First look: Apple offers premium power at budget pricing with new iPhone SE

Posted:
in iPhone edited March 2016
Rather than letting the 4-inch iPhone form factor die a slow death, Apple gave it a shot in the arm on Monday with the debut of the new iPhone SE. AppleInsider was there for the product's unveiling, and offers a closer look at the newly refreshed lineup.




Perhaps the biggest surprise in Monday's announcement was the starting price of the iPhone SE --?at just $399 for 16 gigabytes, it's Apple's most affordable new iPhone model ever.

Despite the low entry price, the handset still has Apple's latest-generation A9 processor and 12-megapixel camera, capable of recording 4K video. Really, compared to an iPhone 6s, the only thing missing from the iPhone SE (aside from a larger display) is pressure sensing 3D Touch.



The iPhone SE will likely expand the "advanced hardware" status of the iPhone install base. Previously, Apple made it clear that older models were slower and had poorer cameras, for example. Now, that's not necessarily the case anymore.

The absence of 3D Touch is somewhat disappointing, but it's likely a technical issue that Apple isn't able to pull off. And the handset maxes out at 64 gigabytes, so those with a large library of photos, videos and apps will need to go for a larger form factor to get 128 gigabytes.




The design is basic -- it's not a small iPhone 6s, and it purposefully looks like the iPhone 5 series. Apple simply didn't give the device a generation number in the branding, as calling it a "5" would make it sound outdated, and it most certainly is not.




The design of the handset itself is also distinct, helping to separate it from the higher end models. In particular, the iPhone SE's matte metal makes it look different and also entry-level, much like the aluminum casing on the Apple Watch Sport doesn't have the same level of quality as the stainless steel Apple Watch.

Preorders for the iPhone SE will begin this Thursday, and the device officially launches next week, on March 31.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 58
    It's much cheaper; more price-competitive with clones. So does that mean the SE stands for "Samsung Edition"?
    latifbp6Sgoldfish
  • Reply 2 of 58
    AI2xxxAI2xxx Posts: 38member
    Looks like a nice option for those that desire a 4 inch phone, but I don't think I could go back to something that small.
    pmzkevin kee6Sgoldfish
  • Reply 3 of 58
    saareksaarek Posts: 1,105member
    I wish they'd upped the price to $449 and started at 32gb.

    The UK cost of £80 to go from 16gb to 64gb is just ridiculous. Especially when the price per gb would only add around £5 at most to the cost of materials.

    16gb is just not enough for the average user, I get that Apple wants more money but there is no excuse for their flagship devices to start at 16gb.
    edited March 2016 icoco3argonaut
  • Reply 4 of 58
    eightzeroeightzero Posts: 2,291member
    Me likee. A free upgrade? Yes, please!
  • Reply 5 of 58
    AI2xxxAI2xxx Posts: 38member
    saarek said:
    The UK cost of £80 to go from 16gb to 64gb is just ridiculous. Especially when the price per gb would only add around £5 at most to the cost of materials.
    Apple consumers will agree with you, Apple investors will not.

    The price increments for memory has been crazy for years. We're starting to see a shift in the mobile industry, but I don't see Apple making that change anytime soon.
    cash907censored
  • Reply 6 of 58
    levilevi Posts: 344member
    saarek said:
    I wish they'd upped the price to $449 and started at 32gb.

    The UK cost of £80 to go from 16gb to 64gb is just ridiculous. Especially when the price per gb would only add around £5 at most to the cost of materials.

    16gb is just not enough for the average user, I get that Apple wants more money but there is no excuse for their flagship devices to start at 16gb.
    Agee with Sog's comments. 16GB wouldn't be enough for me, so I opt for 64, whereas 16 is more than enough for my parents. Same goes for a lot of business users that don't store music, video or pictures. My work issues 16 GB iPhones exclusively. Literally millions of users are fine with 16GB
    aaronjpatchythepiratestevehlatifbpration albaconstangnolamacguy
  • Reply 7 of 58
    saareksaarek Posts: 1,105member
    sog35 said:
    saarek said:
    I wish they'd upped the price to $399 and started at 32gb.

    The UK cost of £80 to go from 16gb to 64gb is just ridiculous. Especially when the price per gb would only add around £5 at most to the cost of materials.

    16gb is just not enough for the average user, I get that Apple wants more money but there is no excuse for their flagship devices to start at 16gb.
    Apple's sells TENS of MILLIONS of 16GB phones a year.

    Its time for you to get out of your own 'world' and realize other people are perfectly fine with 16 GB.
    Most people buy the 16gb because it's the cheapest and they don't know any better.

    Unless you use very few apps and rarely take photos it is not enough.

    I accept that some people are able to get away with just 16gb.

    However most phone manufactures, especially the flagship devices moved away from 16gb a long time ago.

    16gb back in 2010 made sense, it does not make sense now, especially when you plan to keep the device for 3 or more years.
    ireland1983icoco3argonautcnocbuicash907censored
  • Reply 8 of 58
    dasanman69dasanman69 Posts: 12,976member
    saarek said:
    sog35 said:
    Apple's sells TENS of MILLIONS of 16GB phones a year.

    Its time for you to get out of your own 'world' and realize other people are perfectly fine with 16 GB.

    Unless you use very few apps and rarely take photos it is not enough.
    Then why bother buying an expensive smartphone? 
  • Reply 9 of 58
    pmzpmz Posts: 3,433member
    saarek said:
    sog35 said:
    Apple's sells TENS of MILLIONS of 16GB phones a year.

    Its time for you to get out of your own 'world' and realize other people are perfectly fine with 16 GB.
    Most people buy the 16gb because it's the cheapest and they don't know any better.

    Unless you use very few apps and rarely take photos it is not enough.

    I accept that some people are able to get away with just 16gb.

    However most phone manufactures, especially the flagship devices moved away from 16gb a long time ago.

    16gb back in 2010 made sense, it does not make sense now, especially when you plan to keep the device for 3 or more years.
    You're wrong.

    1) A tremendous swath of users don't know or care how much storage their device has.
    2) Today it is actually more possible to live with a 16 GB device than it ever was before. Not the other way around. Two of the biggest culprits of storage space: iMessages, and Photo library have had recent innovations that prevent them from taking up all of your storage. iMessage can now auto-delete old messages, and iCloud Photo Library + Optimize iPhone Storage allows you to take as much Photo and Video as you like, while constantly reducing the amount of actual local storage.

    So, the argument that it "made sense" back in 2010 when none of these features existed is completely wrong.
    aaronjpatchythepiratebanchostevehjkichlinediplicationration albaconstangnolamacguy
  • Reply 10 of 58
    If photos and music are in the cloud, I don't need them all to fit on the phone anymore, so I imagine lots of people can get by with 16GB. I definitely could not until icloud photo library happened. Thus I have actually reduced the memory in my latest purchase. More streaming and cloud access means less memory needed. Of course those that need all the access when there is no signal/connectivity are still stuck needing more memory.
    aaronjdouglas baileyargonautjkichlinebaconstang
  • Reply 11 of 58
    misamisa Posts: 827member
    16GB is fine to get people to use/switch to the iPhone, unlike an Android device, it's actually rather seemless if you have enough space or not until you try to store all your music on the device.

    16GB is the same size as the iPod Classic's first three generations (2001-2004) and since then music compression has improved, and power consumption has improved.

    But a 16GB iPod still costs 250$ and the 7th generation Nano is still available and only in 16GB size. So Apple clearly makes a lot of money of the 16GB size because they likely have a very good deal on 16GB NAND chips.

    baconstang
  • Reply 12 of 58
    mike1mike1 Posts: 1,847member
    saarek said:
    sog35 said:
    Apple's sells TENS of MILLIONS of 16GB phones a year.

    Its time for you to get out of your own 'world' and realize other people are perfectly fine with 16 GB.
    Most people buy the 16gb because it's the cheapest and they don't know any better.

    Unless you use very few apps and rarely take photos it is not enough.

    I accept that some people are able to get away with just 16gb.

    However most phone manufactures, especially the flagship devices moved away from 16gb a long time ago.

    16gb back in 2010 made sense, it does not make sense now, especially when you plan to keep the device for 3 or more years.

    Just can't accept that millions of people have completely different use cases than you. My daughter is upgrading from an 8GB iPhone 4, so 16GB will be more than fine. Somebody else spoke about business users not needing more than 16GB. Not everybody keeps every pic ever taken without transferring them to iCloud or a computer. People stream netflix and Amazon and don't need to store videos. Just because you need more storage does not mean everybody does.
    edited March 2016 aaronjentropysstevehjkichlineration albaconstangnolamacguy
  • Reply 13 of 58
    dasanman69dasanman69 Posts: 12,976member
    pmz said:
    saarek said:
    Most people buy the 16gb because it's the cheapest and they don't know any better.

    Unless you use very few apps and rarely take photos it is not enough.

    I accept that some people are able to get away with just 16gb.

    However most phone manufactures, especially the flagship devices moved away from 16gb a long time ago.

    16gb back in 2010 made sense, it does not make sense now, especially when you plan to keep the device for 3 or more years.
    You're wrong.

    1) A tremendous swath of users don't know or care how much storage their device has.
    2) Today it is actually more possible to live with a 16 GB device than it ever was before. Not the other way around. Two of the biggest culprits of storage space: iMessages, and Photo library have had recent innovations that prevent them from taking up all of your storage. iMessage can now auto-delete old messages, and iCloud Photo Library + Optimize iPhone Storage allows you to take as much Photo and Video as you like, while constantly reducing the amount of actual local storage.

    So, the argument that it "made sense" back in 2010 when none of these features existed is completely wrong.
    How much bigger is the OS? How much bigger is the average app? My son has a 16GB iPad mini, he has no photos on the device,  doesn't iMessage with any one , and has only a handful of apps,  and he's constantly running out of space. 
    icoco3cnocbuicash907censored
  • Reply 14 of 58
    19831983 Posts: 1,158member
    They didn't upgrade the front facing camera to 5MP. But that's probably because the external design is identical to the 5S (with the exception of the now matte chamfers) so there probably wasn't any room for that larger sensor, higher-res camera. And probably also why they kept the pill shaped rear flash too.

    This is a nice phone though, very well specified for an entry level iPhone. But they've kept the 6 and 6 Plus in the range, which cost more and have larger screens of course, but are of lower overall specification...this might cause some confusion with customers.
    edited March 2016
  • Reply 15 of 58
    pmz said:
    You're wrong.

    1) A tremendous swath of users don't know or care how much storage their device has.
    2) Today it is actually more possible to live with a 16 GB device than it ever was before. Not the other way around. Two of the biggest culprits of storage space: iMessages, and Photo library have had recent innovations that prevent them from taking up all of your storage. iMessage can now auto-delete old messages, and iCloud Photo Library + Optimize iPhone Storage allows you to take as much Photo and Video as you like, while constantly reducing the amount of actual local storage.

    So, the argument that it "made sense" back in 2010 when none of these features existed is completely wrong.
    How much bigger is the OS? How much bigger is the average app? My son has a 16GB iPad mini, he has no photos on the device,  doesn't iMessage with any one , and has only a handful of apps,  and he's constantly running out of space. 
    Why did you buy/allow him to buy such a crippled device when you clearly know better??
    baconstangnolamacguy
  • Reply 16 of 58
    Personally I would have liked to have seen Apple bump the base storage up to 32gb but then again I'm one of those fringe people who has to cram as much on to his iPhone as possible. Were it up to me I'd like an iPhone with 1tb of storage :p
    argonaut
  • Reply 17 of 58
    1983 said:
    They didn't upgrade the front facing camera to 5MP. But that's probably because the external design is identical to the 5S (with the exception of the now matte chamfers) so there probably wasn't any room for that larger sensor, higher-res camera. And probably also why they kept the pill shaped rear flash too.

    This is a nice phone though, very well specified for an entry level iPhone. But they've kept the 6 and 6 Plus in the range, which cost more and have larger screens of course, but are of lower overall specification...this might cause some confusion with customers.
    I concur... and the fact it's 5s form factor vs a new structure makes the after market a great deal (I've got my wife's 5 case, etc. still). 

    While the 5c was a nice marketing gimmick (primarily for resellers), this phone is for Apple to go back to being Apple and making all the money on the phone (less room on discounts and promotions for resellers).  I guessing this pricing will put the 'umbrella' really low on the current Android phone products, and like 5cent Coke, will put pricing pressures on the resellers (If apple is taking a margin haircut, the resellers will get cut off around the shoulders...)

    I'll be curious of ATT or Verizon are consistently 'out of stock' on 6SE phones and try to steer people to an $199 Android phone where they make more net retail profit. ('it's just as good, and look... no waiting!")
  • Reply 18 of 58
    aaronjaaronj Posts: 1,595member
    I have a 6S.  At first I didn't want a bigger phone, which is why I skipped the update to the 6.  But now I've sort of gotten used to it, and I'm on the update program anyways, so I'll probably go with the 7.  

    But man, this is a pretty sweet piece of tech.  It's essentially the 6S in a 4" body.  I think Apple is going to sell a ton of these.
    argonautbaconstangnolamacguy
  • Reply 19 of 58
    bigpicsbigpics Posts: 1,360member
    Really, compared to an iPhone 6s, the only thing missing from the iPhone SE (aside from a larger display) is pressure sensing 3D Touch.

    Pretty sure I know what one cardinal feature will be in next year's SE+.....

    PS: the continuing 16/64 GB shuffle really makes me think less of the company.  Such a naked tactic that leaves most budget buyers with a sub-par owning experience, or simply pads Apple's margins for those that bump up.  Not a customer-centric way of doing biz.


    edited March 2016 sellerington
  • Reply 20 of 58
    saarek said:
    Unless you use very few apps and rarely take photos it is not enough.
    I accept that some people are able to get away with just 16gb.
    I use 6 apps on my iPhone 5: Nocs, Dropbox, Yelp, Notes, banking app, PCalc.
    I am using 3GB of storage.
    I have 3 photos on/in it.
    Large hands and small memory works for me.
    P.S. Is not price/cost as we paid $900+ USD for my wife's iPhone.
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