After numerous leaks suggesting the launch date of April 15 for the new iPhone SE, Apple finally unveils the device to the public.
We have been expecting a refresh of a more budget-oriented option from Apple for quite some time now. The first iPhone SE that was launched back in 2016 was a hit. So much so that users have been asking for another cheaper and smaller iPhone ever since. But, is the new iPhone SE the right call from Apple?
Just An Upgraded iPhone 8?
As you can tell from the image, the new iPhone SE looks strikingly similar to the iPhone 8 launched back in 2017. Indeed, Apple used the same formula as the first iPhone SE by packaging newer hardware into an older design. However, this was not the reason why the first iPhone SE was so popular. Instead, it was because of its significantly smaller size that some users preferred over the newer and larger designs. As such, we wonder if Apple’s decision in selecting the iPhone 8 design for their latest budget offering will yield the same response from buyers.
A13 Bionic In A Sub-RM2,000 Phone?
The main difference between the new iPhone SE and the iPhone 8 is the processor. Apple was generous enough to pack in the latest A13 Bionic SoC, which offers a significant performance increase from the A11 Bionic in the iPhone 8. Therefore, you can expect everything related to the SoC to be upgraded from the CPU, GPU as well as network capabilities. In fact, the new iPhone SE supports Wi-Fi 6 (or 802.11ax), which is definitely good to see on a phone at this price point. There should also be more 4G bands supported, meaning better coverage around the world. Dual-sim is also supported together with e-sim support.
Same Old Juice Pack
Other than that, almost everything else is the same as the iPhone 8. The battery capacity remains at 1821 mAh, which supports 18W fast charging. However, you will need to buy the fast charging adapter separately. Furthermore, the Qi Wireless Charging capability is still there as Apple is not taking it away from this budget-friendly model.
Unfortunately, the new iPhone SE’s display is a dissapointment to many. This is because it is the same exact 4.7-inch Retina IPS LCD display as on the iPhone 8. While it’s not a big problem, many people thought that Apple would at least give it a slight upgrade. This means that the humongous bezels are still there, along with the TouchID Sensor/Home Button. Also, there is no FaceID on the new iPhone SE. Following the footsteps of the latest iPhones, the iPhone SE also does not have 3D Touch support, which was available on the iPhone 8.
As for the camera, the specs seem to be the same as the iPhone 8 as it is unclear if Apple has made any hardware changes to it. Regardless, Apple reveals that the camera software will definitely be better than the iPhone 8 as it will support the Portrait Lighting effects.
Why Is Apple Doing This?
Prior to this, Apple was still selling the iPhone 8 at a discounted price as a cheaper alternative for people to hop onto the Apple ecosystem without having to spend a fortune. As the iPhone 8 starts to age, the time left for its software support begins to dwindle. It’s clearly not that great of an idea to keep selling older iPhones at a discounted rate as their budget offering.
With the new iPhone SE, Apple is able to officially legitimize their budget offering while providing the full software support along with the new iPhones. They are also able to provide some upgrades that won’t significantly affect their cost, like the upgraded A13 Bionic chip used in all of the new models.
This is quite a smart move from Apple as it makes people feel more comfortable about buying a budget-oriented iPhone because it is ‘newer’ model than a brand new iPhone 8. This falls in line with Apple’s strategy of lowering the entry barrier to the Apple ecosystem. As current customers aren’t as likely to upgrade that frequently anymore, Apple needed a way to attract new customers and this new iPhone SE might just be the one to pave the way.
Is The iPhone SE Worth It?
While some might argue that the upgrades Apple gave weren’t significant. Personally, I think the new iPhone SE is worth its price. With a price point of RM1,999 for the 64GB variant, RM2,199 for the 128GB variant, and RM2,699 for the 256GB variant, it’s not a bad deal for those who wish to try out Apple’s ecosystem without splurging. As long as you can get past the aging display and design, the new iPhone SE might just be a true #CheapBuy.