iPhone SE: My Initial Thoughts

Recently announced, the iPhone SE is the much rumoured return to 4” iPhones. So what do I think of it?


Apple have always been slow to increase screen size. It stuck with 3.5” screens from the original iPhone in 2007 up until the launch of the iPhone 5 in September 2012. By this time the Android world had already seen the likes of the 4.3″ HTC Sensation, the 4.0″ Samsung Galaxy S, and the 5.0″ Dell Streak.

The iPhone 5 and 5S upped the screen size to 4.0”, but by that time the Android world was already hitting back with even larger screens.

In 2014, Apple finally decided to compete in the big screen market. The iPhone 6 came with a 4.7”, and its larger brother the 6 Plus, released at the same time, came with a 5.5” screen. These sizes were carried through to the 6S and 6S Plus range in 2015.

However, while this was going on, there were a lot of iPhone fans – myself included – who didn’t like the direction they were going. Some iPhone users longed for a more powerful iPhone at the size of the iPhone 5s.


Apple have been pretty bad at keeping their future products secret of late – or perhaps the leaks are deliberate to keep the rumour mill fuelled. Rumours of Apple returning to a smaller handset had been flying around for about a year, but a lot of people thought it was just wishful thinking.

iPhone SE

At the Apple Event in March 2016, the rumours were proved correct, with the launch of the iPhone SE.

Rather than being a mini iPhone 6S with rounded edges, it instead looks identical to the iPhone 5S – with the exception of SE written on the back and being available in rose gold.


Under the casing, Apple has managed to cram the power of an iPhone 6S. It has a 1.85 GHz Apple A9 processor and M9 motion coprocessor, 2 GB RAM, and features the same battery size as the iPhone 5S.

It has the same 12 MP camera as the iPhone 6S and is capable of shooting 4K video. It has the 1.2MP front camera from the iPhone 5S, which now includes the Retina Flash function from the iPhone 6S.

The iPhone SE lacks the 3D Touch from the iPhone 6S, but it does include an NFC chip for Apple Pay – something the iPhone 5S didn’t.

Apple also boasts that the iPhone SE now has better and improved antennas for WiFi and cellular connections.

As you can see from its specs, it the iPhone SE is a hybrid of an iPhone 6S and iPhone 5S.

What Does SE Mean?

This is the first time we have seen an iPhone release without a number behind it since the original iPhone in 2007. What does the SE stand for? Special Edition? Small Edition? Stupid Edition?


The biggest concern is that 16 GB is still the base model. It’s 2016, and 16 GB really is quite small, even for the most moderate user. It would have been better for Apple to produce a 32 GB and 64 GB version, rather than 16 GB and 64 GB versions.

However, I know a few people already tempted by the 16 GB model, so there must still be a market for it.


Outright price and on contract is certainly a lot less than any other iPhone at launch. Here in the UK it is cheaper to get the iPhone SE on contract than the almost-2-year-old iPhone 6 or 6 Plus.

I wouldn’t call the iPhone SE a budget handset, but it can compete heavily against midrange Android handsets and Windows Phones being offered on contracts, something that iPhone 6/6 Plus and 6s/6s Plus couldn’t do.

Will I Get One?

I am still rocking an iPhone 5 and loving it. There are four main reasons I have stuck with it.

  1. It is a 64 GB model, which gives me plenty of room for my music without worrying about filling it.
  2. It still performs very well, even on iOS 9 I have no issues or slow down.
  3. The price of newer handsets – especially here in the UK – are out of my budget, even if I was paying monthly.
  4. I like the size of my handset and haven’t been impressed with size increase or the design of anything higher than the iPhone 5S.

With the release of the iPhone SE, most of my worries have been covered. It is the same comfortable size as my iPhone 5, so all my accessories and power cases should fit, and the price is a lot more reasonable than it has been in recent years – although the 64 GB version is going to cost a lot more than the 16 GB version.

Being a smaller iPhone 6S means performance should be through the roof – especially as the system has a much smaller screen to power.

It’s Not Low End

The iPhone SE has already been covered by Low End Mac in iPhone SE The First Low End iPhone. I personally wouldn’t class the iPhone SE as low-end. It’s a 6S in smaller form and smaller price, and for some that is a dream come true.

For others there is always the larger iPhone 6s/6s Plus.

Too Many Lines?

Are we in danger of releasing too many models of products now that Steve isn’t here to keep hold of the reigns? It does seem both the iPhone and iPad range have ballooned, but perhaps it is just to cover a wide market.


I personally think the new 4″ iPhone SE from Apple could prove a very successful product. I am very interested, and I know my wife is too.

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