Back to the Future: iPhone SE

Big phones may certainly be in, but Apple is making “compact” and “palm-friendly” the new cool. Several media analysts have duly reported that Apple has been working on a new 4-inch iPhone, its first device since the launch of the iPhone 5S in 2013. The company introduced the 4-inch iPhone SE on March 21, 2016, with the official launch following on March 31. Described as the “most powerful 4-inch iPhone ever,”, the iPhone SE features the design of the iPhone 5S with many of the internal components from the iPhone 6S, resulting in the latest and greatest mobile processor that is available in a smaller package than the previous model.

Basically, this time around, Apple did not come up with a new design for the smaller iPhone SE. Instead, they’ve recycled the old iPhone 5S model with multiple new components, which is basically reusing the same looks of a phone model three generations in a row. It’s definitely an odd move, witnessed for the first time in the technological industry.

 

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First thing’s first –  the breakdown of the device. The new 4-inch iPhone is fundamentally a mixture of the iPhone 6 and 6S but in a body resembling an iPhone 5 (with the availability of the new rose gold color as well). The iPhone SE has the 4″ Retina display of the iPhone 5s, its first-generation Touch ID sensor, and an identical frame. However, in the internal aspect, it comes with the new Apple A9 chip with 2GB of RAM, the new 12MP main snapper, and a slightly bigger battery capacity.

 

These are the key advantages for the new iPhone:

 

  • 4″ 16M-color LED-backlit IPS LCD of 640 x 1136px resolution, 326ppi
  • Apple iOS 9
  • Dual-core 1.8 GHz Twister 64-bit CPU, PowerVR GT7600 GPU, 2GB of RAM, Apple A9 SoC
  • 12MP F/2.2 camera with True tone LED flash, phase detection auto focus, 2160p@30fps, 1080p@30fps, @60fps and @120fps video recording, 720p video recording @120fps and 240fps
  • 1.2MP F/2.4 front-facing camera, HDR mode, 720p@30fps video
  • Comes in 16 and 64 GB of built-in storage
  • First-gen Touch ID fingerprint sensor
  • 4G LTE Cat.4 (150Mbps); Wi-Fi a/b/g/n/ac; Bluetooth 4.2; Lightning port; GPS with A-GPS and GLONASS; NFC (Apple Pay only)
  • 1,624 mAh battery, Power saving mode

 

However, as usual, several disadvantages follow the phone as well:

 

  • No 3D Touch
  • No microSD slot
  • Lacks optical image stabilization
  • NFC functionality limited to Apple Pay
  • No wireless charging, an infrared port, or FM radio
  • No enhanced resistance to liquids or dust
  • No user-replaceable battery

 

Of course, these supposed limitations are a no-brainer to every Apple customers out in the world. Apple’s restrictions have been around for years, so they shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone, although one can still capture Live Photos with the new model.

 

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As for the meaning of the device’s name, Apple’s Phil Schiller told the mass that “SE” stands for “Special Edition”. Also, in the personal aspect, it is also an homage to the Macintosh SE.

In terms of the price, Apple is currently offering the iPhone SE in two compositions: 16GB of storage for USD $399 and 64GB of storage for $499. Also, it is planning to launched initially in countries including Australia, Canada, China, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Japan, New Zealand, Puerto Rico, Singapore, the UK, US Virgin Islands and the US, with a plan to expand availability to additional countries starting in early April (hopefully Korea as well).

Critics have come up with two reasons to interpret this move, one being that Apple is trying to take the easy road. Basically, they have concluded that the company is striving toward the main goal of reusing an existing design to produce a lower, cost-effective iPhone without having to hurt margins. Another possible interpretation that they have come up with is that Apple is attempting to revive the much-anticipated iconic iPhone 5 design in an effort to appeal to a group of users who not only want a reasonably-priced alternative but would also prefer the smaller size. After all, about one-third of all Apple users are still using older 4-inch models, refusing to move on.

The verdict is out: iPhone SE has a nice nostalgic feeling of the past, back to the days of the smaller iPhones when they were dominating the smartphone market – its compact size and powerful hardware appreciated by many. Given the recycled design, it may hardly attract any new users to Apple’s platform, but will definitely cater to those who are stuck in the past to level and open up to the added features.

 

What do you think about the new iPhone design?

 

 

Varsity Swim Team’s Strong Performance at AISA

Alas, the 2015-2016 spring sports season is coming to a close. With this in mind, KIS Varsity Swim team has taken a step further to finishing the term with a solid performance at this year’s AISA (Association of International Schools in Asia) meet at Seoul International School, from April 15th to 16th. The team was consisted of 16 swimmers as point scorers with 8 girls and 8 boys selected from total 26 members. Along with SIS and SOIS (Senri Osaka International School), KIS pulled off a phenomenal competition, bringing home excellent results.

 

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The 3 AISA teams of KIS, SIS, and SOIS

 

The 16 AISA swimmers were composed of Sarah Hong (10), Selena Kim (10), Hajung Lee (12), Hannah Lee (11), Seiyeon Park (11), Graisy Ra (9), Yonje Rhee (9), and Celine Yoon (9) from the girls team, and Sean Choi (10), Geo Han (11), Patrick Jung (10), Joonjae Kim (9), Keetae Kim (12), Junwon Lee (10), Ki Hwan Nam (12), and Jaehyeon Park (9) from the boys team.

 

The KIS Varsity Swim Team placed 2nd at the tournament with SIS placing 1st and SOIS in 3rd. However, surprisingly, the team was able to bring home the Team Sportsmanship Award this year, as SOIS had always claimed the title in the previous years. To add on to the wow factor, KIS swimmers broke 7 AISA records in total. First off, Celine Yoon, Selena Kim, Yonje Rhee and Sarah Hong set the new 200M medley relay record. Also, Sean Choi set the record in the 50M butterfly event. Last but not least, Yonje Rhee shocked everyone by setting records in the 200M Individual Medley, 50M and 100M butterfly, and 50M and 100M backstroke events – meaning new records for all the events she swam in. With this accomplishment, she was able to effortlessly claim the Top Female Swimmer Award as well.

 

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Yonje’s outstanding achievement

 

When the record setters of the team were interviewed with a few questions, they all answered with similarly enthusiastic reactions and responses.

 

  1. How did you feel about the AISA meet in general?

 

“I am very honored and grateful that I broke so many AISA records last weekend. I owe a lot of my accomplishments to the KIS swim team with the other swim members pushing me to work harder at every practice. The upcoming meet, KAIAC, will be the final competition this season and I am looking forward to the results that we as a team bring back. I was really proud to have represented our school during this swimming season and as a freshman, I am excited for the next swimming seasons,” Yonje responded with vigor.

 

“The AISA meet was a terrific experience in my high school swimming career as I have never swum that many events in the span of two days. Regarding my preparations for that meet, I did not particularly train extra specially or anything,” Sean remarked.

 

“AISA was really exciting and a lot of team bonding was made. Despite the limited pool size, the environment made us feel more like a tight team which was great. It was also a great opportunity to meet swimmers from other schools,” Selena said.

 

  1. How did you feel about setting new records for AISA?

 

“I am very proud of our team for breaking the AISA girls medley relay record. I believe we deserved 1st place because we all trained hard enough to be rewarded with the title. Half of our medley team swimmers went to the sophomore Experiential Education trip and could not train for several days, which worried us that we would not be able to swim our best. However, we all did great with no major problems, and I am very happy for that,” replied Sarah.

 

“I was honestly really surprised when the girls medley relay broke the AISA record because we’ve never beaten the SIS medley relay team before. But when I found out we broke an AISA record I felt very proud of not only our medley team but of the coaches and the entire team because they always supported us,” Selena remarked.

 

“Breaking the AISA record came to me as a surprise as I was not expecting it for several reasons. The meet in general was an exhausting experience as I have never swam 7 different events in a single day. Also, I had to swim the 100M IM merely ten minutes prior to the next event. Basically, I was dying. Breaking the record was NOT one of my goals. But the 50M butterfly is one of the only events I feel confident in winning because the time gap I have in between second place has always been a significant amount,” Sean added.

 

  1. How are you preparing for this upcoming KAIAC (Korean-American Interscholastic Activities Conference)?

 

“One of my main goals for the KAIAC meet is to break the KAIAC record for the 50m butterfly (which I have a long way to go). I have definitely been preparing extra hard for this meet: strict workouts, hellish training, and lots and lots of eating and sleeping”, Sean claimed.

 

“We’re swimming very intensely these days, around 2 kilometers every practice. Our coach is also pushing us to sleep and eat a lot. As of right now, the hard practices make me hate swimming but I know that when we get our best times in KAIAC, we’ll love swimming (and the coaches) again,” replied Selena.

 

“This year was my first year participating in AISA as a freshman and I learned so many things there. It felt really good for me to swim as hard as I could in AISA since I had practiced hard every day, and AISA was finally the time to show off what the team had been practicing for. Setting a new record for the girls medley relay was surreal, and it made me so thankful that our hard work at practices had payed off. The past few weeks were all about preparing for KAIAC and even though the drills that we do can be extremely tiring at times, I know that it’ll be worth it once I get to swim in KAIAC. KAIAC is the last competition of the season, and although I’m pretty nervous, I push myself to be the best swimmer that I can be everyday so that I won’t regret anything in the team’s last competition of the season!” Celine answered with glee.

 

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Team photo after meet, with the Team Sportsmanship Award

 

On the whole, the team’s sense of pride and spirit among each other heightened, and Mr. McClure, the Varsity Swim Team coach, was no exception.

 

“AISA in general was a really awesome meet with a fun format. Timewise, our team showed 2% improvement overall, and a lot of the swimmers decreased their previous records by at least 3 seconds. I also loved having Japan over, and just the whole idea of having three schools come along and swim together in such an exciting competition. What was most impressive was the Team Sportsmanship Award, which I personally think served as the whole school’s achievement. It proved that we have succeeded in accomplishing one of our school’s goals and raising our school’s reputation as a whole,” he responded passionately.

 

With a tightly packed training schedule and a determined mind to score, the Varsity Swim Team is ready to take on KAIAC and bring out the best results hopefully for a secure placing in the top 3’s. Afterall, swimming is a team sport, despite the many individualistic aspects.

 

– Ashley Kim (‘18)