The bad news: the third-generation iPhone SE could pack the same 4.7-inch LCD screen as the iPhone SE 2020 that Apple first used in the iPhone 6 in 2014, according to a tweet by display analyst and founder of DisplaySearch Ross Young:
Apple LCD iPhone leak, we now hear the next LCD iPhone SE will remain at 4.7″ in 2022. Some rumors that it may have 5G with Sub-6 GHz as well. Also hearing about a 6.1″ version in 2023 with punch hole rather than a notch.April 1, 2021
That last line does offer a ray of hope for mid-range iPhone fans: another version (and potentially fourth generation) iPhone SE could come in 2023 with a 6.1-inch display packing a punch-hole instead of the notch that remains on higher-end iPhones.
The fourth-generation iPhone SE 2023… goes OLED?
That size is important: the 6.1-inch screen format debuted in the iPhone XR in 2018 and was inherited by successor iPhone 11, though those were LCD displays. On the other hand, the iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro have 6.1-inch screens, and both are OLED, establishing a new middleground flagship screen spec.
That suggests the iPhone SE 4 (or whatever model comes in 2023) could pack the same 6.1-inch OLED display – we know Apple is bullish about keeping the same display tech around, so it would be strange if the company made an LCD version and OLED version of the same-size screen. Finally, the lowest-spec iPhone could leave LCD behind.
Perhaps more interestingly, it would mean another iPhone is rumored to transition to a punch-hole. We’ve been hearing that flagship iPhones would introduce them for years, but even the iPhone 12 series stubbornly retains the notch. The iPhone SE 2023 could have an edge-to-edge display without the huge top and bottom bezel bars.
Whether that means flagship phones will finally ditch the notch is another story. Face ID relies on a suite of sensors, and we wouldn’t expect Apple to ditch them wholesale when it’s invested so much in this security and financial authentication system. But by 2023, we could see Apple transition to different systems entirely… or just put an in-screen fingerprint sensor like the rest of the phones world.