Until yesterday, Apple had never designed a low-end iPhone. Every single iPhone model had been designed as the top-end iPhone and only became low-end as newer models arrived. The iPhone SE changes that.
The iPhone SE is a curious hybrid. It’s exactly the same size as the iPhone 5S, which has been Apple’s low-end iPhone since last October. Every accessory for the iPhone 5 and 5S should work with the SE. All those cases to choose from!
The iPhone SE has exactly the same A9 processor and cameras as the iPhone 6S and 6S Plus. No word from Apple whether the A9 runs at the same 1.85 GHz as it does in the iPhone 6S, but Apple does promise twice the power of the iPhone 5S.
With the iPhone SE, you get Live Photo, a 12 MP camera, and the ability to shoot 4K video. Nothing about the iPhone SE sounds low-end, does it?
The Price Point
There are two versions of the iPhone SE. For $399 in the US, you get the 16 GB model, which will probably be the most popular among first-time iPhone buyers and iPhone users with 8 GB models. It should sell decently to people with 16 GB iPhones who are content with the amount of storage.
Like a lot of people with 16 GB iPhones (mine is the pre-LTE iPhone 4S), I would like more storage. Until now, the low-end alternative was a 32 GB iPhone 5S for $499. Now I can get the iPhone SE with 64 GB at that price point. For anyone with an iPhone 4S, 5, 5C, or 5S, this is going to be very tempting. With 64 GB, this should be a lot more future-proof than the 16 GB model.
The biggest surprise for me was that the iPhone SE is essentially an iPhone 6S with the screen and case of an iPhone 5S. I figured Apple would design its new small, low-end iPhone around the A8 processor in the midrange iPhone 6. Surprise – Apple took things right to the top with the SE!
Apple has done some remarkable things in improving the iPhone. The dual-core iPhone 4S doubled the power of the iPhone 4. The iPhone 5, with its 4″ display, tripled the power of the 4S. The 64-bit iPhone 5S doubled the power of the 5. And now the SE doubles the power of the 5S – at the lowest price Apple has ever put on an iPhone.
Most of the smartphone world debates which brand and model of Android phone to buy next. A lot of Android users end up with pretty compromised low-end models to keep their costs down.
Apple has taken the opposite approach with the iPhone SE. Instead of compromising storage, processing power, screen quality, or ditching metal for plastic, Apple built a high-end iPhone 6S class smartphone in a smaller case. The only 6S feature missing is 3D Touch.
At $399, Apple raises the bar on entry-level smartphones. This is going to slash prices of used iPhone 5 models on the used market because it offers so much power at such an attractive price.
Yes, Apple has designed it’s first low-end iPhone. And if this is how Apple does low-end, I’m a huge fan!
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