How Apple's new, powerful 4-inch iPhone SE is built for the future

Posted:
in iPhone edited March 2016
The inclusion of Apple's latest and greatest processor and camera technology in the iPhone SE ensures that both customers and Apple will be able to stand by the device for years to come.




In years past, buying Apple's low-end models has been something of a risky proposition. After all, you'd be investing $450-plus in a two-year-old phone.

For consumers looking to buy a more affordable phone, there were questions abound: How well will it run the next few operating system upgrades? How long will it be supported by Apple? Would I be better off putting my money toward a better model?

Apple's upsell strategy worked --?consumers gravitated toward Apple's high-end, premium phones, while lower end models just weren't as popular.

As it looks to rekindle growth in its iPhone sales, however, Apple has decided to cater to the lower end, giving users not only a supremely powerful iPhone in a smaller 4-inch form factor, but also with an aggressive starting price of $399 --?the most affordable iPhone Apple has ever made.

Even more surprising is the fact that Apple cut very few corners to achieve that price. The iPhone SE boasts the same speedy A9 chip and high-quality 12-megapixel camera as the flagship iPhone 6s series, and support for Apple Pay contactless payments. Concessions such as the lack of 3D Touch or a lower quality FaceTime camera likely aren't a major concern to most prospective buyers.




Putting its latest processor, camera and Apple Pay into the iPhone SE accomplishes a few key goals. Perhaps most importantly, it takes the worry out of buying a "low-end" model. Consumers who purchase the iPhone SE can know with confidence that it will continue to be supported and operate properly for years to come --?at least as long as the flagship iPhone 6s sticks around, which carries the same internal specs.

But the power of the iPhone SE also affords Apple some flexibility when it comes to product longevity and frequency of updates.

Consider the iPod touch: Last year, Apple updated its portable media player with the A8 processor --?at the time, Apple's most powerful mobile CPU, despite a $199 starting price. The likely reason? The iPod touch doesn't get updated as frequently, and putting its fastest processor into the device affords Apple the ability to sell it for a few years without needing an upgrade.




Even the branding of iPhone SE gives Apple some flexibility. Without a number like 5 or 6 weighing over the head of the product, Apple can continue to present it to consumers as a capable, powerful handset, even after the anticipated launch of the "iPhone 7" this fall.

This is not to say that the 4-inch iPhone won't receive an update in 2017 for certain --?ultimately, only Apple knows what the future holds.

But with powerful and capable hardware in the iPhone SE, Apple can continue to sell it for years to come, and consumers can continue to buy it, both without any reservations.
ps4dailylovebrakken
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 60
    qwweraqwwera Posts: 253member
    Exactly right. This photo will be a workhorse. Anyone with a three year old 5s knows how well it still performs and how well the timeless design has held up. There is no other phone around you can say that about.
    And unlike Android, Apple has fully supported their customers with it instead of abandoning them and moving on to the next model and next customer. The last east software iOS 9.3 run fantastic on my 5s with even better battery life than when I first bought it. You cannot say that about any Android device. The quality and longevity is there for all to see.
    anantksundaramps4dailylovecalijony0brakkenxamaxfruitdroidjude2012redgeminipanolamacguy
  • Reply 2 of 60
    wood1208wood1208 Posts: 1,759member
    Said right to the penny. In 4 incher iphone, majority wants faster processor for quick smooth multitasking user experience, obviously better camera, better voice(VoLTE), VoWiFi(free calls on internet), numerous cellular, LTE bands to make it world phone and last but not least ApplePay. We got it all in SE and on top somewhat better battery life. This phone will sell very well and created excellent path for future incremental updates in same 4" footprint that does not put previous generation SE not likeable. Just a winning formula.
    edited March 2016 ration alxiamenbillredgeminipa
  • Reply 3 of 60
    dachardachar Posts: 330member
    I thought that to cover both bases Apple would bring out a high spec high price 4 inch iPhone and keep the lower spec 5S at a reduced price. They have gone one better than that by bring out a high spec model at a price below the 5S. This was a master stroke and shows how carefully Apple have thought about the on going future of the iPhone range. This is a significant strategic move by Apple.
    ps4dailylovejay-tration albrakkenxamaxredgeminipa1983cornchip
  • Reply 4 of 60
    jason98jason98 Posts: 761member
    "Built for the future" ???

    Compact phones are great, and internal components matter, but not in a device with 4" display. As a matter of fact iPhone SE has absolutely worse screen to body ratio in the industry - a little over 60%
    bobschlob6Sgoldfish
  • Reply 5 of 60
    Yes Indeed.

    It will be the cost effective iPhone of choice for big businesses to buy by the thousands.

    jay-tbrakkenbaconstangxiamenbillredgeminipa
  • Reply 6 of 60
    Nice analysis. This is just perfect for kids from 1st grade to at least 10th! Another site also mentioned this is perfect to bring the iPhone to more poor countries like India.
    ration albrakken1983
  • Reply 7 of 60
    sflocalsflocal Posts: 4,383member
    jason98 said:
    "Built for the future" ???

    Compact phones are great, and internal components matter, but not in a device with 4" display. As a matter of fact iPhone SE has absolutely worse screen to body ratio in the industry - a little over 60%

    30 million 4" iPhone buyers last year alone proved you wrong on an epic scale.  I'm seriously considering going back to a smaller phone from my iP6+.  The smaller screen just seems to work better for me and my lifestyle.
    jay-tration albrakkengenovellefruitdroidbaconstangjude2012mwhiteredgeminipanolamacguy
  • Reply 8 of 60
    MacProMacPro Posts: 17,868member
    Lack of Touch 3D is the only negative making my wife and me (I) lean towards the 6s even though we were wanting the smaller format.  I can see 3D Touch being implemented more and more and being very useful.  Damn shame it isn't included.
    brakken
  • Reply 9 of 60
    fallenjtfallenjt Posts: 3,959member
    Lack of Touch 3D is the only negative making my wife and me (I) lean towards the 6s even though we were wanting the smaller format.  I can see 3D Touch being implemented more and more and being very useful.  Damn shame it isn't included.
    Damn shame if it's included and make the phone way thicker than what's already thick.
    mwhitepscooter63
  • Reply 10 of 60
    Well, we shall see.  I ordered the SE today.  64GB version. I'll keep ya'll posted.
    brakken1983
  • Reply 11 of 60
    sockrolidsockrolid Posts: 2,788member
    ... But the power of the iPhone SE also affords Apple some flexibility when it comes to product longevity and frequency of updates. ...
    Maybe.  But Apple could, in theory, rev the SE every year and announce the update every March.
    Staggering iPhone announcements 6 months apart, in March and September, would leave competitors with no "window."
    Samsung used to announce their top smartphones around March in part because it was as far away from iPhone announcements as possible.
    If Apple announces the SE in March and the high-end iPhones in September every year, their iPhone family gets twice the media coverage.
    Fewer windows of opportunity for any competitors.  (There are CES and Mobile World Congress, but "this year's SE" buzz could overshadow those.)

    On the other hand, maybe Apple could update the SE once every two years.  Even years in March, for example.
    That would prevent the SE from getting too far behind the latest high-end models, but minimize Apple's engineering effort on the SE.
    And component costs of the SE would decline in each generation's 2nd year on the market.
    ration allatifbppscooter63
  • Reply 12 of 60
    calicali Posts: 3,495member
    sflocal said:
    jason98 said:
    "Built for the future" ???

    Compact phones are great, and internal components matter, but not in a device with 4" display. As a matter of fact iPhone SE has absolutely worse screen to body ratio in the industry - a little over 60%

    30 million 4" iPhone buyers last year alone proved you wrong on an epic scale.  I'm seriously considering going back to a smaller phone from my iP6+.  The smaller screen just seems to work better for me and my lifestyle.
    People said no one wants a smaller iPhone and analysts predicted 14 million sold this year.

    So sorry to say it buddy like the 5C this thing will major failz. (ignore the fact it will destroy every 'droid like 5c did)
  • Reply 13 of 60
    The only downside to this phone is anyone with a 5s lost about $200 resale value
    baconstang
  • Reply 14 of 60
    While ended up buying the 6 plus when it came out, found the large screen a bonus, this inane trend to thinness has made me rethink my phone choices.  Not anymore.  This SE phone is spot on.  I like the build quality and size because I have smaller hands. And it's great that it got a hardware boost. I'll trading this phone that I have in for the SE model.
  • Reply 15 of 60
    k2kwk2kw Posts: 1,610member
    sockrolid said:
    ... But the power of the iPhone SE also affords Apple some flexibility when it comes to product longevity and frequency of updates. ...

    On the other hand, maybe Apple could update the SE once every two years.  Even years in March, for example.
    That would prevent the SE from getting too far behind the latest high-end models, but minimize Apple's engineering effort on the SE.
    And component costs of the SE would decline in each generation's 2nd year on the market.
    I think that you are right that the SE will only get updated once every two years.   I think that's part of why they put the A9 chip in it so that the phone will still last till 2018.
    They will probably sell a ton of these phones this year as those who prefer the 4inch form factor upgrade and then sales will settle down in the later part of the year as the attention changes to the iPhone7 and 7plus.

    I would not be surprised if the Apple watch didn't get upgraded this year (or only a minor tweaking upgrade) because of the price cut by $50 on the Sport edition.
    If they were planning a watch "event" anytime soon they probably would not have titled this past week's premier "Let's Loop You In" and introduced the new watch bands then.    Those watch bands would have probably been held back for a coming Watch event.  

    I'm not expecting anything before Sept. until maybe new computers at WWDC.   There's going to be a lot of pressure Tim Cook this year from investors till they can show some big results from the next generation iPhone.   It probably will be a couple rough quarters of flat or declining sales.   The sky is falling.
  • Reply 16 of 60
    welshdogwelshdog Posts: 1,644member
    Lack of Touch 3D is the only negative making my wife and me (I) lean towards the 6s even though we were wanting the smaller format.  I can see 3D Touch being implemented more and more and being very useful.  Damn shame it isn't included.
    I have a 6s and almost never use 3D Touch.  I think it's an over hyped feature that is a waste of tech and money for the return you get in functionality.
    cash907censoredpscooter63
  • Reply 17 of 60
    k2kwk2kw Posts: 1,610member
    fallenjt said:
    Lack of Touch 3D is the only negative making my wife and me (I) lean towards the 6s even though we were wanting the smaller format.  I can see 3D Touch being implemented more and more and being very useful.  Damn shame it isn't included.
    Damn shame if it's included and make the phone way thicker than what's already thick.

    I hope existing cases still fit as I have a battery case for my 5S..   That will help people upgrade from the iphone 5 and 5S.

    I would really love it if a manufacturer came out with a battery case that used USB-C and fast charging - great if it could charge both the case and phone at the same time.

    edited March 2016 ration alradarthekatbbteague
  • Reply 18 of 60
    apple ][apple ][ Posts: 8,360member
    Great phone! The SE is going to be killer!

    The 5S is a classic design, and classic designs do not go out of date. It's like a fine piece of art or jewelry or an expensive time piece. Having the newest, greatest internals inside of a 5S design is a smart move.

    I think that the 5S and SE looks better than the current 6S models to be honest. I like the boxy, industrial look better than the curvy look. But to each his own, buy whichever phone suits you the best.
    baconstangpscooter63
  • Reply 19 of 60
    apple ][apple ][ Posts: 8,360member
    jason98 said:
    "Built for the future" ???

    Compact phones are great, and internal components matter, but not in a device with 4" display. As a matter of fact iPhone SE has absolutely worse screen to body ratio in the industry - a little over 60%
    The tens of millions of people who will be buying one disagree with your opinion.
    baconstangericthehalfbeepscooter63cornchip
  • Reply 20 of 60
    apple ][apple ][ Posts: 8,360member
    Double post. Please disregard. Carry on. There is nothing to see here. 
    edited March 2016
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