The iPhone SE

Yesterday, Apple held their March 2016 “Loop You In” event. As expected they announced an updated 4″ iPhone, the iPhone SE.

Last month I laid out my thoughts about a new 4″ iPhone.

The SE exactly matches the rumours and essentially has the internals of a 6S in a 5S case but without 3D touch.

For new iPhone users I think this is great – an up to date 4″ iPhone pretty much on par with the latest larger models. If I was buying my first iPhone this is the one I’d get. But for me I’m not sure it’s enough.

My 5S is two and a half years old now, but it still runs the latest version of iOS and I never notice it being slow or “laggy” in any way. I’m out of contract, fully paid up, and now only paying £12 a month for everything I need calls and data wise on 4G.

If I were to upgrade to the SE and keep my current monthly payments it would cost me £439 up front. That’s for the 64GB model which is the same size as my current 5S. I don’t know what the monthly cost would be without an up front payment yet as the carriers haven’t published their tariffs, but I can guarantee it would be quite a lot more than the £12 I’m currently paying!

So what would I get for my £439?

  • A better camera: that would be nice, but I don’t tend to find the camera on the 5S lacking.
  • Live photos: again, great, but I think I can live without them.
  • Apple Pay: I don’t think I’d use Apple Pay. In the UK we already have contactless cards and I only tend to use one so it would be overkill for me to go through the complexities of using Apple Pay!
  • Same design: From the outside the SE looks exactly the same as my 5S – unless I got the rose gold which wouldn’t be my cup of tea.

So I’d get a better camera and the faster chip which would also give me the live photos and a couple of other minor improvements.

It’s just not enough for me to spend £439.

Unfortunately, my 5S is still too good and the SE does not offer enough for that kind of extra outlay. In the US the monthly contracts and upfront phone costs are perhaps cheaper than here in the UK so maybe it would be financially more attractive there.

If Apple had updated the screen with 3D Touch and updated the design so it looked significantly different from the 5S, even just with different colours, I might have been swayed, but I often have these problems with Apple products – they tend to last me a quite a while. So it looks like I’ll be using my 5S for a while longer, perhaps until it no longer gets the iOS updates, until it’s no longer “in the loop”!

Let’s see if there is a fully folded into the lineup 4″ model in the iPhone 7 range later in the year, doubtful, but you never know…