Apple has finally unveiled what is possibly the most-leaked phone in history: the cheaper, smaller, specced-down iPhone SE. The idea of creating a toned-down iPhone that looks exactly like the iPhone 5s might not sound like it makes a lot sense at first, but it was actually a necessary and crucial move from Apple.
The iPhone SE is a surprisingly-powerful device, considering that it will start at USD$399 for the 16GB model, and USD$499 for 64GB. Its purpose is to replace the aging iPhone 5s as the budget entrance to the official Apple lineup.
Even so, it has the same A9 and M9 processors as the iPhone 6s, the same 12MP rating for its camera, Apple Pay, and hands-free Siri.
The smaller 4-inch screen still boasts ‘retina’ resolution at 326 pixels per inch, and a battery increase from 1560mAh to 1642mAh when compared to the iPhone 5s. Also on the list of reasons-why-to-upgrade from the 5s is that the SE will reportedly receive faster LTE and WiFi speeds than its spiritual predecessor.
Of course, sacrifices have been made. The front-facing camera is just 1.2MP – the same as the iPhone 5s – and RAM is 1GB, where the iPhone 6s has 2GB. There’s also no 3D touch.
Overall, the iPhone SE sounds like a great replacement for the aging 5s. It gives fans of the smaller screen a decent phone, and folks who can’t afford a 6s a great entry point to the Apple ecosystem. On top of that, it sounds like it’s great value for money.
Keeping up with the competition
For a few years now, Android manufacturers have been increasingly moving towards creating affordable devices, with almost top-tier specs. Either that, or budget devices with mid-range specs. Whatever your poison, you’ve been able to get it more-affordably than ever, so long as you weren’t aiming for absolute flagship status.
In this environment, Apple hasn’t really been able to compete. The iPhone 5s is was a decent option, but when you could grab a Nexus or Motorola with an equivalent or better user experience for less money, it’s probable that Apple has been losing out on market share that it could otherwise easily have nabbed.
The iPhone SE closes that gap, at least to some degree. Ultra-cheap Android phones like the HTC Desire 520 or Moto G (2015 edition) are still in a different league, but at least now the Nexus line of smartphones has something to worry about.