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The Apple iPhone SE 2020 (second generation) has quietly appeared on its Australian website.

The iPhone SE 2020 is available here for $799/829/999 for the 64/128/256GB versions in white, black and (Product) Red. We usually receive a press release, but anything can happen in COVID times. Let’s have a little fun channelling what Tim Cook might have said.

“It’s the best iPhone SE we have ever made. It’s a throwback to iPhone of better times and brings back the iconic round home button. We call it ‘lots to love and less to spend’ and want everybody to have an affordable iPhone.”

But wait, isn’t the term affordable iPhone an oxymoron?

Yes, and there are lots of trade-offs compared to an iPhone 11/Pro/Pro Max. BTW there is a comparison here.

  • Screen: 4.7”, 1334×750, 16:9 with 625 nits max and 1400:1 typical contrast
  • Processor: A13 Bionic (same as iPhone 11 series). 3GB RAM
  • Size/Weight: 138.4 x 67.3 x 7.3mm x 148g x IP67 (smaller and 46g lighter than base iPhone 11)
  • Battery: 1821mAh. Claimed 13 hours video loop. Wireless charging and has 5V/1.5A Lightning charger. Faster charging with optional 18W adaptor
  • LTE: Nano-SIM and eSIM Bands 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 11, 12, 13, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 25, 26, 28, 29, 30, 32, 34, 38, 39, 40, 41, 42, 46, 48, 66, VoLTE – a world modem
  • Comms: Wi-Fi 6 AX 2×2 MIMO, BT 5.0, NFC and GPS
  • Sound (no 3.5mm port) – earpiece and down-firing speakers for stereo sound, dual mics, Lightning Pods
  • Security: Touch ID (not face ID) and iOS 13
  • Build: Glass back and alloy frame

But the real untold story here is that Apple now only makes the iPhone 11 series and the new iPhone SE 2020. It replaces all the older iPhone 8 series that were actually the higher volume sellers.

Spec-wise its not too bad. The A13 Bionic chip means that it has almost the same power as the 11-series. The screen is a huge comedown in size and resolution – I can hear the Android lovers guffawing now at the measly 750p!

iPhone SE

What about the camera?

It is so yesterday channelling a Google Pixel 1/2/3 before it went dual! A single 12MP, f/1.8 but it has OIS and because of the A13 can record [email protected] The selfie is 7MP, f/2.2, and it has screen flash and [email protected]

But to be fair iPhones had a single camera including the iPhone 8 and still scored well enough in DXOMARK. In fact, it uses the iPhone 8 camera but has the A13 chip driving it.

What do we really think of the iPhone SE 2020?

This is the right product at the right time. It will cannibalise iPhone 11 sales, but the world is not as affluent as it was and it’s a smart move to maintain market share.

And the iPhone SE 2020 is not an annual upgrade product. The Gen 1 SE launched in March 2016 and ceased production in late 2018. At that time the iPhone 8 was heavily discounted to fill the budget spot (and is now replaced by the iPhone SE Gen 2), the iPhone 9 never materialised going straight to the iPhone X (no longer made) and XR (plastic) that is also on the way out.

But we can’t help notice the absolute similarity to the iPhone 8 – same screen, camera, body size, battery – it is the same apart from the updated SoC.