What We Know About the iPhone SE 4 and the Apple 5G Modem

BY Dave Johnson

Published 13 Apr 2023

Apple 5G modem

Reports of the forthcoming iPhone SE and Apple 5G modem have been circulating for a while now. Here’s everything we know about the chip and the phone.

Yesterday, Jeff Pu claimed Apple could release an iPhone SE with a custom-designed 5G modem in 2025. In a research note with Haitong International Securities, the analyst further noted that Apple’s chip supplier, TSMC, would manufacture the modem. 

It turns out that Pu was on to something. Earlier today, analyst Ming-Chi Kuo confirmed that Apple could start mass-producing its in-house modem as soon as 2025. 

While an iPhone SE with a custom-designed 5G modem may be in work, Kuo points out that it’s an internal prototype. In other words, Apple does not intend to mass-produce the device for public release. 

Earlier in the year, Kuo predicted that the iPhone SE 4 would have the same design as the iPhone 14 lineup — a 6.1-inch OLED display with Face ID technology in a notch. But that model may never make it to market this year, based on the analyst’s latest report. 

“I previously predicted that the iPhone SE 4 would be a derivative model of the iPhone 14,” says Kuo. “However, my latest research indicates that this derivative model will likely be an engineering prototype for Apple in-house 5G baseband chip technology and mass production validation, and there are no plans for mass production and sales.”

So when can we expect the Apple modem? 

Possible Release Date of the In-House Apple 5G Modem

According to Kuo, mass production of the Apple in-house 5G baseband chip depends mainly on the engineering prototype’s test result. 

That means mass production of the chip will only commence in 2025 — as Jeff Pu’s report suggested — upon successful testing. However, Kuo says Apple may push the schedule to 2026 or later if the testing falls below expectations. 

“The advanced-node technology to be employed for mass production of Apple’s in-house 5G baseband chip will depend on the mass production schedule,” the analyst concludes.