Apple announces 4.7-in. $399 iPhone SE

The second-generation iPhone SE is available in black, white, and red. Pre-orders begin at 8 a.m. EDT on Friday, April 17.

Apple, iPhone, iOS, iPhone SE, iPhone SE 2, mobile

Apple has unveiled its 4.7-in. $399 smartphone, introducing the device as the iPhone SE. The device will come in black, white, and (PRODUCT) RED, and it will be available for pre-order beginning Friday.

Apple’s $399 iPhone SE is introduced

The device meets many of the speculations that have been floating around for months with the exception of the name – many (including myself) had anticipated it would be called iPhone 9. It isn’t.

Otherwise, features include:

  • 4.7-in. Retina HD display.
  • Touch ID with Home button.
  • A13 Bionic chip.
  • Single camera, which supports Portrait mode.
  • Available in black, white and red.
  • Pricing starts at $399.
  • 64GB, 128GB and 256GB models. 
  • Customers can purchase the device for $9.54 a month or $229 with trade-in.
  • Ships from April 24.
  • You get one-year of Apple's TV+ service free with the purchase.
  • iPhone SE is water resistant to 1 meter for 30 minutes.

Touch ID is potentially more useful than Face ID if you wear a mask, as it relies on your fingerprint, rather than your face for biometric authentication. It is also worth observing that the iPhone 8 is no longer available at Apple's store.

What about the design?

Apple has manufactured the device using aerospace-grade aluminum and durable glass.  The rear glass finish includes a centered Apple logo and is made using a seven-layer color process.

The smartphone is water- and dust-resistant with an IP67 rating for water resistance up to 1 meter for 30 minutes.

What about the display?

The 4.7-in. Retina HD display supports True Tone, which adjusts the white balance to match the ambient light. True Tone was first introduced with the 2018 iPad Pro and aims to create a more natural viewing experience.

What about touch?

iPhone SE uses Haptic Touch for Quick Actions — such as animating Live Photos, previewing messages, rearranging apps or accessing contextual menus. First introduced with the iPhone XR, Haptic Touch replaces 3D Touch.

What about the processor?

Apple has brought the iPhone SE up-to-date with the inclusion of the A13 Bionic chip used in the iPhone 11 series. This is the fastest smartphone processor around, and means you’ll get great performance for most tasks.

The chip also includes an 8-core Neural Engine capable of 5 trillion operations per second, two Machine Learning Accelerators on the CPU and a new Machine Learning Controller to balance performance and efficiency.

What about battery life?

Apple promises good battery life (13 hours playing video on a single charge) and the device is wireless-charging capable with Qi-certified chargers. It also supports fast-charging, delivering a 50% charge in just 30 minutes.

What about network connectivity?

The iPhone SE offers both Wi-Fi 6 and Gigabit-class LTE. It also offers dual SIM with eSIM, so it is possible to have two separate phone numbers on a single device.

What about the camera?

The iPhone SE only includes a single-lens camera, but Apple says it is "the best single-camera system ever in an iPhone." It offers a 12-megapixel f/1.8 aperture Wide camera, and uses the image signal processor and Neural Engine of A13 Bionic to unlock even more benefits. That means Portrait mode is supported, as are lighting effects and depth control. 

AI also means the phone gives you Smart HDR support, which uses machine learning to intelligently re-light subjects in a frame for more natural-looking images.

The rear camera supports high-quality video capture at 4K up to 60fps – and extended dynamic range comes to iPhone SE for more highlight details up to 30fps.

There is also QuickTake video support on both the front and rear cameras, allowing video recording without switching out of Photo mode.

  • Digital zoom up to 5x
  • 12MP Wide camera
  • ƒ/1.8 aperture
  • Optical image stabilization
  • Six‑element lens
  • Autofocus with Focus Pixels
  • Wide color capture for photos and Live Photos
  • Next-generation Smart HDR for photos
  • Advanced red-eye correction
  • Auto image stabilization
  • Burst mode
  • Photo geotagging
  • Image formats captured: HEIF and JPEG.
  • 4K video recording at 24 fps, 30 fps, or 60 fps
  • 1080p HD video recording at 30 fps or 60 fps
  • 720p HD video recording at 30 fps
  • Extended dynamic range for video up to 30 fps
  • Optical image stabilization for video
  • Digital zoom up to 3x.
  • 7MP front camera.

What Apple says

Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing, Phil Schiller, took the boiler plate statement for the release, saying:

“The first iPhone SE was a hit with many customers who loved its unique combination of small size, high-end performance and affordable price; the new second-generation iPhone SE builds on that great idea and improves on it in every way — including our best-ever single-camera system for great photos and videos — while still being very affordable.

“iPhone SE features the industry-leading performance of A13 Bionic that enables great battery life, takes stunning Portrait mode and Smart HDR photos, shoots amazing videos with stereo audio, is great for games and super-fast web surfing, and is built with the same industry-leading security features our customers expect. We can’t wait to get iPhone SE into customers’ hands.”

What the analysts say

The first analyst reactions have also emerged.

Ben Wood at CCS Insight says:

"The new iPhone SE has the potential to drive the next wave of adoption of Apple's popular smartphone brand. Its aggressive pricing will challenge not only sales of new Android smartphones but is also likely to affect companies who refurbish and resell second-hand iPhones."

Ru Bhikha, mobiles expert at Uswitch says:

“Smartphone users, wedded to the iOS platform but not prepared to break the bank, will likely flock to the new SE, if the popularity of its predecessor is anything to go by. “The price looks even better value when you consider it includes a year’s subscription to Apple TV+, worth about £60.”

More information...

Apple has updated the information on its iPhone SE page, which now also includes an AR tour of the device that you can explore using Safari on current iPhones and iPads.

Apple also introduced its promised new Magic Keyboard with Trackpad today.

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Copyright © 2020 IDG Communications, Inc.

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