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Apple’s “Loop You In” event has come and gone, with some interesting, though not unexpected releases. The event was home to a number of new Apple Watch bands, a new, smaller iPad Pro, and iOS 9.3. One product in particular pretty much stole the show – the iPhone SE.
Rumors about the iPhone SE have been steadily flowing over the past few months, and the actual device is pretty much the same as the leaks suggested. However, that didn’t stop me from feeling a little, well, melancholic about the device.
Don’t get me wrong, the iPhone SE sounds great. I love that it’s Apple’s most affordable iPhone yet, bringing iOS to those that might not otherwise be able to afford a new and up to date iPhone. The fact that the iPhone SE includes an A9 chip and a 12MP camera really is a big deal, and it shows that Apple isn’t forgetting about those that want a 4-inch iPhone, offering them the most up to date tech that it has to offer.
No, my disappointment doesn’t have anything to do with what’s under the hood. It has to do with the device’s design.
Since its inception, Apple has been as much a design company as a tech company, something that it should be extremely proud of. It has created cutting edge technology, but it has also been a force for fashion. From the MacBook range to the iPhone, Apple has always tried to express great design. And the iPhone SE isn’t badly designed – it’s just outdated.
One thing that users appreciate about Apple is that it’s always pushing the boundaries as far as design goes. Every two years or so Apple completely refreshes the look of the iPhone, and around a year and a half ago we got our first look at what was the iPhone 6, sporting a sleek new look and a design worthy of 2014. This year, the iPhone 7 will most likely sport another design refresh. When that happens, the iPhone SE won’t just have the last iPhone design – it will have the design of the iPhone two generations ago – otherwise known as the design that was first introduced four years ago.
It feels a little like Apple had a few too many iPhone 5 bodies left over and wanted to use them – of course that’s not the case, there are a few refinements between the iPhone 5 and iPhone SE, but that doesn’t dispel the feeling that Apple is recycling its design.
I’m really torn on the device. Apart from design, the iPhone SE is a dream. The fact that Apple is including its latest chip and camera into the iPhone SE is important – it’s basically an iPhone 6s in an iPhone SE case – except there are a few important omissions. For example the device does not offer 3D Touch, which has largely been hailed as an important change in how we interact with our smartphones.
The appeal for the iPhone SE is certainly big, especially because of its price. You can get it for $399 outright, or pay a fairly small $13.30 per month if you can finance through your carrier.
This is the kind of price previously limited to either second hand devices or to Android phones. That’s one of the reasons that the iPhone SE is an excellent choice for those looking to get their first smartphone to stay in touch with friends and family, like maybe your grandma.
Another reason this phone is great for your grandma over an Android phone is the fact that it’s so easy to use – iOS has long been hailed as the easiest to use mobile operating system, and for good reason – while it could be argued, especially by Android users, that Android is able to do more than iOS, it would be a lot harder to argue that your grandma needs access to the phone’s root folders.
The iPhone SE can be bought from any of the big four carriers (Sprint, T-Mobile, Verizon and AT&T), or straight from Apple’s website, and is available in either Silver, Space Gray, Gold, or Rose Gold, similar to Apple’s other products.
Whether or not you find the design of the iPhone SE to be outdated, there’s no arguing that it’s a great device, and it’s nice to see Apple catering to those that might not have a lot of money to spend on a new iPhone.