When Apple revealed the brand new iPhone SE last year, we were disappointed that the budget phone didn't feature the same tiny form factor as its 2016 predecessor. Then came the iPhone 12 mini, which is small in size but big on features – and price. Want the best of both worlds? Us too, and if Apple's next iPhone SE ends up looking anything like this stunning 2021 iPhone SE concept, we'll be first in line.
New renders imagine an iPhone SE with the same square-edged form factor as the iPhone 12 mini, and with several features removed – alongside the addition of some intriguing new ones. Hitting the perfect sweet spot between budget, design and functionality, the concept looks like it would be a shoo-in for our best camera phones list.
Created by svetapple.sk (opens in new tab), the 2021 iPhone SE concept features the same OLED 5.4-inch display as the iPhone 12 mini. To bring the cost down, it features a single rear camera instead of two, and Face ID has been removed to make way for Touch ID inside the power button (much like the 2020 iPad Air).
Perhaps the most exciting (and sadly unrealistic) change is the removal of the infamous notch. With no need for Face ID, the only thing taking up precious screen real estate in this render is a tiny camera hole. Creatives have been longing to see the notch gone since it first appeared on the iPhone X in 2017 – but with even the iPhone 13 rumoured to be getting only a slightly thinner notch, we very much doubt Apple would choose to remove it for its most budget iPhone.
Internals-wise, the concept packs the A14 Bionic chip found in the current iPhone 12 lineup. The 5G antenna has been removed, and the 12MP camera is touted as "sufficient for everyday use".
And now for the most important aspect of any budget phone: price. Interestingly, svetapple.sk suggests a higher price than the current iPhone SE, bringing it up from $399 to $549. At the original price, it would be "too strong a competitor for the iPhone 12 mini" (currently $699). If we're honest, we can't see a $150 price jump going down well with iPhone SE fans – even if it's still $150 less than the iPhone 12 mini (and features the same contemporary design).
In many ways, the iPhone 12 mini feels like the spiritual successor to the 2016 iPhone SE, with a similar flat-edged design and a smaller body than the 2020 iPhone SE (check out our iPhone 12 mini review for our verdict on the diminutive device). While aspects of this concept such as the lack of notch feel like wishful thinking, we wouldn't be surprised to see Apple recycle the shape of the iPhone 12 mini for the next SE – making it the ultimate smartphone for users on a budget who prefer a more pocketable device.
Of course, not all of Apple's decisions a known to make sense (this is the company that sells wheels for $699), so time will tell whether it opts to create the ultimate iPhone SE in the 12 mini's image. In the meantime, check out today's best iPhone SE and iPhone 12 mini deals below – and don't forget to take a look at our Apple deals page for more great offers.