Big things come in small packages.
From its moderately sized Town Hall in Cupertino, Apple unveiled a couple of “small” devices today, including a new 4-inch iPhone.
Dubbed the iPhone SE, the new iPhone looks exactly like the iPhone 5S from 3 years ago, sporting the same 4-inch Retina display, diamond cut chamfered edges, and blasted aluminium finish.
But don’t be deceived by appearances, internally the iPhone SE is as powerful as its top of the line model. Apple is calling it the most powerful 4-inch phone (phone not just smartphone) ever, and that’s great news for users who like phones that are small but powerful.
For years, Android smartphones have led the shift towards larger screen sizes. A hesitant Apple followed suit, growing the original iPhone from 3.5 inches to 4.0 inches in 2012 and again to 4.7 inches in 2014. But many still preferred the smaller form factor, so Apple wisely kept older models around and ended up selling 30 million 4-inch iPhones last year.
The introduction of the iPhone SE may spark a renaissance for small smartphones, not that you can’t buy a sub 5-inch smartphone today. But usually, size comes at the cost of power, battery life, and camera performance. Not anymore.
The iPhone SE has the same A9 processor as the iPhone 6S with promised performance improvements of up to 2x (vs the 5S); the same 12 megapixel iSight camera, regarded as one of the best in the biz; longer battery life; Touch ID fingerprint scanner; and faster LTE and WiFi. The only thing missing is the iPhone 6S’ pressure sensitive 3D touch display.
Pre-orders for the iPhone SE begin on Thursday, March 24 and will be available as early as March 31 in Australia, Canada, China, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Japan, New Zealand, Puerto Rico, Singapore, the UK, US Virgin Islands and the US.
Apart from the usual colors – space gray, silver, and gold, the iPhone SE will also be available in rose gold (or pink as we prefer to call it). The phone comes in 16GB and 64GB models, and will retail for $399 and $499 respectively.
Priced competitively at $250 less the iPhone 6S, the iPhone SE is Apple’s answer to mid-range Android smartphones that are hugely popular in developing markets like India and Southeast Asia. Apple says the phone is a response to what its users want, but we think, a cheaper iPhone is exactly what Apple needs.