Another Snooze Edition?

Written by Satvik Tripathi

Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower. — Steve Jobs

Apple has officially unveiled all-new iPhone SE, a low-cost iPhone which would be $399 onwards for a 64 GB capacity version or Rs 42,500 if you're in India. It retains the same traditional shape and design as the iPhone 8, which means it has a 4.7-inch screen, wide bezels on top and bottom, and a Touch ID home button. It's a design that has remained unchanged since the launch of the iPhone 6, which makes the iPhone SE simply the fifth generation with little advancements on the inside. Apple is indeed hooked on this design.

(I really wish Apple's designs get as creative as their videos are)

It's available in the USA for pre-order this Friday, April 17th, and will be delivered on April 24th. There will also be a $449 model of 128GB and a $549 model of 256GB. Like other iPhones, it's coming with a free year of Apple TV Plus. color options are black, white, and Product Red.

The second-generation iPhone SE continues to retain what has worked well for Apple in the past. The iPhone SE is technically an iPhone 8 with an improved camera and processor—and a cheaper price tag. While it's a pretty old design, this iPhone SE has an Apple A13 Bionic chip, the same as is used in the new iPhone 11 and 11 Pro variants.

That should mean that it will have a much longer life than the $449 iPhone 8 model that it replaces in Apple's lineup, which had an A11 chip from back in 2017. The plus-sized version of the second-generation iPhone SE will not be available like before, although the iPhone 8 Plus will continue to be sold in some countries.

Let us get you through the headline specs first.

iPhone SE 2 SPECS-

  • Screen: 4.7-inch True Tone display

  • Rear cameras: 12-megapixel single 6-element lens, features OIS, flicker sensor for white balance, focus pixels, HDR, and portrait mode for people, video recording at 4K/60fps

  • Selfie camera: 7-megapixel camera

  • Dimensions: 67.3 x 138.4 x 7.3mm, 148 grams

  • Processor: A13 Bionic

  • Memory: TBD

  • Storage: 64GB, 128GB, and 256GB

  • Battery: TBD

  • OS: iOS 13

  • Connectivity: Wi-Fi 6, Gigabit LTE, Dual SIM with eSIM

  • Biometric authentication: second-generation Touch ID fingerprint sensor

  • Wireless charging, Lightning connector, 5W charger included

  • IP67 protection

The processor also makes the new iPhone SE get some new camera features. There is a single 12-megapixel camera lens on the back (along with a flash). Apple utilizes the A13 Bionic chips to boost its Smart HDR photography, which blends multiple shots into a single image to enhance lighting and clarity.

It even has a portrait mode using the technology Apple likes to call "monocular depth sensing." It employs machine learning to sense depth and face—which, sadly, means that it will only function on humans, not on pets. It includes optical image stabilization, and Apple says it could do "cinematic" video stabilization and also support 4K video at 60fps. The front-facing selfie camera is 7-megapixel, and can also have portrait mode effects.

Many of the recent second-generation iPhone SE elements are similar to the iPhone 8. It will have almost the same battery life as the iPhone 8 (but no details about the exact capacity of the battery). Apple promises that the case for the iPhone 8 is going to fit perfectly on the SE. It has an Apple 4.7-inch IPS LCD Retina display with True Tone color. This sounds like it's almost the same show like the one on the iPhone 8.

Okay, that's not a quality issue. This IPS display is well-known and well-respected, but it does mean that those looking out for a smaller form factor are out of luck. Apple claims this is the most popular display size they have ever sold—500 million units and still counting—and that's one of the reasons it's using this screen size right now.

It just ships with a rusty old 5W charger in the package, but it can support high-speed 18W charging if you get the right adapter. It uses a Lightning connector for charging, of course, and it can also allow the use of Qi wireless. Sadly, there's no headphone port, but there's a Lightning port headphone in the case.

Some other modernized features, it supports Wi-Fi 6, Gigabit LTE, and Dual-SIMs. (The second one, though, is eSIM.) It even supports Haptic Touch, Apple's substitute for 3D Touch, a long press with haptic feedback.

The 2020 iPhone SE is another major smartphone release arriving in the middle of the pandemic. The lower cost of the SE and the Touch ID sensor could be somewhat more attractive than normal, particularly when people realize that they can wear masks more often; therefore, Touch ID is more likely to be preferred over Face ID. Apple stated that it agrees that people are much more focused on their phones than ever before, but that doesn't get around the fact that their physical stores are closed. Apple's website and app provide strong customer service, but it still remains to see what the demand for new phones will be right now.

The iPhone SE looks like a good deal overall. It’s a $400 phone with what appears to be a strong camera and the very same processor that’s in Apple’s most expensive iPhones. As noted above, that means a phone purchased today should be getting software updates for many years to come. It’s just a great iPhone 8 and if we compare it to some other smartphones, we’ll see a huge difference in the design and specification of the devices. This could have been the perfect iPhone 8 if released earlier in 2017, but in 2020 it just doesn’t pass the benchmark set by the uniquely innovative smartphone makers. still, it's an iPhone.

As a tech enthusiast its quite disheartening to see the lack of innovation in designs from a company like Apple. If you compare this model not to other iPhones but to the phones from other brands, you would see a huge difference in performance, screen, speakers, and design. Even though Apple has lowered the cost but still there are so many great options to choose from at the very same price point. I am waiting for the official launch not the leaks of Google's Pixel 4a, which could be a great competition for this All-New but feels like an old generation iPhone.