An OLED iPhone SE with Apple’s custom 5G modem could drop in 2024

Apple has apparently restarted the iPhone SE 4 development, with the upcoming phone expected to debut Apple’s own 5G chip and adopt an OLED display.

A white third-generation iPhone SE held in hand, showcasing the back of the device
iPhone SE 4 could debut Apple’s 5G modem | Image: Onur Binay/Unsplash
  • What’s happening? The most significant upgrade for Apple’s fourth-generation iPhone SE could be in the display department: ditching LCD for OLED technology.
  • Why care? The iPhone SE is Apple’s only LCD phone. Upgrading to OLED will bring perks like deep blacks, higher contrast and lower power consumption.
  • What to do? Read the prediction on analyst Ming-Chi Kuo’s Twitter.

iPhone SE 4 could debut Apple’s 5G modem

Analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has updated his prediction for the iPhone SE 4, expecting a successor to the iPhone SE 3 to launch in 2024 with Apple’s custom 5G modem instead of Qualcomm’s and a switch away from LCD to OLED display tech.

Apple apparently wants to test its 5G modem in a low-end device like the iPhone SE 4 to ensure it’s on par with Qualcomm’s before using it in other models.

“Apple has restarted the iPhone SE 4 and will adopt an in-house 5G baseband chip,” he wrote. “The significant decline in Qualcomm’s Apple orders in the foreseeable future is a foregone conclusion,” Kuo added. He went on to predict that Apple’s first 5G baseband chip will be fabbed on TSMC’s 4nm process that’s similar to its 5nm node. Surprisingly, the chip will only support Sub-6GHz, not mmWave.

“It’s still being determined whether the iPhone 16 series will use Apple’s 5G baseband chip,” he continued. “The main challenge lies in whether Apple can overcome the technical obstacles related to mmWave and satellite communications.”

OLED instead of LCD

The next iPhone SE is also expected to run the same Apple-designed processor as the iPhone 16 family. And it’s increasingly looking like the device will adopt a fullscreen appearance like the rest of Apple’s smartphone lineup.

“My latest survey indicates that Apple has recently restarted the iPhone SE 4, which will feature an OLED display instead of an LCD, as the biggest change,” Kuo has it. “Overall, the SE 4 is a minor modification of the 6.1-inch iPhone 14.”

But how plausible is Kuo’s prediction?

Generally, you don’t want to bet against Kuo because the man has sources deep in Apple’s supply chain that often provide him with information that enables him to connect the dots regarding future Apple products, but his timeframes can be off.

More importantly, Kuo earlier wrote on Medium that Apple had canceled the fourth-generation iPhone SE because of the problems with its first in-house 5G chip. Although he’s now updated that prediction because of new information, it just shows that even Kuo isn’t right all the time. FAQ: 70+ questions about iPhone SE 3