New iPhone SE brings serious upgrades at slightly higher price


The new iPhone SE is available is available in the same colors as before, but it's much-improved on the inside.
The new iPhone SE is available is available in the same colors as before, but it's much-improved on the inside.
Photo: Apple

As widely predicted, Apple launched its third-generation iPhone SE during its “Peek Performance” event Tuesday. The new entry-level handset features 5G connectivity, a speedy A15 Bionic chipset, improved battery life, greater durability and up to 256GB of storage, Apple said.

And it will cost $429, a not-too-painful bump over the previous model’s $399 price tag.

iPhone SE 3 details live up to predictions

Analysts and pretty much everyone else expected the new iPhone SE 3 to look similar to its predecessor, the second-generation SE released in April 2020. And they both look an awful lot like an iPhone 8. Apple doesn’t plan to revamp the budget iPhone’s external hardware until 2024, according to recent reports.

Although some prognosticators thought the SE 3 might adopt iPhone XR styling, including a bigger screen and side Touch ID rather than front Touch ID on the Home button, the new handset remained true to previous form — but with powerful upgrades.

“iPhone SE has been an incredibly popular choice with our existing users and for new iPhone customers, thanks to its iconic design, exceptional performance, and affordable price. This year we’ve built the most powerful and durable iPhone SE yet,” said Kaiann Drance, Apple’s vice president of Worldwide iPhone Product Marketing, citing the new handsets overlap with iPhone 13 functionality.

“With 5G, iPhone SE gives users faster downloads and uploads, higher quality video streaming, real-time interactivity in apps, and much more. Delivering the latest generation of technology and performance at this price is something only Apple can do,” she added.

5G, A15 and Ceramic Shield added, colors and storage remain the same

Available in white, black and red colors just as before, the new handset is much-improved on the inside.

It gains 5G connectivity, the latest generation of wireless technology. That should provide faster uploads and downloads, lower latency, and better experiences using technology like FaceTime and SharePlay.

The super-speedy A15 chipset will improve functionality overall, including photographic uses. Some rumors had suggested iPhone SE 3 could pack the previous-generation A14 Bionic chip instead. However, the SE 3 release follows past practice of the new SE model using the current standard in iPhones — in this case the A15 found in iPhone 13 models.

The storage options — 64GB, 128GB or 256GB — remain the same as the previous SE.

And the new iPhone SE borrows another feature from its pricier siblings — Ceramic Shield glass to protect its 4.7-inch screen. It’s the same glass used in iPhone 13.

Camera improvements

No rumors surfaced about changes to the iPhone SE 3 camera, but Apple rolled out the new iPhone SE with a 12MP camera — a significant improvement over the previous model’s 7MP camera — to go along with A15 chip functionality and 5G connectivity.

With the power of the A15 chip, the new camera offers some of the same computational photography benefits found in the iPhone 13 series, including Smart HDR 4, Photographic Styles, Deep Fusion and Portrait mode.

Available this month for $429

As some predicted, mass production of the new iPhone SE will begin this month. Many thought its price would not change, but it did.

Apple said the new iPhone SE will sell for $429, an increase over the previous price of $399. The handsets are available for preorder at Apple starting Friday and will ship on March 18.



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