Review: Updated: iPhone SE


There’s a part of me that doesn’t understand why Apple gets the amount of interest it does with something like the iPhone SE. It’s a phone that’s in an identical chassis to the one released three years ago, and beyond a new color it’s impossible to know which model is which. It’s the iPhone ‘Special Edition’.

Then I look around the train carriage on the way to work and count the amount of iPhone 5S and 5 devices that are being prodded quietly all around. The number is staggering, and it easily dwarfs the amount of iPhone 6 or iPhone 6S handsets on show.

Has Apple been smart here? Looked at the way people are using phones and realised there’s a massive market for a certain form factor – one that’s not only not being serviced in the iWorld, but in the smartphone arena in general?

iPhone SE review

The iPhone SE is a phone that many might not have expected – in truth, we thought the iPhone 5C would get a reboot, with the plastic chassis coming in a more rounded, 6S-a-like shape and allowing Apple to offer a lower-cost phone that could be pushed to other territories where flagship phones don’t sell as well.

But instead we got a hark back to a long-forgotten era in smartphones, like Apple slit time in two and pulled a phone back through, and charged US$399 (£359, AU$679) for the 16GB model, and US$499 (£439, $AU829) for the 64GB option for the privilege.

The question of price is more important here than ever before. By launching a 4-inch phone, no matter how fancy the internals are, consumers will expect it to be a little cheaper – and thankfully that’s what Apple has done.