The Next 'Cheap' iPhone Might Not Have a Home Button

The next iPhone SE reportedly won't have a Home button or support Touch ID. It's going to be Face ID all the way.

iphone se vs iphone 13 mini
Tucker Bowe

Apple currently only sells one iPhone that still has the nostalgic Home button. It's the iPhone SE (3rd generation), which was released earlier this year (in March 2022) and is the most affordable — and smallest — iPhone in Apple's current lineup. It starts at $429.

Apple has only just released its new line of iPhone 14s, but it is apparently working on a new "cheap" iPhone, which would be the fourth-generation iPhone SE, as well. However, the big news is that it's set to not have a Home button. This means that the current iPhone SE (3rd generation) would be the last iPhone to have a Home button. That's right, it's the end of an era.

Apple has made a tradition of releasing a "cheap" iPhone — called the iPhone SE — that essentially puts new guts (i.e. a new processor) in an old form factor. The current iPhone SE (3rd generation), for example, has a new-age A15 Bionic processor and it supports 5G, but it has the same body of the iPhone 8 that was released almost five years ago in September 2017.

The iPhone SE that came before it, the second-generation model, was released in 2020 and put new guts in the same body as the iPhone 6, which was released in 2014. And yes, this also had a Home button.

iphone xr blue back
The next iPhone SE is expected to adopt the same body as the iPhone XR (above), which was released in 2018 and was one of the first iPhones to have Face ID and no Home button.

According to known Apple leaker Jon Prosser (via 9to5Mac), the next upcoming fourth-generation iPhone SE will have the same body as the 2018-released iPhone XR, which was one of the first iPhones to get rid of the Home Button and adopt Face ID. (Note: The first iPhone with Face ID and no Home button was the iPhone X, which was released in 2017.)

This news means that the next iPhone SE will also be unlikely to have Touch ID, which is integrated in the Home button of the current iPhone SE. According to Bloomberg's Mark Gurman, Apple will likely not incorporate Touch ID in the new iPhone SE's power button like it has done with the most recent iPad Air and iPad mini. It also will probably not have fingerprint reader integrated into the display, which many Android smartphones support, either.

If you remember, the iPhone XR was basically a cheaper version of the iPhone XS that was released at the same time; the iPhone XR and iPhone XS were mostly the same, but the "XR" had a less-premium LCD display (instead of OLED), an inferior rear-camera system and a slightly less durable body. At the time the iPhone XR was priced at $749, which was roughly $250 cheaper than the iPhone XS.

Typically, Apple releases a new iPhone SE about every two years. The most recent iPhone SE (3rd-generation) was just released this past spring, meaning we probably won't be getting this new iPhone SE sans Home button until spring 2024. (However, I wouldn't completely rule out a new iPhone SE this coming March.)

Either way, it appears that the Home button that many people love and cherish, is nearing extinction.

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