In case you missed it, Apple very sneakily announced a brand new iPhone (called the SE) at about 1am on April 16. Rumours have swirled about this device for some time now and it's arrived only a few weeks later than expected. But it is somewhat surprising to see any new launches, especially luxury technology, during this time of economic hardship.
At a first look, it doesn't seem to make sense.
The economic impact of the coronavirus is huge and we know that many people are now living on reduced income or government benefits. A new iPhone is not currently on the list of essentials that many of us are shopping for.
But looking at the price - which is just $749 AU - maybe the timing of this release does make more sense.
This new, second generation SE is a phone with the brains of the iPhone 11 pro, packaged up into the shell of an iPhone 8. It comes with all the bells and whistles of the 11 series including wireless charging, the increased battery life and the camera functionality. In fact, according to Apple the "iPhone SE features the best single-camera system ever in an iPhone". It has a 12-megapixel f/1.8 aperture Wide camera and has the Portrait mode, Portrait Lighting and Depth Control features. Other key features include a 4.7-inch Retina HD display, Touch ID and water-resistance. As Apple said, "iPhone SE gives customers access to Apple’s robust ecosystem of products, services and accessories."
Essentially, this is the experience of an iPhone 11 and iPhone 11 pro - which start at $1,199 and $1,749 respectively - for the price of $749.
Coronavirus has changed the way we view technology. With many of us required to work from home, others relying on food delivery apps to stay fed and some requiring mobile devices to have any connection with family, colleagues and employment contacts; is there any doubt that fast Internet is a utility, not a luxury and personal devices are a necessity not a nice-to-have?
Perhaps this is the iPhone we need right now? A device that gives us the access we require but with a more affordable price tag.
At the time, I had just moved out of home and started a brand new job. I had a lot of financial insecurity and the SE was what I could afford. Although I have moved onto the iPhone 11 Pro, the SE is still my favourite phone I've ever owned. I loved my SE. I loved the compact size and I loved that I was able to get something with a decent camera (which I needed for my job) without entirely clearing out my savings account.
This new iPhone SE comes with the same sentiments - and is even cheaper than the original. It's also worth mentioning that the red iPhones are part of a project called (PRODUCT)RED - which normally sends all proceeds to HIV/AIDs programs - are now sending all proceeds to Global Fund’s COVID‑19 Response.
Maybe the timing on this new iPhone SE release was just right after all.