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The next iPhone SE may have the biggest design change we’ve ever seen

Apple is reportedly bringing back the iPhone XR’s design for the next iPhone SE. The report comes from noted analyst Ross Young at Display Supply Chain Consultants (DSSC) via MacRumors.  Young had previously believed that the fourth-gen iPhone SE would have an Android-style hole-punch cutout on the front and a display size ranging between 5.7 inches to 6.1 inches.

Young now expects that Apple will stick to a 6.1-inch design, while also bringing the notch to an iPhone SE model for the first time. The phone is expected to be based on an iPhone XR, with Apple keeping the iPhone SE’s rear camera as a solo act for the fourth year running. There’s also reportedly no OLED or ProMotion expected here either. And with the notch making an appearance, we can safely assume the next iPhone SE will support Face ID instead of Touch ID. There’s simply no space for the traditional Touch ID sensor on the iPhone XR’s body, and recent reports from Mark Gurman at Bloomberg note that Apple has no appetite for building Touch ID into the power button on iPhones as it does on iPads.

iPhone XR wallet case feat image.
Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

The iPhone SE line has typically been one with feet firmly in the past, offering iPhone connoisseurs the chance to keep their favorite designs for longer than their sell-by dates. The original SE revived the iPhone 5’s design, while the 2020 and 2022 SEs brought back the iPhone 8. Though the iPhone XR still looks somewhat contemporary, its rounded edges and the wider notch will likely ensure that you don’t confuse it with a “real” new iPhone.

If the next SE does look like an XR, it’ll also end the iPhone SE’s streak of being the cheapest, smallest iPhone you can buy. While all the older SEs were small, that was more a function of the devices they were based on than anything. As Apple moves to the iPhone XR for the SE series and to the Plus line for the mainline iPhones, it’s unlikely we’ll see a proper small iPhone again for a while.

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