The iPhone SE is dead

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Apple refreshes its cheapest smartphone every two years, and since there’s been an iPhone SE release in 2022, the next one was slated for 2024. Today a report from reputable analyst of all things Apple Ming-Chi Kuo makes us think the SE experiment is over.

According to Kuo, Apple has instructed its supply chain partners that production and shipment plans for the 2024 iPhone SE have been canceled, and not merely delayed. Strangely enough, this decision has reverberations that reach Apple’s oft-rumored in-house baseband chip, which keeps being “right around the corner” in rumors even though it’s been safely holding that position for years.

Possibly the last ever iPhone SE – the 2022 model

The baseband chip was supposed to be adopted by the next iPhone SE first. Apple wanted to use that device as a sort of guinea pig – if things go wrong, at least they do on the cheapest smartphone it sells, not one of the more lucrative models. If all went well, then the chip might have found its way into the iPhone 16 series later in 2024.

Now though, with the cancelation of the 2024 iPhone SE, concerns remain about whether the performance of Apple’s own baseband chip will be on par with what Qualcomm’s offerings can muster. And because of those concerns, the chances of Qualcomm supplying baseband chips for the iPhone 16 generation have significantly increased. This would go against the “market consensus” so far, which has been that Qualcomm will start losing iPhone orders in 2024.

With this development, Qualcomm would still supply Apple until at least 2025. Thus, it’s expected to continue to dominate the global high-end mobile baseband chip market this year and the next, leading to much higher profit margins than its (few) competitors.

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