Apple makes the iPhone SE official

Apple has officially announced the iPhone SE to the world. The first four-inch iPhone since the iPhone 5s in 2013, the iPhone SE features a refined version of the 5s design, with matte chamfered edges, with an inset stainless steel Apple logo. It will come in space gray, silver, gold, and rose gold.

In terms of performance, the iPhone SE matches the iPhone 6s, which was released last fall. It's powered by an Apple A9 system-on-a-chip, with an M9 motion co-processor with "Hey, Siri" support. It has improved battery life over the iPhone 5s, while being twice as fast. It's rear iSight camera is 12 megapixels, and is paired with a two-tone flash. The camera supports panoramic images up to 63 megapixels, and takes 4K video. Like the 6s and 6s Plus, the iPhone SE supports the Retina Flash feature for the front-facing camera. The phone also features NFC for Apple Pay support.

The iPhone SE supports Voice over LTE, 802.11ac Wi-Fi, and Wi-Fi calling. It can be opened with the second-generation Touch ID sensor.

Press release:

Apple Introduces iPhone SE — The Most Powerful Phone with a Four-inch Display

Featuring A9 Chip, Advanced 12-Megapixel iSight Camera & Apple Pay

CUPERTINO, California — March 21, 2016 — Apple® today introduced iPhone® SE, the most powerful phone with a four-inch display, in a beloved compact aluminum design that has been updated with matte-chamfered edges, a color-matched stainless steel Apple logo, and four gorgeous metallic finishes, including rose gold. iPhone SE offers exceptional performance with the same 64-bit A9 chip offered in iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus for blazing fast speeds, longer battery life, faster wireless, a 12-megapixel iSight® camera featuring Live Photos™ and 4K video, and Touch ID® with Apple Pay®.

"iPhone SE is an exciting new idea — we started with a beloved, iconic design and reinvented it from the inside out. The result is the most beautiful and powerful phone with a four-inch display in the world," said Philip Schiller, Apple's senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing. "iPhone SE is packed with a stunning four-inch Retina display, advanced 64-bit A9 chip with M9 motion co-processor, longer battery life, 12-megapixel iSight camera with True Tone flash, Live Photos, 4K video, faster LTE and Wi-Fi, and Touch ID with Apple Pay. Everyone who wants a smaller phone is going to love iPhone SE."

The Most Powerful Phone with a Four-inch Display

iPhone SE takes a beloved iPhone design and reinvents it from the inside out, giving customers a powerful, full-featured iPhone no matter which model they choose. The 64-bit A9 chip, introduced in iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus, offers iPhone SE customers two times faster CPU and three times faster GPU performance compared to iPhone 5s, all with gains in energy efficiency for improved battery life. M9, Apple's next-generation motion coprocessor, is integrated into A9 allowing more features to run all the time at lower power, including "Hey Siri" without having to pick up your iPhone, and a range of fitness tracking capabilities like measuring your steps and distance. iPhone SE users can browse, download and stream content even faster with Wi-Fi up to three times and LTE up to 50 percent faster than iPhone 5s.* iPhone SE also includes more LTE bands for better worldwide roaming and supports Voice over LTE and Wi-Fi calling for high-quality wideband calls.

With an easy-to-use interface, amazing features, and security at its core, iOS 9 is the foundation of iPhone SE and brings powerful built-in apps like Messages, FaceTime®, Photos, Music and Maps to iPhone users. iOS 9 also brings more intelligence to iPhone SE with proactive assistance, powerful search, improved Siri® features, and a new Night Shift™ feature that uses your iPhone SE's clock and geolocation to automatically adjust the colors in the display to the warmer end of the spectrum after dark and may even help you get a better night's sleep.

All of these innovations are packed into a light and compact phone designed to fit comfortably in your hand, crafted from bead-blasted aluminum for a satin-like finish, refined matte-chamfered edges, a new color-matched stainless steel inset Apple logo and a brilliant four-inch Retina® display.

The World's Most Popular Camera

iPhone SE has an advanced 12-megapixel iSight camera featuring Focus Pixel technology for fast focusing, an Apple-designed image signal processor, advanced noise reduction, third-generation local tone mapping and better face detection, all resulting in sharper, more detailed photos like the ones shot on iPhone 6s. With Live Photos on iPhone SE, customers can go beyond snapshots to capture moments in motion and relive unforgettable memories with sound. Live Photos are beautiful 12-megapixel photos that, with just a touch, reveal the moments immediately before and after the shot was taken, so users can enjoy a living memory rather than an instant frozen in time.

Additional camera advancements include:

  • The ability to shoot HD video with support for 4K at a resolution of 3840 x 2160. After capturing 4K video, customers can edit on a Mac®, PC or iPad®, and with the latest version of iMovie® on iPhone, can even edit two simultaneous streams of 4K on iPhone SE.
  • Retina Flash, which momentarily makes the display three times brighter with True Tone® lighting technology, for wonderfully bright selfies in low light with the FaceTime HD camera.
  • Features introduced with iPhone 6s, including up to 63-megapixel panorama photos, video capture up to 60fps for 1080p video and 240fps for slo-mo, time-lapse with video stabilization and cinematic video stabilization.

Pricing & Availability

  • iPhone SE will be available in space gray, silver, gold and rose gold metallic finishes in 16GB and 64GB models starting at $399 (US) from Apple's retail stores, Apple.com, Apple Authorized Resellers and select carriers, or for 24 monthly payments starting at $17 (US) exclusively at Apple's retail stores in the US.** As part of the newly-announced Trade Up with Installments program at Apple stores in the US, customers can also purchase iPhone SE for as low as $10/month for 24 months.***
  • Customers in Australia, Canada, China, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Japan, New Zealand, Puerto Rico, Singapore, the UK, US Virgin Islands and the US will be able to order iPhone SE beginning Thursday, March 24, with availability beginning Thursday, March 31.
  • iPhone SE will be available in early April in Albania, Andorra, Austria, Bahrain, Belgium, Bosnia, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Greece, Guernsey, Jersey, Hungary, Iceland, India, Ireland, Isle of Man, Italy, Kosovo, Kuwait, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macedonia, Maldives, Malta, Monaco, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, Turkey and UAE.
  • Apple-designed accessories including leather cases in black and midnight blue will be available for $39 (US), and Lightning® Docks in color-matched metallic finishes are currently available from Apple's retail stores and Apple.com for $49 (US).

Every customer who buys iPhone SE from Apple will be offered free Personal Setup, in-store or online, to help them customize their iPhone by setting up email, showing them new apps from the App Store® and more. Anyone who wants to learn more about iPhone SE or iOS 9 can register for the free workshops offered at every Apple Store.

Joseph Keller is the former Editor in Chief of iMore. An Apple user for almost 20 years, he spends his time learning the ins and outs of iOS and macOS, always finding ways of getting the most out of his iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, and Mac.

19 Comments
  • Yehey!!!! Finaly!! Posted via the iMore App for Android
  • Yehey!!!! Finaly!! Posted via the iMore App for Android
  • For the money they are asking, the phone is a joke, more overpriced iPhone crap. Posted via the iMore App for Android
  • Go troll AC. Troll. It runs circles around android device regardless of specs.
    And it gets updates. Find me a $399 android device that out benches it.
  • Apple truly is the champ when it comes to older device support, for sure. Regarding your second point, the Moto X Pure and the Nexus 5X are both powerful phones for $399 (or less) and they have a couple of nice features like SD card support and NFC for general use. I'll admit though, I know more than one person who would appreciate a 4" phone with modern internals these days. The SE looks pretty good!
  • Are you kidding. That's a bargain. And it'll be one of the most powerful devices in that range Posted via the iMore App on my iPhone 6s Plus 64 gigabytes
  • That's funny I was amazed at how you can get the A9 power in such a small package at only $399. Why is the phone a joke? Sent from the iMore App
  • Is it still the sub 720p display?
  • Yes. Just like on the 5/5s. But the pixel density is still high, right? Are u expecting a 400ppi density? Sent from the iMore App
  • No 3D Touch, right? Is it an HD screen or what? The same as iPhone 6 models?? Sent from the iMore App
  • Wow, the SE has my name on it! It sounds amazing! I kind of want rose gold now. Decisions, decisions...
  • It looks lovely. I'm glad they went with the 5s design. And putting the power of the 6s behind it was really surprising. I thought they were going with 6 type specs. I'm a little sorry I didn't know about this device before I picked up my 5s last month. It's a great phone and I love it but with the release of the SE I am left wondering if the 5s is about to be EOL. Since they don't need it in their lineup anymore.
  • Yeah, you and me both. I just got a 5s this month. I got somewhat of a deal but if I knew it was going to be this great, I probably would have continued with the 5c until I can get this.
  • Any idea or hints about ram? If this has 2gb of ram, I'm sold, as I still love the form factor of the 5S, and I don't do much reading / video watching on my phones.
  • For some reason, it's been hard to find that, even on the Apple site.
  • OK, it doesn't have 3D Touch, but how does Live Photos work.
  • Long press, it seems. Sent from the iMore App
  • Any chance it's Project Fi ready?
  • The ifanatics are eating this crap up like candy, classic. More overpriced Apple crap. Posted via the iMore App for Android