of course, apps. These are features that people want, but they don't necessarily want to pay premium iPhone prices to get them. And while a $499 price point isn't what most would call budget, it's fair to say that the iPhone SE 4 isn't made up of budget features.

At $499 the iPhone SE 4 would be a cheaper iPhone that looks like it belongs, and sometimes that's more than enough to make it a good buy.

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Oliver Haslam

Oliver Haslam has written about Apple and the wider technology business for more than a decade with bylines on How-To Geek, PC Mag, iDownloadBlog, and many more. He has also been published in print for Macworld, including cover stories. At iMore, Oliver is involved in daily news coverage and, not being short of opinions, has been known to 'explain' those thoughts in more detail, too. Having grown up using PCs and spending far too much money on graphics card and flashy RAM, Oliver switched to the Mac with a G5 iMac and hasn't looked back. Since then he's seen the growth of the smartphone world, backed by iPhone, and new product categories come and go. Current expertise includes iOS, macOS, streaming services, and pretty much anything that has a battery or plugs into a wall. Oliver also covers mobile gaming for iMore, with Apple Arcade a particular focus. He's been gaming since the Atari 2600 days and still struggles to comprehend the fact he can play console quality titles on his pocket computer.