Apple unveils new budget iPhone

With prices starting at $399, the second generation iPhone SE is a budget alternative to Apple's higher end models. See what features are included and why a cheaper phone is a timely strategy for Apple.

Posted: Apr 16, 2020 1:40 AM
Updated: Apr 16, 2020 1:40 AM

After years of releasing smartphones with four-figure price tags, Apple is reintroducing a lower-cost, stripped down iPhone model in an apparent effort to broaden its customer base.

During a virtual presentation with reporters on Wednesday morning, a new normal for tech launches during the global pandemic, the company announced a new version of the iPhone SE, which launched in 2016. The second-generation SE model starts at just $399, far less than the entry-level iPhone 11, which costs $699, and the iPhone 11 Pro Max, which starts at $1099.

At 4.7 inches, the new SE is smaller than the latest lineup of iPhones -- the iPhone 11 is 6.1 inches -- but comes with the same fast processor that's in the11 Pro. It also offers a Retina HD display, 4K video and a home button that enables TouchID.

The smaller size, display choice and Touch ID feature may help keep the cost down but could turn off customers who are accustomed to the current lineup of bigger iPhones with higher pixel density and an option to unlock via facial recognition.

But the new SE does pack a wide camera with image stabilization and faster autofocus in low light, along with features such as portrait mode, depth of field control and lighting adjustment tools. In a tweet, CEO Tim Cook called it the "best single-camera system ever in an iPhone." It has the same battery life as the iPhone 8.

The iPhone SE, which comes in white, black and red, is available for pre-order starting Friday and ships to customers on April 24.

The lower price point could allow Apple to attract more customers in both the US and internationally and better compete with Android-based manufacturers like Google and Samsung, which already offer cheaper iPhone alternatives.

The original iPhone SE also sold for $399 when it was introduced four years ago. The device packed the internals of the 4.7-inch iPhone 6 and the 5.5-inch iPhone 6S Plus into the 4-inch body of the iPhone 5, serving as an alternative for people who didn't want a bigger device or the price tag that comes with it. The iPhone SE accounted for less than 10% of total iPhone volumes in 2016, according to IDC Research.

The launch of another budget-friendly iPhone has been rumored for years, but the actual launch could be well timed given the current economic climate, with sweeping layoffs and the fears of a potential global recession. But launching the budget phone during the pandemic poses challenges, too.

In February, Apple sold fewer than 500,000 iPhones in China -- one of its biggest markets -- a plunge of more than 60% compared to the same month last year, according to government data. Apple's retail stores, valuable real estate for the company to showcase its latest devices, are closed outside of China until further notice.

The pandemic will likely have a significant impact on Apple's product plans for the year. In the fall, the company is widely rumored to launch four iPhone 12 models, a new HomePod and over-the-ear headphones. Some analysts suspect it could delay the launch of the much-anticipated 5G iPhone until consumer appetite returns.

In a similar virtual presentation last month, Apple unveiled its latest iPad Pro lineup. Across the tech industry, companies have been forced to cancel or rethink their big press events and conferences. Google and Facebook both canceled major developer conferences. Apple also said its Worldwide Developers Conference will be online-only this year.

Terre Haute
Overcast
47° wxIcon
Hi: 49° Lo: 41°
Feels Like: 45°
Robinson
Overcast
44° wxIcon
Hi: 47° Lo: 40°
Feels Like: 44°
Indianapolis
Overcast
46° wxIcon
Hi: 48° Lo: 43°
Feels Like: 46°
Rockville
Overcast
41° wxIcon
Hi: 47° Lo: 39°
Feels Like: 41°
Casey
Overcast
41° wxIcon
Hi: 45° Lo: 39°
Feels Like: 36°
Brazil
Overcast
47° wxIcon
Hi: 49° Lo: 41°
Feels Like: 45°
Marshall
Overcast
47° wxIcon
Hi: 46° Lo: 39°
Feels Like: 45°
Rainy & Cold
WTHI Planner
WTHI Temps
WTHI Radar

WTHI Events

 

Illinois Coronavirus Cases

(Widget updates once daily at 7 p.m. CT)

Confirmed Cases: 383687

Reported Deaths: 9792
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Cook1774655433
DuPage23099606
Lake20815511
Will18621427
Kane16903347
Winnebago10340180
St. Clair7993220
Madison7221154
McHenry6452121
Champaign617229
Unassigned4778270
Peoria462273
McLean420934
Rock Island407090
Sangamon406763
Kankakee342180
Macon316052
Kendall270430
Tazewell268756
LaSalle242663
DeKalb239942
Coles193539
Adams188820
Williamson188859
Boone187825
Clinton178926
Vermilion174110
Jackson154826
Whiteside146027
Knox131716
Randolph128315
Ogle12187
Effingham11834
Marion102819
Stephenson10187
Franklin9869
Grundy9777
Morgan93424
Monroe92530
Bureau91316
Jefferson90748
Henry8537
Christian82529
Macoupin81611
Union78725
McDonough77120
Lee7402
Shelby69112
Fayette68524
Douglas6849
Crawford6516
Livingston64610
Woodford63714
Montgomery61516
Logan5994
Saline5679
Fulton5271
Jo Daviess5127
Bond5079
Warren5068
Iroquois49519
Wayne48612
Jersey47521
Cass46311
Perry44716
Carroll41911
Moultrie4154
Johnson3620
Pike3586
Lawrence3368
Richland33516
Clay31413
Hancock3144
Clark31017
Washington3102
Mason3091
Greene29515
Cumberland2946
Mercer2706
White2704
De Witt2646
Jasper26410
Piatt2540
Pulaski2401
Wabash2285
Ford19814
Menard1861
Edgar15710
Marshall1573
Massac1552
Henderson1290
Hamilton1262
Alexander1241
Brown1110
Edwards1090
Gallatin1072
Scott1070
Putnam920
Schuyler901
Stark863
Calhoun660
Hardin540
Pope421
Out of IL50

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

(Widget updates once daily at 8 p.m. ET)

Confirmed Cases: 164581

Reported Deaths: 4143
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion26055792
Lake14436358
St. Joseph9606168
Elkhart9271138
Allen8647231
Hamilton6400115
Vanderburgh617162
Tippecanoe396715
Porter347550
Hendricks3418134
Monroe335638
Johnson3286130
Delaware311575
Clark306263
Vigo275340
Madison250896
LaPorte239261
Cass229724
Warrick205065
Kosciusko201127
Floyd187468
Howard169466
Bartholomew147958
Marshall147428
Dubois146426
Wayne142031
Grant133539
Henry133030
Boone129150
Hancock124744
Noble122935
Jackson121018
Dearborn103128
Morgan100340
Lawrence96838
Gibson94412
Clinton92416
Daviess92334
Shelby90632
LaGrange82815
Knox81810
Harrison81024
Posey7767
Putnam77616
Fayette76719
DeKalb76011
Jasper6885
Miami6715
Steuben6608
Montgomery63122
White62316
Greene57838
Adams5607
Scott55413
Decatur52839
Ripley4838
Whitley4836
Clay4617
Sullivan45714
Wells45611
Huntington4455
Starke4438
Wabash4439
Orange42425
Spencer4176
Randolph39210
Jennings38713
Washington3873
Franklin38325
Fulton3785
Perry36914
Jefferson3655
Pike35718
Carroll34313
Jay3386
Fountain3293
Tipton28423
Vermillion2721
Parke2564
Rush2464
Blackford2394
Newton23711
Owen2151
Martin2050
Pulaski1783
Crawford1631
Brown1473
Ohio1337
Union1140
Benton1130
Switzerland980
Warren911
Unassigned0236