iPhone SE: The Wall St. Journal’s Joanna Stern got the Apple briefing

“I spent time talking with Apple executives to get some answers.”

From “Apple’s New $399 iPhone SE: Long Live the Small Screen and Home Button” ($) posted Wednesday morning on WSJ.com

What’s actually new here? Good luck spotting the very, very minor physical differences between an iPhone 8 and an iPhone SE. (Hint: look at the location of the Apple logo on the back!) Inside, however, this is a very different phone. It has Apple’s latest A13 Bionic processor—the same exact one in the higher end iPhones.

But isn’t this screen still sort of big? There are some out there who may be disappointed by the iPhone SE’s 4.7-inch screen considering that the old iPhone SE—modeled after the iPhone 5—had a 4-inch screen. To that, Apple says this is a very popular phone size; it has sold more than 500 million 4.7-inch iPhone models.

What is missing? If you look at the tech specs for the higher end iPhones you’ll find a few things missing here—although most are camera related. There is no ultrawide or telephoto cameras, no night mode for taking better photos in the dark, no facial recognition. Oh, and yeah, no headphone port.

What about the new iPhones coming in the fall? Also missing is whatever will be coming to those brand new iPhones arriving this fall. According to reports, the standout features of the new phones (iPhone 12?) will be a revamped design and 5G connectivity.

Should I wait for 5G? Given that it took Apple four years to release a new iPhone SE, it is fairly safe to say it will be a while before this sort of smaller, cheaper model gets the faster connectivity. But hey, maybe by then 5G networks will be available in more places and we’ll actually know what it’s good for on a smartphone.

All in all, the new SE looks like a great deal but I’ll reserve my final recommendation until my review.

My take: Of all the official Apple reviewers, Stern is the most fun.

10 Comments

  1. Dan Scropos said:
    “ Oh, and yeah, no headphone port.” This is a smart move on Apple’s part. The ensuing sales of AirPods should see a nice bump. I’m sure there will be some that buy the phone and complain, but wires are so 2015.

    3
    April 15, 2020
  2. Jonny Tilney said:
    Obviously going to be a very big seller.

    2
    April 15, 2020
  3. Dan Scropos said:
    Are they throwing anything in with a purchase? Apple TV+ and/or special financing? They need to put maximum pressure on the competition. This phone represents incredible value, and anything that they can package along with it could make life even more difficult for the competition.

    I remain somewhat shocked at this price point. This phone has to be a nightmare for their competition. Tom Cook has really covered all of the bases when it comes to price points. I love where he’s taken Apple. Older chassis and newer specs makes it very difficult for the competition. Apple is showing the power of being nimble and excelling in the supply chain world, while simultaneously leveraging their (massive) chip lead.

    3
    April 15, 2020
  4. Gregg Thurman said:
    What the SE does have that all other phones do not is a $399 entry price.

    This should knock the stuffing out of pre-iPhone X resales. Who’s going to want a 3 year old iPhone 8 (no matter the price) when you can get a new iPhone SE (that includes a new battery) for $399?

    Oh and here comes another round of Apple TV+ subscriptions.

    1
    April 15, 2020
  5. Gregg Thurman said:
    You know, thinking about it, the iPhone SE will be the perfect “stay connected to Mom and Dad” iPhone.

    1
    April 15, 2020
    • Dan Scropos said:
      I’m replacing my mother’s (perfectly working) iPhone 6 this month. I wonder how many of Apple’s competitors have almost 6 year old phones in perfect working order. My guess is not many.

      3
      April 15, 2020
  6. Fred Stein said:
    Yes, Joanna’s the funnest. My fav, here review of the new AirPods while riding a mechanical bull.

    Smart move by Apple. Will they drop all the older (below A11 chip) models? This cuts long term software support, eases inventory management, and reduces customer confusion.

    Nice timing too. No competing news.

    1
    April 15, 2020
  7. Ken Cheng said:
    Yep gifting 2 of the SE iPhones, to replace iPhone 6s models. Should be quite a performance bump!

    2
    April 15, 2020
  8. Dan Scropos said:
    It does indeed come with a free year of Apple TV+. They’ve also quietly tied together Services and Wearables with this launch. The former with the free year Of Apple TV+ and the latter by removing the headphone jack. I’m sure that will lead to some AirPod purchases.

    2
    April 15, 2020
  9. Aaron Belich said:
    A big question that I have is, when do you think we’ll see AirPods ship with an iPhone?

    0
    April 15, 2020

Leave a Reply