On March 21, Apple VP Greg Joswiak officially unveiled the iPhone SE at the company’s latest keynote.
The phone was earlier rumored to be in production for over a year, and the details from the rumor turn out to be scarily accurate. Joswiak calls the SE the “most powerful 4-inch phone ever,” and the device’s internal hardware have the power to back up the claim. The SE features a 64 bit A9 chip and M9 motion coprocessor, the same technology currently featured in the 6s. This gives the SE “two times faster CPU and three times faster GPU performance compared to iPhone 5s,” according to Apple. The M9 coprocessor allows for features like “Hey Siri” to operate constantly, while taking up less power.
The SE will also feature a 12-megapixel iSight Camera, which allows the user to shoot 4k videos and slow motion video; two options available on the 6s as well. Users can even take Live Photos, which record not just the moment a picture is taken, but also just before and after. This lets someone search for that perfect shot, in case they didn’t get it the first time. For selfie-enthusiasts, the SE comes with a Retina Flash, temporarily brightening the screen for well-lit photos on the front facing camera.
Joswiak spoke about the phone’s data capabilities, claiming the SE will have LTE speeds “50% faster than iPhone 5s,” and more expansive coverage worldwide. It utilizes 802.11ac WiFi, 3 times faster than iPhone 5s, and will feature both VoLTE and WiFi calling for high fidelity audio calls.
To allow for easy and secure use of Apple Pay®, which comes built in, the SE features Touch ID® and an NFC radio with a secure element. It runs on iOS 9, bringing new apps, Siri features, and Night Shift. Night Shift was announced in the same keynote and uses an Apple device’s clock and geolocation to adjust the screen colors to warmer tones as it gets dark outside. This is supposed to help some get a better night’s sleep. It is also built environmentally friendly, with numerous recyclable materials and few environmentally harmful components. This design coincides with Apple’s initiatives to helping the environment, which was detailed further in an earlier part of their keynote.
The iPhone SE starts at $399 for a 16GB, and $499 for a 64GB version. The $399 price for the 16GB model makes it the “most affordable price [Apple has] ever introduced a new iPhone,” according to Joswiak in the keynote. It will also come free with a two-year contract, and paying monthly will only cost $17. Customers can order the SE on March 24, with the phone’s availability beginning on March 31.