Apple’s New 5G iPhone SE Is Officially Here | What’s Different This Year?

New iPhone SE 5G Official Credit: Apple
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As expected, Apple headlined its spring Peek Performance event by unveiling the much-rumoured new third-generation iPhone SE.

Apple CEO Tim Cook set the stage for the introduction of the new iPhone SE model by highlighting the capabilities of Apple’s latest A15 mobile chip, including its powerful performance, custom-built image signal processor (ISP), Neural Engine with breakthrough machine learning, and the Secure Enclave to protect biometric information for Face ID and Touch ID.

He then continued by saying that today, Apple is bringing the A15 to another iPhone: the new iPhone SE.

From the very beginning, we designed iPhone SE to include some of our most advanced features and technologies, while delivering the iPhone experience at an incredible price.Tim Cook

Cook also added that the iPhone 13 has already proven to be extremely popular, with Apple adding more new users since the launch of its iPhone 13 lineup last fall than it has in each of the prior five launches. Apple expects the iPhone SE to build on that momentum.

Apple’s product line manager for iPhone, Francesca Sweet, then took the stage to show off the new iPhone SE. While most had expected 5G to be the highlight of the new low-cost iPhone, Sweet began by emphasizing how Apple’s A15 processor is the key, noting that it makes everything in the iPhone experience better.

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What’s New in the 2022 iPhone SE

While the A15 Bionic chip remains basically identical to what’s found in the iPhone 13 lineup, Sweet took this opportunity to highlight how much more it’s going to bring to Apple’s wallet-friendly iPhone model.

This includes the 6-core CPU to handle more demanding tasks, along with the same 4-core GPU used in the iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 mini.

Although that’s one less core than the iPhone 13 Pro and iPhone 13 Pro Max, it’s certainly more than enough for an iPhone in the price range of the iPhone SE.

Sweet showed off a new Apple Arcade racing game to emphasize how well this will perform on the graphics side, but she also notably avoided any comparisons with the prior-generation iPhone SE, which features an A13 chip.

Instead, Sweet used the 2017 iPhone 8 as the benchmark, noting that the new iPhone SE is 1.8 times faster than that earlier model, although we’d certainly hope so considering it’s a big jump from the A11 Bionic of that generation.

Similarly, the 16-core Neural Engine in the new iPhone SE’s A15 Bionic is also 26 times faster than the iPhone 8, which features a first-generation two-core Neural Engine.

As with the iPhone 13, the iPhone SE will be capable of 15.8 trillion operations per second when it comes to machine learning and computational photography.

In fact, this is probably the biggest thing that the A15 brings to the table in the new iPhone SE, bringing new photography capabilities for the camera, which appears to remain unchanged physically from the prior model.

Sweet sort of hinted at this when she described the camera and A15 Bionic as forming “a new camera system” together.

The new iPhone SE also raises the bar for durability, with Sweet explaining that Apple has added the “toughest glass in a smartphone” on the front and back, although it’s unclear if it’s quite on par with the iPhone 13. Sweet made no mention of the Ceramic Shield branding, and described it simply as being the same as what’s found on the back of the iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 Pro.

The efficiency of the A15 Bionic and improved battery chemistry will also improve battery life, Sweet says, although she didn’t offer up any actual numbers, suggesting that these improvements will likely be modest.

Notably, Apple’s presentation saved the mention of 5G until the very end. Sweet didn’t have much to say about this, apart from saying that Apple is bringing 5G to its most affordable iPhone, and that it will allow for higher-quality HD FaceTime calls over 5G and the ability to enjoy watching movies with friends via SharePlay and getting better performance in multiplayer online games.

It’s fair to say that 5G is pretty much table stakes now, so it’s not surprising that Apple didn’t make a big deal of it. It felt mostly like a footnote to the presentation, like checking off the appropriate box on the list.

Pricing and Availability

The colour choices for the iPhone SE will remain basically the same, although Apple is moving to the Midnight and Starlight colours introduced with last fall’s iPhone 13 lineup. The (PRODUCT)RED version is still there as before, too.

Sadly, it also looks like Apple is sneaking the price up slightly, with the new iPhone SE starting at $429 for 64GB, rather than $399. This price bump is reflected across the entire lineup, with the 128GB version going for $479, and the 256GB version hitting $579. However, at least a 256GB capacity is once again available for the iPhone SE.

As is typically the case following an Apple iPhone announcement, you’ll be able to pre-order the new iPhone SE this Friday, and it will arrive in stores a week later, on March 18.

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