Home / Technology / Gadgets /  Apple launches iPhone SE amid global Covid-19 lockdown, no India launch date yet

The second generation Apple iPhone SE is finally official. The device is aimed at users who want a smaller smartphone and can’t afford Apple’s usual prices. That said, the new SE isn’t particularly cheap in India, and starts at 42,500 in the country. While the company announced pre-order dates in the US, beginning from April 17, there’s no availability date for India at the moment. The device is available in 64GB, 128GB and 256GB variants.

The original iPhone SE was launched back in 2016 and brought back the iPhone 5S’ design to the market. With the new version, Apple is using a more rounded design, similar to its current iPhones. The product still retains a smaller screen though, with a 4.7 inch Retina display. The company’s Touch ID fingerprint sensor also makes an appearance under the screen.

In fact, the new iPhone SE looks almost exactly like the iPhone 8 and has the same glass design as that phone. It runs on the newer Apple A13 Bionic chipset though, which is the same system-on-chip fitted inside the iPhone 11 Pro and 11 Pro Max. Essentially, Apple is promising a smaller form factor but with the same amount of processing power.

The company has also updated the camera on this device. While it still has a single camera on the back, with a 12 megapixel sensor, Apple says it sports the company’s Smart HDR feature for better photography. That should mean better colours on photographs than the iPhone SE, and Apple has also added a new “monocular depth estimation" feature to offer the Portrait Mode on this phone.

While this mode usually requires multiple cameras in order to figure out the depth in a photo, the iPhone SE uses machine learning to estimate the depth and take bokeh images. Apple is also offering its portrait lighting effects on the phone and depth control.

Further, the second generation iPhone SE also supports the wireless and fast charging, though Apple won’t include a fast charger in the box. The iPhone SE can be charged using an 18W fast charger but the in-box charger is a 5W version, which should charge the phone much slower than usual.

Then again, it should have a smaller battery than other iPhones, which could make this less of an issue. Apple hasn’t revealed the battery size yet, but promises “great battery life" on the iPhone SE.

The iPhone SE is being launched amid global lockdowns, at a time when the smartphone market has been ailing in countries like India. As more people stay indoors and manufacturing is halted, sales have dipped. Experts believe that this slowdown will affect Apple too, though the fact that Apple caters to a more high end market may work in its favour to some extent.

“The segment Apple caters will supposedly have more capacity to bear the stress that is likely to happen due to macro economic challenges. But, still there will some segment which will look for cheaper alternatives curtailing their budgets," said Faisal Kawoosa, founder of research firm techARC. Kawoosa though questioned Apple’s pricing, saying it loses out to competition and is too expensive.


Prasid Banerjee

An engineering dropout, Prasid Banerjee has reported on technology in India for various publications. He reports on technology through text and audio, focusing on its core aspects, like consumer impact, policy and the future.
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