Apple has introduced the iPhone SE which features a four-inch display in a compact aluminum design that has been updated with matte-chamfered edges, a color-matched stainless steel Apple logo, and four metallic finishes, including rose gold.
Running on iOS 9, the iPhone SE is powered by the same 64-bit A9 chip offered in iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus. The 64-bit A9 chip offers iPhone SE customers two times faster CPU and three times faster GPU performance compared to iPhone 5s, all with gains in energy efficiency for improved battery life, according to the company.
The introduction of the iPhone SE could be Apple’s attempt to attain new growth. In January, the company said that its iPhone sales grew at the slowest pace since its introduction in 2007 and the company forecasts that revenue in the current quarter will decline for the first time in 13 years.
Apple mentioned it sold 30 million 4-inch iPhones in 2015, which represents only 13% of total iPhone sales for the year. So why bet on a smaller phone when everyone seems to prefer bigger handsets?
“Some people asked us, some people even pleaded with us, please keep the 4-inch products in our lineup,” said Greg Joswiak, vice president of Apple iOS product marketing.
But according to an analyst, the company’s goal with the iPhone SE goes well beyond that.
“Refurbished handset sales have been growing steadily in the past couple of years in developed and developing markets,” says Ronan de Renesse, Lead Analyst, Consumer Technology at Ovum, a statement sent to the press. “Some smartphone recycling companies told us that up to 80% of refurbished smartphone sales are iPhones. It is in Apple’s interest to have those customers purchase a cheaper “new” iPhone SE rather than a refurbished iPhone 5 to gain a stronger hold on iPhone sales and corresponding margins.”
Renesse notes that China now represents more than a quarter of Apple’s revenues. “The Chinese market is not bringing as much growth as previously and is becoming more competitive than ever. Apple must decrease the entry price of new iPhones to sustain growth in China. The iPhone SE offers very high specifications for a low price, which is essential to appeal to Chinese consumers,” adds Renesse.
India is the market that represents the largest growth opportunity for Apple. The company has only 5% market share of 120 million unit sales in 2015. Apple has been investing in India throughout 2015, with a development center in Hyderabad and licenses to launch its own stores in the country.
“With the iPhone SE, Apple will not really disrupt the Indian smartphone market but rather try to dominate high-end sales – 77% of smartphone sales in India in 2016 will be below US$200,” said Renesse.
“iPhone SE is packed with a stunning four-inch Retina display, advanced 64-bit A9 chip with M9 motion co-processor, longer battery life, 12-megapixel iSight camera with True Tone flash, Live Photos, 4K video, faster LTE and Wi-Fi, and Touch ID with Apple Pay. Everyone who wants a smaller phone is going to love iPhone SE,” said Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing.
M9, Apple’s next-generation motion coprocessor, is integrated into A9 allowing more features to run all the time at lower power, including “Hey Siri” without having to pick up your iPhone, and a range of fitness tracking capabilities like measuring your steps and distance.
iPhone SE users can browse, download and stream content even faster with Wi-Fi up to three times and LTE up to 50 percent faster than iPhone 5s. iPhone SE also includes more LTE bands for better worldwide roaming and supports Voice over LTE and Wi-Fi calling for high-quality wideband calls.
iOS 9 brings more intelligence to iPhone SE with proactive assistance, powerful search, improved Siri features, and a new Night Shift feature that uses your iPhone SE’s clock and geolocation to automatically adjust the colors in the display to the warmer end of the spectrum after dark and may even help you get a better night’s sleep.
12-megapixel iSight camera
iPhone SE has an advanced 12-megapixel iSight camera featuring Focus Pixel technology for fast focusing, an Apple-designed image signal processor, advanced noise reduction, third-generation local tone mapping and better face detection, all resulting in sharper, more detailed photos like the ones shot on iPhone 6s.
With Live Photos on iPhone SE, customers can go beyond snapshots to capture moments in motion and relive unforgettable memories with sound. Live Photos are beautiful 12-megapixel photos that, with just a touch, reveal the moments immediately before and after the shot was taken, so users can enjoy a living memory rather than an instant frozen in time.
The camera gives users the ability to shoot HD video with support for 4K at a resolution of 3840 x 2160. After capturing 4K video, customers can edit on a Mac, PC or iPad, and with the latest version of iMovie on iPhone, can even edit two simultaneous streams of 4K on iPhone SE.
The camera also features Retina Flash, which momentarily makes the display three times brighter with True Tone lighting technology, for wonderfully bright selfies in low light with the FaceTime HD camera.
The iPhone SE’s camera also offers features introduced with iPhone 6s, including up to 63-megapixel panorama photos, video capture up to 60fps for 1080p video and 240fps for slo-mo, time-lapse with video stabilization and cinematic video stabilization.