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'iPhone SE 2' rumored to retain iPhone 5 styling minus headphone jack, launch in May

The follow-up to the iPhone SE could be arriving in May, according to one report interviewing accessory producers, but while the overall size and design is said to be the same as the original iPhone SE, it is claimed the headphone jack may be removed from the model in its next release.

Speaking to iPhone case manufacturers exhibiting at the Global Sources Mobile Electronics tradeshow in Hong Kong, Macotakara claims company representatives are anticipating the second-generation iPhone SE announcement in May. The manufacturers also believe the physical design of the smartphone will be very similar to the previous model, including the continued use of Touch ID instead of switching to Face ID.

On the outside, the continued push by Apple to eliminate the 3.5mm headphone jack is expected to continue, with it removed in favor of a cleaner external appearance. If true, this would make the iPhone 6s range the only iPhones sold by Apple that use the audio connection.

While some rumors point to Qi wireless charging being included in the "iPhone SE 2," the report's discussions suggest it could make an appearance, but there was no conclusive evidence that a glass back will be used to enable the feature.

The report also suggested the adoption of the A10 Fusion chip in the device, which will enable support for HEIF and HEVC media capture.

At present, it isn't clear where the case manufacturers are sourcing data. Historically, Apple has not provided the vast majority of inexpensive accessory manufacturers, like those spoken to by Macotakara, information about unreleased products ahead of time.

The iPhone SE was launched on March 21, 2016, making it a two-year-old smartphone that is probably due to be upgraded soon. It was also launched separately from the main iPhone releases, which are typically revealed in the fall, so a spring unveiling for the "iPhone SE 2" is logical, assuming a two-year replacement cycle.

A regulatory agency in Eurasia disclosed a series of model numbers on Wednesday, but little in the way of hard data about the products. The agency has a 100 percent accuracy in providing model information, but is never a source of product specifics. The filings are made public either just a few days before release or weeks. The "Field Trip" sixth generation iPads were heralded by the regulatory agency about two weeks before the event.

Rumors about an "iPhone SE 2" started cranking up in November, with allegations that it would ship in the first half of 2018 and be manufactured by Wistron in India. More recently, reports suggested that the device would have a glass back, to facilitate Qi charging, like the iPhone 8 family and iPhone X.

Other rumors claim that the "inexpensive smartphone similar to the iPhone SE" will skip "3D sensing," but what that refers to in the rumor is unclear. The existing iPhone SE lacks 3D Touch and any follow-on may as well, but it may also be referring to the TrueDepth camera system at the core of Face ID.

A different report claims that the "iPhone SE 2" will come with the A10 processor, and 2GB of RAM, with 32GB or 128GB storage configurations. When the iPhone SE launched, it had the same processor as the iPhone 6s — the A9. If Apple is looking at a design philosophy similar to the original iPhone SE, the "iPhone SE 2" may have the A11 Bionic, as debuted in the iPhone 8 and iPhone X.