Apple updates the affordable iPhone SE in 2020

After holding out for four years, Apple has finally updated its budget-oriented iPhone SE in 2020, upgrading it on nearly all fronts.

Name iPhone SE (2020)
SoC Apple A13 Bionic
Display 4.7-inch 1,334 x 750p Retina LCD
Storage 64GB/128GB/265GB
Camera (Rear) 12MP f/ 1.8
Camera (Rear) 7MP
Battery Up to 16 hours of video playback, capacity TBD
Durability 1m water submersion for 30 minutes
Audio Stereo speakers
Ports Lightning port
OS iOS 13
Price Starting at $999

The new iPhone SE now more resembles the iPhone 8, ditching the dual-tone rear of the previous generation in favour of a monotone rear and a subtle camera bump. The edges now feature a soft curvature to make it more comfortable to hold. 

Because it’s an entry-level product, the iPhone SE lacks the fluid, edge-to-edge OLED Super Retina display of the iPhone 11 Pro. The front side sees a 4.7-inch Retina LCD display with a 1,334 x 750p resolution. Although its resolution trails most of today’s budget phones, the pixel density still works out to 326ppi on the smaller screen.

Despite being on the budget end, the iPhone SE uses the A13 Bionic, the same system-on-chip (SoC) as Apple’s iPhone 11 series. It should bring tremendous uplifts in performance especially in modern apps and games. Storage options include 64GB, 128GB, and 256GB.

The rear camera has been bumped up to the same 12MP, f/ 1.8 shooter used for the iPhone 8. On its website, Apple heavily touted the image processing capabilities of the A13 Bionic SoC. The emphasis suggests that in combination with a hardware upgrade, image quality improvements will heavily rely on smart image processing of the A13 Bionic’s neural engine.

Some older technologies make their return as well, like the physical button with an embedded fingerprint sensor.

Apple has always been dodgy with quoting battery capacity directly. On its product page, the company says that the iPhone SE can last up to 13 hours of video playback. In comparison, the iPhone XR is shown to be able to last 16 hours, and the flagship iPhone 11 Pro for 20 hours. 

The iPhone SE is available in White, Black, and (Product)Red starting at CA $600. Every purchase of the Red version contributes to the Global Funds to fight AIDS.


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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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Tom Li
Tom Li
Telecommunication and consumer hardware are Tom's main beats at IT Business. He loves to talk about Canada's network infrastructure, semiconductor products, and of course, anything hot and new in the consumer technology space. You'll also occasionally see his name appended to articles on cloud, security, and SaaS-related news. If you're ever up for a lengthy discussion about the nuances of each of the above sectors or have an upcoming product that people will love, feel free to drop him a line at [email protected].

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