Apple Introduces the iPhone SE

By Tracey Dowdy

In a world where bigger is better, Apple has once again flown in the face of convention and taken a step back with the iPhone SE.

Debuting at $399 for 16GB and $499 for 64GB, it’s the lowest price yet for an iPhone at launch, and though it looks like an iPhone 5s with its 4 inch screen, it’s really a scaled-down version of the iPhone 6 and 6s.

The SE includes familiar features like:

Apple’s A9 processor, described as “capable of gaming console-class graphics performance that makes games and other apps much richer and more immersive.”

  • A 12mp camera that offers the same high quality features as the 6s like 4K video, capability for low light selfies, Retina Flash, and optical image stabilization.
  • Apple Pay for secure purchases in stores and in apps.
  • Live Photos that turns your photos into a 3-second clip, capturing before and after the moment.
  • Version 9.3 of Apple’s iOS software with features like Night Shift and improved News and CarPlay.
  • An always-listening Siri means your virtual assistant is ready to serve you as soon as you say “Hey Siri!”
  • An aluminum body.
  • Available in Silver, Gold, or Rose Gold.
  • Wi-Fi calling.
  • Battery life of 13 hours of video playback.

Sure it doesn’t have some the features of the 6s like 3D touch, but that’s a feature most of us can live without. When it comes down to it, for most people the biggest difference is going to be the size. The A9 processor means you’re getting top-of-the-line Apple software, just in a smaller package. From a design standpoint, it’s more reminiscent of the iPhone 5 than the 6 or 6s, but it’s still a sleek, lightweight and beautifully designed phone.

The launch of the SE comes just months after the launch of the iPhone 6s and months ahead of the anticipated iPhone 7 this September. The more recent iPhones may offer larger displays but they come with a correspondingly larger price. For those accustomed to the 4-inch display, the opportunity to upgrade to a faster, more feature-packed phone with the same size screen at a significantly lower cost than the iPhone 6 (4.7-inch) and 6 Plus (5.5-inch) is a big draw. Plus, that $399 price tag makes it a full $250 cheaper than the iPhone 6s. That’s a lot of saving for not much screen loss.

So who’s going to buy the iPhone SE it? With so many of us using our phones to watch videos, who is going to opt for a smaller screen? When you consider that according to data from MixPanel, 35 percent of iPhone users are still using a 4-inch device, Apple is betting on quite a few.

Tracey Dowdy is a freelance writer based just outside Washington DC. After years working for non-profits and charities, she now freelances, edits and researches on subjects ranging from family and education to history and trends in technology. Follow Tracey on Twitter.

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