Apple today announced its long-awaited new low-cost iPhone, called the iPhone SE. The new SE (yes, the same name as its 2016 predecessor) looks a lot like an iPhone 8, but it’s updated with the current A13 processor rather than the older A11 in the $449 iPhone 8, which will now presumably roll out of Apple’s product line.
That makes the new, $399 SE a great buy for older iPhone owners who have balked at the $749 price of the current iPhone 11. The iPhone SE’s 12-megapixel main camera and 7-megapixel front-facing camera are major upgrades from the 8-megapixel and 1.2-megapixel shooters in the popular iPhone 6.
The iPhone SE does not appear to have the iPhone 11’s new camera night mode, however.
The new iPhone SE looks a lot like this iPhone 8.
The A13 processor will keep the iPhone SE current with Apple’s software upgrades for the next four years or so. Compared to the iPhone 8, the SE should be 50 percent faster on the Geekbench multicore benchmark, and probably twice as fast in terms of GPU.
The new iPhone appears to be using the same modem and antennas as the iPhone 11, as the spec sheet shows the same frequency band support and 2×2 MIMO restriction. That would be the Intel XMM7660, although we can’t confirm that with certainty until we get a device or see a teardown. Apple is expected to use Qualcomm modems in its upcoming 5G iPhone 12.
The phone will operate on all US networks, unlike the iPhone 8, which was originally divided between all-carrier and AT&T/T-Mobile models, and it supports Wi-Fi 6. The phone also has dual SIM with eSIM, which lets you connect two separate accounts for home and work lines or for roaming.
Otherwise, specs are very similar to the iPhone 8. The new SE is exactly the same size as the iPhone 8, according to Apple’s spec sheet, at 5.45 by 2.65 by 0.29 inches. It has a 4.7-inch, 1,334-by-750 LCD screen, 64GB of default storage, and a physical home button, for instance. There will also be 128GB and 256GB models. The phone comes in black, white, and red. It is water-resistant and supports wireless charging.
The original iPhone SE was even smaller.
According to Statista, the iPhone SE was actually a bit of a slow burn in the market. Released during the spring of 2016, it hit its greatest stride a year later with an 11 percent share of all iPhones sold. That dovetails nicely with the current 11.5 percent share of the iPhone 8.
The new SE isn’t as small as the original iPhone SE, which had a 4-inch screen, and it lacks a standard headphone jack. Many buyers liked those aspects of the older SE model. But the way the SE line works is that Apple reuses popular, aging components and body designs to make a profit on a lower-cost phone. The iPhone 8 body has now been in production for several years and is cheap to use, while the smaller body used for the original SE is no longer manufactured.
The new iPhone SE goes on pre-sale on April 17 and hits shelves on April 24.