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iPhone SE: Every Now and Then

by Dewi Safitri


The iPhone is a quality smartphone known for having the latest innovative features, and unprecedented performance, but also ridiculously high prices. So in 2016 Apple introduced the iPhone SE as a more affordable model. Nonetheless, this model is still very impressive, especially for its price. 

With the latest and most advanced iPhone SE just being announced in March 2022, it is time to see how the iPhone SE evolved over the years! Before the iPhone SE was released, Apple had already developed many other iPhone models. The first iPhone was released in 2007 and revolutionized mobile phones forever. 

Then came the iPhone 3G, as the name implies it could connect to 3G networks. One year later the 3GS was released as a faster model. Apple claimed it was twice as fast as its predecessor. 

The first major redesign of the iPhone came in 2010 with the iPhone 4. A special version, the iPhone 4S, was released one year later and it introduced Siri. Next came the iPhone 5, which had a bigger 4-inch display. It also added a new lightning connector to charge much faster. 

The iPhone 5S and 5C were introduced in 2013. The 5C came in colorful options and was also a cheaper model, while the 5S came with Touch ID, which uses a fingerprint scanner on the home button as an easier way to unlock the phone.

The iPhone got bigger and better in 2014 with the introduction of the iPhone 6. It was the first iPhone to have a Retina HD display. Besides the iPhone 6, there was also the larger 5.5-inch display model, the iPhone 6 Plus. In 2015, Apple released the iPhone 6S and 6S Plus. These had the new A9 chip, which made them much faster. But then in March 2016, Apple surprised the world when it introduced the iPhone SE.

Every iPhone before it had some newly added features, larger displays, and increased performance and was sold for high prices, but the iPhone SE was different. SE stands for “Special Edition” and unique it was, not because it introduced new features, but because it was sold for a much lower starting price.

The iPhone SE came in 4 different colors; Space Gray, Silver, Gold, and Rose Gold. The SE shared the same physical design and dimensions as the iPhone 5S. It also had a 4-inch retina display. However, internally it was upgraded with the latest A9 chip, which according to Apple, had up to 70% more CPU and 90% more graphics performance compared to its predecessor. The iPhone SE became the fastest 4-inch smartphone in the world.

The SE also had the latest 12-megapixel rear camera, that could record up to 4K video at 30 frames per second. To make it even perfect, This iPhone also had a 1.2-megapixel front camera, and 2 GB of RAM, and it came in multiple storage options.

The cheapest model had 16 GB of storage and was sold for $399. This made it much more affordable compared to its predecessor, the iPhone 6S, which had a starting price of $649. Many people were very happy that Apple released a smaller 4-inch phone for a much more affordable price. 

The second-generation iPhone SE was released 4 years later, in 2020. It was part of the 13th generation of the iPhone alongside the iPhone 11, 11 Pro, and 11 Pro Max. The SE 2 was 30% larger than its predecessor and it had a bigger 4.7-inch display. To improve visuals it had a True Tone Retina HD display. Having the same dimensions as the iPhone 8, the SE was much faster due to the latest A13 Bionic chip, which was the fastest smartphone chip at the time.

The SE 2 featured an aluminum frame with a glass front and back. It came in three colors: Black, White, and a Product Red edition. You might be curious why the Red version was called the Product Red edition. This was because Apple partnered with a company named (RED) to fight AIDS.

In 15 years, Apple’s support has provided lifesaving treatments to over 13.8 million people living with HIV. By purchasing a Product Red iPhone SE a small amount is contributed to global health emergencies like AIDS and COVID. Touch ID in the second-generation SE made it easier to unlock the phone. The smartphone was among the smallest mainstream in-production smartphones at the time of its release.

While the second-generation SE featured a 1-megapixel rear camera just like its predecessor, it was improved with new features such as autofocus, image stabilization, and a quad-LED True Tone Flash. Other improvements included the 7-megapixel front camera and 3GB of RAM. It had an optional storage option of 256 GB, which is twice as much as the first generation SE.

Thus, the second-generation iPhone SE was significantly better than the first generation, but the starting price stayed the same at $399. Fun Fact Due to its low price point and impressive specifications the second-generation iPhone SE turned out to be a massive success. Estimated sales in the first year were around 24 million! “The new iPhone SE.”

The third and latest generation iPhone SE was announced in March 2022. This time it was introduced in the colors Product Red, Starlight, and Midnight. Such a great idea, how Apple uses marketing words for its colors. The SE is part of the 15th generation of the iPhone alongside the iPhone 13, 13 Pro, and 13 Pro Max.

Just like the iPhone 13, it uses the toughest glass available for both the front and the back. The size of the third-generation iPhone SE is the same as its predecessor and it also features a 4.7-inch Retina HD display. However, the smartphone is, yet again, much faster since it has the latest A15 Bionic chip.

Apple even stated the third-generation iPhone SE is faster than all the competition at any price. Another significant change is that it can connect to 5G networks. “So, iPhone SE can take advantage of the latest generation of technology. You get super fast downloads and uploads, lower latency, and better experiences in more places.”

While all iPhone SE generations have a 12-megapixel camera, the third-generation has a new camera system which improves contrast, colors, and noise. iPhone SE has even better battery life. With the efficiency of A15 Bionic, integration with iOS, our latest battery chemistry, and internal design updates. The battery life has up to 2 hours more video playback time than the second-generation iPhone SE.

Just like its predecessor it has a 12-megapixel rear camera, 7-megapixel front camera, 3 GB of RAM, and storage options of up to 256 GB. The price is slightly increased as it comes with a starting price of $429. From the first-generation iPhone SE that was introduced in 2016, all the way to the third-generation iPhone SE released in 2022 that features all the latest tech while still being affordable, Apple continues evolving the iPhone SE. 

Source: Evolution of the iPhone SE

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