The new iPhone SE: All the Apple goodness for $399

The newest iteration of Apple's popular iPhone SE has high-performance guts in a small package, and a price that can't be beat.


iPhone SE

Image: Apple, Inc.

The iPhone rumor mill can now rest: Apple has officially announced the second generation of its small-but-powerful iPhone SE. Following up on the 2016 iPhone SE, the new version is designed with the same look as the iPhone 8, but with internals that rival the current generation of Apple's smartphones. 

Perhaps the best feature of this new entry-level device is its price: It starts at just $399 USD, making it great not only for people that want a smaller iPhone, but also businesses looking to outfit employees with company-owned Apple devices.

Jason Cipriani of TechRepublic sister site ZDNet makes no bones about the role that the 2020 iPhone SE can play in Apple's lineup: "It's not only a reliable starter phone for a teen, but it's an ideal solution for fleets and companies looking to provide its workers with iPhones without spending a fortune."

Businesses that operate in the Apple ecosystem may feel stuck buying expensive devices or relying on BYOD policies to outfit their teams and by offering an iPhone with modern internals for a low price, Apple may be able to convince enterprises to invest in a fleet of corporate iPhone SEs. 

With some rethinking the BYOD mindset that grew up in businesses over the past few years this might be a final nail in the coffin for the security nightmare of personally-owned devices used for work.

SEE: Mobile device security: Tips for IT pros (free PDF) (TechRepublic)

Should I buy the iPhone SE?

Price aside, the 2020 iPhone SE has internals on par with the iPhone 11 series launched in late 2019, making it a spectacular deal, if you can deal with a smaller screen: It's only 4.7" on the diagonal. 

But that smaller screen, with a standard old-school bezel, means the iPhone SE is also small: It's a miniscule 5.45" x 2.65" x 0.29," making it a good half inch shorter, and nearly the same thinner, than the iPhone 11. 

Its display, while smaller, is still on par with the latest iPhone, with the same brightness, color depth, and contrast ratio as the iPhone 11--all it's lacking in the display department is the Liquid Retina HD display (the SE has a regular Retina HD). 

SEE: The next-gen iPhone SE is an iPhone without the pointless, overpriced gimmicks (ZDNet)

The 2020 iPhone SE has wireless charging too, and can reportedly reach 50% charge in just 30 minutes. That's a good thing for on-the-go professionals who don't have time to sit and wait for a phone to charge at the airport or in the car during a short drive. 

In terms of raw processing speed, the iPhone SE has Apple's newest SoC, the A13 and its corresponding third-generation neural engine, meaning it's potentially just as fast as the iPhone 11. 

It also has a single 12MP f/1.8 camera that Apple said is its "best Single-Camera System in an iPhone." The A13 chip makes the single camera capable of doing many of the same things higher-end iPhones do, like use portrait mode, virtual lighting, and use Smart HDR to digitally brighten dim photos. 

SEE: Newest iPhone SE is Apple's most affordable phone but doesn't feel cheap (CNET)

The 2020 iPhone SE is also IP67 rated, and for those who aren't fans of Face ID, it has an actual home button with a built-in Touch ID sensor.

So, yes, it may be reasonable to question whether the 2020 iPhone SE will be a hit, but it has all the potential of a powerful and affordable business smartphone that may be the answer to an enterprise niche that has long gone unfilled.

The iPhone SE will be available from Apple for pre orders on April 17, 2020, with shipments set to begin on April 24, 2020.

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