Apple’s new iPhone SE crams the latest specs into a tiny shell


Screen Shot 2016-03-21 at 17.33.07
iPhone SE is here!
Photo: Apple

Buying a smaller iPhone doesn’t have to mean settling for disappointing specifications anymore. With its new iPhone SE, Apple is packing its latest features and technologies into a compact shell to provide those who prefer smaller screens with the very best it has to offer.

The iPhone SE looks almost identical to the iPhone 5s, but it’s an entirely different beast beneath its anodized aluminum exterior. Almost everything except its 4-inch Retina display has been updated and improved, and that starts with the powerful A9 processor.

That’s the same chip packed into iPhone 6s and 6s Plus, and it’s up to 70 percent faster than last year’s A8. It also boosts graphics performance by up to 90 percent, and packs the M9 motion coprocessor that’s more power-efficient and enables the always-on “Hey Siri” feature.

iPhone SE is powered by Apple's latest A9 chip.
iPhone SE is powered by Apple’s latest A9 chip.
Photo: Apple

Other features adopted from the iPhone 6s include the latest Touch ID scanner, NFC connectivity to support Apple Pay, and a 12-megapixel rear-facing iSight camera with advanced pixel technology, Live Photos and the ability to shoot 4K video.

iPhone SE is also packing a 5-megapixel front-facing camera with Retina flash, a 1,440mAh battery, Bluetooth 4.2 connectivity, 802.11 ac Wi-Fi with Wi-Fi Calling, and improved cellular connectivity with faster LTE and VoLTE.

About the only thing that’s missing from iPhone SE — apart from the extra screen space and bigger batteries — is 3D Touch, which remains exclusive to Apple’s latest devices.

iPhone SE maintains the aluminum unibody, flat sides and chamfered edges of iPhone 5s, but there is one subtle improvement. Those edges are now matte as opposed to polished and shiny, so they’re less likely to pick up scratches when you use your iPhone without a case.

iPhone SE is capable of shooting super sharp 4K video.
iPhone SE is capable of shooting super sharp 4K video.
Photo: Apple

Many of us expected iPhone SE to look like a smaller iPhone 6s, and some will be disappointed that it doesn’t. But almost four years after this design made its initial debut with the iPhone 5, it still looks incredibly attractive.

In fact, iPhone SE is probably the prettiest smartphone you can get that’s smaller than iPhone 6s — and it’s sure to be popular. Despite no updates in years, Apple’s 4-inch iPhone lineup sold 30 million units last year alone, Tim Cook confirmed today.

You can pre-order your iPhone SE on Thursday, March 24. Prices start at $399 with 16GB of storage, or $17 a month on iPhone Upgrade Plan but there’s also a 64GB option priced at $499. The device will be available in silver, gold, rose gold and space gray.

iPhone SE will make its official debut on Thursday, March 31.


Daily round-ups or a weekly refresher, straight from Cult of Mac to your inbox.

  • The Weekender

    The week's best Apple news, reviews and how-tos from Cult of Mac, every Saturday morning. Our readers say: "Thank you guys for always posting cool stuff" -- Vaughn Nevins. "Very informative" -- Kenly Xavier.