KGI Securities’s Apple analyst Ming-chi Kuo has not had his sights set on a sequel to the iPhone SE, admittedly, but part of the reasoning may be that Apple has not had enough human resources to work on the phone, thanks to R&D-related delays on the iPhone X.
A passage of the note as extracted by MacRumors implies that we may not see an iPhone SE 2 at all in 2018 if Apple cannot will it.
The announcement of three new iPhone models in the same quarter in the second half of 2017 was the first time Apple made such a major endeavor, and we believe the delay of iPhone X, which had the most complicated design yet, shows that Apple doesn’t have enough resources available for development.[…]
With three new models in the pipeline for the second half of 2018, we believe Apple may have used up its development resources. Also, we think the firm will do all it can to avoid repeating the mistake of a shipment delay for the three new models. As such, we believe Apple is unlikely to have enough spare resources to develop a new iPhone model for launch in 2Q18.
If the company does update its most affordable iPhone, it will likely feature conservative specification upgrades, but no additional features like the TrueDepth camera (for Face ID, Animoji and other mapping and tracking facial features), wireless charging — the most recent rumor on the device claimed the iPhone SE 2 would have it — or a Super Retina Display.
It’s believed that whatever sub-$500 device Apple may produce will come out from assembler Wistron’s plants in India in the second quarter.