The iPhone SE was a true mini-flagship and it is still relevant today
Apple announced that all of its phones that are running iOS 13 now will be able to update to iOS 14 by the end of the year. This includes the SE (which made its debut with iOS 9), but not the older 5s, on which the design was based. Not bad for a phone that came out over four years ago (March 2016).
The design actually dates back to 2010 and the iPhone 4, which we covered in a previous Flashback episode. An aluminum frame with squared off sides was sandwiched between two panes of glass. A couple of years later the iPhone 5 bumped up the screen size from the original 3.5” to 4.0”, but things didn’t change much beyond that.
Then came the iPhone 6 in 2014, which increased the base screen size to 4.7” and introduced the Plus model with a 5.5” screen. Many immediately jumped to the iPhone 6 Plus, having waited for years for Apple to give them something closer to the Android flagships in size. Many others, however, hated the change and wanted to keep using a small phone.
That’s why the iPhone SE came as a surprise – released in early 2016, it had the body of 2013’s 5s and the brains of 2015’s 6s. Apple mixed and matched other parts too, like using the older Touch ID system and skipping Force Touch (this was before it abandoned the idea).
And it was relatively cheap – $400 for the version with 16GB of storage. That was a great price for a phone with the Apple A9 chipset, the fastest mobile chipset at the time, access to a thriving app ecosystem and an excellent camera to boot. Even better, in 2017 Apple doubled the storage (32GB and 128GB) and kept the prices the same.