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.
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.
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?