Apple's $399 iPhone SE is here, and it might actually fit in your pocket
After months of rumors, Apple says its new edition of the old iPhone is shipping this month.
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"When it was planning this product, Apple couldn't have known it would land in a market in complete turmoil as a result of the covid-19 coronavirus pandemic," CCS Insight analyst Ben Wood said. "Although the new iPhone SE was undoubtedly designed to take the fight to Android rivals, it now also offers a more affordable iPhone at a time when many consumers will find it hard to justify spending $1,000 or more on one of Apple's flagship devices."
Watch this: Apple's new iPhone SE is basically an iPhone 11 in a small package
Instead of hosting a flashy event in March, as previously expected, Apple introduced the new phone in a press release on Wednesday. It joins companies around the globe that have moved away from big events to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus. Apple revealed its new MacBook Air and iPad Pro with a similar announcement in March.
The new iPhone SE has many of the features found in the more expensive iPhone 11 and 11 Pro, like an A13 Bionic processor, Qi wireless charging, haptic touch and a True Tone display (though the SE doesn't have an OLED screen like its two Pro siblings). The new phone has a single rear 12-megapixel camera with a 28-millimeter f/1.8 lens with Portrait Mode, Smart HDR and optical image stabilization. It's similar to the main camera found on the iPhone 11 and 11 Pro.
Apple iPhone SE 2020 Specifications
Apple iPhone SE 2020 Specifications
Display size, resolution
4.7-inch Retina HD; 1,334x750 pixels
5.45 x 2.65 x 0.29 in
138.4 x 67.3 x 7.3 mm
Weight (Ounces, Grams)
5.22 oz; 148g
Apple A13 Bionic
64GB, 128GB, 256GB
Water resistant (IP67); dual-SIM capabilities (nano-SIM and e-SIM); wireless charging
Price off-contract (USD)
$399 (64GB), $449 (128GB), $549 (256GB)
£419 (64GB), £469 (128GB), £569 (256GB)
AU$749 (64GB), AU$829 (128GB), AU$999 (256GB)
For those who aren't fans of the current era of iPhones with Face ID, beginning with 2017's
, Apple's new entry-level iPhone keeps Touch ID and the haptic home button. There is also a lightning port, but there isn't a headphone jack.
iPhone 11 Pro
, previously the smallest of the new-generation iPhones you could buy from Apple, has a 5.8-inch display. The new SE has a 4.7-inch display without a notch similar to the iPhone 6, 6S, 7 and 8.
Smartphone shipments saw their biggest-ever drop in February -- down 38% year over year to 61.8 million units, according to Strategy Analytics -- as the coronavirus ravaged China, one of the world's largest markets and a vital manufacturing hub. For all of 2020, phone sales are expected to hit a 10-year low. Shipments of mobile phones, which include flip phones, likely will drop 13% year-over-year to 1.57 billion units in 2020, while smartphone shipments should tumble about 11% to 1.26 billion units, according to CCS Insights.
Samsung, the world's biggest phone-maker and Apple's chief rival, last week introduced six new Galaxy A Series phones aimed at budget-conscious buyers. The four new 4G LTE models range from $110 for the Galaxy A10 to $400 for the Galaxy A51. Samsung even introduced two 5G devices, the $500 Galaxy A51 5G and the $600 Galaxy A71 5G, giving the South Korean company two of the cheapest 5G phones in the US.
Apple released the original iPhone SE with a 4-inch screen in March 2016. "SE" stood for "Special Edition." The company took the A9 processor in the
, then its flagship phone, and put it in a device that looked like an
. With most phone screens (in 2016 and now) exceeding 5 inches, the 2016 iPhone SE developed a cult following among people who liked smaller screens. Phones have only got bigger in the years since, which explains the buzz around Apple reviving the model.
Originally published April 15, 8 a.m. PT Update, 3:05 p.m.: Adds analyst comment.
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