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iPhone SE 4 development lurches back to life with new tech

Starlight iPhone SE 3

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The iPhone SE 4 may not have been canceled after all, with the compact model expected to sport both an OLED display and use Apple's in-house baseband chip.

In January, famed TF Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo declared Apple had canceled the iPhone SE 4 for 2024, rather than delaying its release. In a new update from the analyst, it seems the project is still in motion.

In Monday tweets, Kuo believes Apple has "restarted" its work on the iPhone SE 4, based on a supply chain survey. The model will now apparently resemble a "minor modification of the 6.1-inch iPhone 14," according to the analyst.

The model will also use an OLED display rather than LCD, with that being the biggest change to the specification.

Kuo believes the new model will be equipped with Apple's 5G baseband chip, made using a 4-nanometer process. The chip will only support sub-6GHz 5G under current plans, so not the blisteringly-fast mmWave connectivity.

The January "cancelation" claim was largely down to the model acting as a testbed for Apple's own 5G modem design, which may have caused enough problems to force Apple to reconsider the project.

Evidently, Apple has made moves to make the iPhone SE 4 a reality once again, though it is still unclear whether the 5G modem had anything to do with it.

Kuo added in his tweets that the chip adoption would make a "significant decline in Qualcomm's Apple orders in the foreseeable future" practically a "foregone conclusion."

The iPhone SE 4's use of the 5G chip alone isn't enough to make Qualcomm worried, but Kuo thinks that Apple is still trying to determine whether the iPhone 16 series should use it. "The main challenge lies in whether Apple can overcome the technical obstacles related to mmWave and satellite communications," the analyst believes.

If the iPhone SE 4's use of the chips run smoothly in the first half of 2024, Kuo feels the iPad and Apple Watch will also switch over from Qualcomm's baseband chips. Overall, the move will "benefit Apple's hardware gross margin," and Qualcomm's Apple business "will decline significantly in the next 2-3 years," the analyst writes.

Hours before Kuo's tweet thread, Qualcomm CEO and President Cristiano Amon said the company expects "that Apple will do their own modem in 2024, but if they need ours the know where to find us."

Ming-Chi Kuo is a regular feature of leaks and rumors, and is often found to be correct, or close to it, when it comes to supply chain motions, as well as product line changes.