2020 iPhone SE combines a familiar face with new technology for $399

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The 2020 iPhone SE has finally landed after a lengthy wait.
Photo: Apple

Apple on Wednesday unveiled its long-awaited iPhone SE refresh for 2020. The latest model packs new technologies, including an A13 Bionic chip, into a form factor that’s familiar to any iPhone fan.

The new iPhone SE also offers up to 256GB of storage, Touch ID, and wireless charging. You can order yours from Friday, April 17, starting at $399. It makes its official debut on Friday, April 24.

“The first iPhone SE was a hit with many customers who loved its unique combination of small size, high-end performance and affordable price; the new second-generation iPhone SE builds on that great idea and improves on it in every way — including our best-ever single-camera system for great photos and videos — while still being very affordable,” said Phil Schiller, Apple SVP of Worldwide Marketing.

“iPhone SE features the industry-leading performance of A13 Bionic that enables great battery life, takes stunning Portrait mode and Smart HDR photos, shoots amazing videos with stereo audio, is great for games and super fast web surfing, and is built with the same industry-leading security features our customers expect. We can’t wait to get iPhone SE into customers’ hands.”

A long time coming

It feels like we’ve been waiting an eternity for this iPhone SE refresh, which has been the subject of ongoing rumor and speculation for well over two years. COVID-19 scuppered Apple’s plans for an earlier launch, but it’s here now.

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The latest A13 Bionic chip, True Tone, and more.
Photo: Apple

The new iPhone SE, which many reports have been referring to as the “iPhone 9” up to this point, is aimed primarily at convincing older iPhone SE and iPhone 6 owners that it’s time to upgrade. And it does a pretty terrific job of that.

Here’s what you get for just $399.

New iPhone SE

An A13 Bionic chip is iPhone SE’s biggest selling point. It’s the same chip you’ll find in Apple’s flagship iPhone 11 series, and it enables features that cannot be enjoyed on iPhone 6 and other aging handsets, such as Apple Arcade.

It also paves the way for improved augmented reality, and ensures iPhone SE can continue to receive Apple’s latest software updates — including iOS 14 when it rolls out this fall. iPhone 6 stopped receiving those updates after iOS 12.

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Shot on the 2020 iPhone SE.
Photo: Apple

The A13 chip is combined with a 4.7-inch Retina HD display with True Tone technology, and a 12-megapixel rear-facing camera with f/1.8 aperture that shoots 4K video and Portrait mode photos. Apple calls it its best single-camera system yet.

You also get a 7-megapixel FaceTime camera on its front, and stereo speakers. The 2020 iPhone SE is water-resistant, like iPhone 8, while its glass back allows for wireless charging — another feature missing from iPhone 6.

When you choose to use a Lightning cable, however, you’ll enjoy faster charging. Apple says you’ll get up to 50% battery life in just 30 minutes.

Faster connectivity

There are other nice improvements for 2020, too. The new iPhone SE boasts faster Wi-Fi 6 and Gigabit-class LTE connectivity. It also offers Dual SIM functionality by combining a traditional SIM card slot with Apple’s digital eSIM technology.

Apple’s decision to repurpose iPhone 8’s form factor in an effort to keep costs low means iPhone SE misses out on Face ID, but that’s okay. Touch ID is sticking around, while the rest of the improvements make the new iPhone SE well worth its price tag.

Order the 2020 iPhone SE this Friday

You can order your 2020 iPhone SE this Friday from the Apple Online Store. Prices start at $399 for the 64GB model, while the 128GB and 256GB models are available for $449 and $549, respectively. You can choose from black, white, and (PRODUCT)RED color options.

If you choose the (PRODUCT)RED option, a portion of your purchase will go directly to Global Fund’s newly established COVID-19 Response, Apple says.

It will provide “funding to countries in need of PPE, diagnostics treatment, lab equipment, public safety communications, supply chain support and more — as well as HIV/AIDS grants that provide testing, counseling, treatment and prevention programs with a specific focus on eliminating transmission of the virus from mothers to their babies.”

The 2020 iPhone SE makes its official debut on Friday, April 24.