iPhone SE: Apple launches cheapest-ever smartphone at £359
Apple has revealed a new, smaller iPhone SE, as the company takes a step back from the larger ‘phablet’ handset sizes of recent years.
Quite a few people prefer smaller phones. Yesterday at its keynote event, Apple revealed that 30 million people bought its 4-inch phones last year. That’s almost 8 percent of the 232 million phones Apple sold worldwide last year. And according to mobile analytics website Mixpanel, the iPhone 5s is currently the company’s second most popular phone, second only to the iPhone 6 (and ahead of the 6s and 6 Plus). Obviously there’s a market for smaller phones, one Apple would be silly to ignore.
Phones have been trending large for almost five years now, and the iPhone 6’s 4.7-inch screen was Apple’s acknowledgement of that. There’s no denying the 6 and 6S have been a huge success—Apple set all of its revenue, profit, and iPhone sales records after the bigger handset appeared in 2014. But the super-sized form factor drew consternation from people who weren’t ready to trade in their smaller screens.
The new model is Apple’s cheapest ever iPhone, priced at £359 for 16GB and £439 for 64GB. Pre-orders will open on March 24 before going on full sale on March 31. UK.
The 4-inch iPhone SE marks a return to the sizing last used for theiPhone 5s in 2013, coupled with the 12MP rear-facing camera and near-field communication (NFC) chip used in last September’s recent release the iPhone 6s. The chip works in conjunction with the Touch ID fingerprint scanner in the home button to make contactless payments via Apple Pay.
Speaking at the launch event at the company’s Cupertino headquarters, Apple executive Greg Jozwiak said
“Not all consumers favour phablets and larger screens, which have been particularly popular in Asia, and there is still demand for smaller devices,” Thomas Husson, consumer mobile analyst at Forrester said. “It’s time to progressively phase out the iPhone 5s and, given slower growth in the high-end smartphone segment, to launch a more affordable device. Expect the quality of the iPhone 6, but in compact form.”
iPad Pro update
Apple also announced a new smaller 9.7-inch iPad Pro, new woven nylon Apple Watch straps and an update to tvOS.
The new iPad Pro features a 9.7-inch pressure-sensitive display and four corner-mounted speakers, as does the larger iPad Pro which went on sale last November. Prices start at £499 for 32GB with wi-fi only and £839 for 256GB with wi-fi and 3G.
Speaking at the launch event at the company’s Cupertino headquarters, Apple executive Phil Schiller said more than 200 million 9.7-inch iPads have been sold.
The new iPad is 25 per cent brighter than an iPad Air 2, which Schiller claimed was the brightest tablet available. “In many ways, this is the best displays we’ve ever built for an iPad,” he said. It sports an A9X processor for faster performance, making it more powerful than an Xbox 360, he added.
The new iPad Pro will also support the pressure-sensitive Apple Pencil stylus, which Schiller added was “the greatest accessory Apple has ever made”. It also sports a 12MP rear-facing iSight camera capable of shooting 4K video, and 5MP front-facing lens.
The new iPad Pro will come in gold, silver, space grey and rose gold, for the first time.
The firm also showed off a recycling robot called Liam which can strip down old iPhones into their components for reuse.
Apple have dropped the price of the Apple Watch, making their wearable device more affordable.
The entry-level model, the Apple Watch Sport, now costs £259 on the Apple store online.
The smartwatch originally cost £299 when it first launched in April 2015. The announcement also saw the introduction of new watch straps, with the ‘Woven Nylon’ design arriving in seven new colours at £39 – the same price as the original Sport Band.
A ‘Space Black’ version of the stainless steel ‘Milanese Loop’ strap has also been revealed, costing £129.