iPhone SE (1st generation)
The iPhone SE (colloquially known as the iPhone SE 1 or the iPhone SE 2016 to differentiate it from its successor) is a smartphone that was designed, developed, and marketed by Apple Inc. It is part of the 9th generation of the iPhone alongside the higher-end iPhone 6S and 6S Plus. Pre-orders began on March 24, 2016. It was officially released on March 31, 2016.
iPhone SE in Silver
|Slogan||A big step for small.|
|Model||A1662 (US model)|
A1723 (Sprint and in most countries)
A1724 (China Mobile model)
|Compatible networks||GSM, LTE, 3G, 4G, EDGE, UMTS, HSPA+, DC-HSDPA, CDMA, EVDO|
|First released||March 31, 2016(16 and 64 GB); March 24, 2017 (32 and 128 GB)|
|Availability by region|
|Discontinued||March 21, 2017 (16 and 64 GB)|
September 12, 2018 (32 and 128 GB)
|Successor||iPhone SE (2nd)|
|Mass||113 g (4.0 oz)|
|Operating system||Original: iOS 9.3|
Current: iOS 14.0.1, released September 24, 2020 
|System on chip||Apple A9|
|CPU||1.84 GHz dual-core 64-bit ARMv8-A "Twister"|
|GPU||PowerVR GT7600 (hexa-core)|
|Memory||2 GB LPDDR4 RAM|
|Storage||16, 32, 64, or 128 GB|
|Battery||3.82 V 6.21 W⋅h (1624 mAh) Built-in rechargeable Lithium-polymer battery|
|Data inputs||Multi-touch touchscreen display, Apple M9 motion coprocessor, 3-axis gyroscope, accelerometer, digital compass, proximity sensor, ambient light sensor, Touch ID fingerprint reader, microphone|
|Display||4.0 in (100 mm) Retina Display, LED-backlit IPS LCD, 1136 × 640 pixel resolution (326 ppi) with full sRGB standard, 500 cd/m2 max. brightness (typical), 800:1 contrast ratio (typical)|
|Rear camera||Backlit Sony Exmor RS IMX315 12.2 MP (4032 x 3024, 1.22 μm), dual-tone LED flash, autofocus, IR filter, burst mode, f/2.2 aperture, 4K video recording at 30 fps, 1080p at 30 or 60 fps, slow-motion video (1080p at 120 fps and 720p at 240 fps)|
|Front camera||1.2 MP, f/2.4 aperture, exposure control, face detection, auto-HDR, Retina Flash, 720p video recording|
|Sound||Mono speaker, 3.5 mm stereo audio jack|
|Connectivity||Near-field communication (NFC), Bluetooth 4.2, GPS, GLONASS, Wi-Fi (802.11 a/b/g/n/ac), VoLTE, Wi-Fi calling, Lightning connector, 3.5 mm stereo audio jack|
|Other||FaceTime audio- or video-calling|
|SAR||Head SAR: 1.17 W/kg|
Body SAR: 1.19 W/kg
|Hearing aid compatibility||M3, T4|
|Website||iPhone SE - Apple at the Wayback Machine (archived January 2, 2017)|
It was re-released on March 24, 2017 with larger storage capacities. iPhone SE shares the same physical design and dimensions as iPhone 5S, and has upgraded internal hardware, including the newer Apple A9 system-on-chip, greater battery capacity, and a 12-megapixel rear camera that can record up to 4K video at 30 frames per second. The name SE is an acronym for Special Edition. iPhone SE was discontinued by Apple on September 12, 2018.
The previous major redesign of the iPhone, the 4.7-inch iPhone 6 and the 5.5-inch iPhone 6 Plus, resulted in larger screen sizes. However, a significant number of customers still preferred the smaller 4-inch screen size of iPhone 5, 5C, and 5S.
Leaks about a smaller, iPhone 5S-like phone with newer components started circulating in 2015. Guesses included "iPhone 5se", "iPhone 7 Mini", "iPhone 6c", and "iPhone SE" (which was the correct name of the phone).
Apple stated in the Let us loop you in event on March 21, 2016 that they sold over 30 million 4-inch iPhones in 2015, further explaining that some people love smaller compact phones. Later in the event, they presented iPhone SE, describing it as "the most powerful four-inch phone ever." With a total mass of 113 grams (or 4.0 ounces), iPhone SE is one of the lightest iPhone models released, only surpassed by iPhone 5 and 5S (both having a total mass of 112 grams or 3.95 ounces). iPhone SE, iPhone 6S, and iPhone 6S Plus were also the last iPhone models to feature a standard 3.5 mm stereo headphone jack.
No affordable successor to iPhone SE was announced during the September 12, 2018 Apple Special Event, and Business Insider stated that "Apple made a big mistake by removing its smallest and most affordable iPhone from its lineup", suggesting that the company was disregarding a significant number of customers who had been worried over the loss of the smaller design. This was affirmed by Computerworld, who claimed that "the harsh reality is that across some of Apple's biggest markets, wage growth has stagnated, and people are feeling the pinch", further stating that there will always exist consumers in the mid-tier smartphone markets.
In relation with the discontinuation of iPhone SE, Quartz mentioned on September 22, 2018, that women and other smartphone users with smaller hands had reported "pain from holding, scrolling, and swiping on phones, and a review of research on the ergonomics of handheld devices concludes that bigger products, like large phones and tablets, often result in overextension of the thumb and wrist", hinting to repetitive strain injury, and that oversized iPhones and smartphones in general can be physically unusable for some users. The technology website Gizmodo shared the same concern, hoping that "there will be a return to smaller phones", and expressed a desire "to hold one's phone in a single hand, and be able to use it fully."
On January 19, 2019, iPhone SE was back on sale as a clearance item for $249. However, by January 20, 2019 stock was sold out. On February 20, 2019 TechRadar announced that iPhone SE once again was on sale as a clearance item with a $100 price reduction. The price for the 32 GB version was $249, while the price for the 128 GB version was $299. The iPhones were unlocked, with AT&T, T-Mobile, or Verizon as optional SIM card carriers. It was available in all original colors, including Space Gray, Silver, Gold, and Rose Gold. On March 25, 2019 Gizmodo reported that iPhone SE was back in Apple's clearance shop, and added, that "it's likely the last of Apple's stock that the company has finally put on clearance."
On April 15, 2020 the second-generation iPhone SE was announced as the successor to both the original first-generation iPhone SE and iPhone 8/8 Plus. The second-generation iPhone SE was released on April 24, 2020. However, the 2020 iPhone SE has a larger 4.7 inch screen size, leaving the original iPhone SE as the last iPhone to have the smaller 4.0 inch screen size.
The exterior design of iPhone SE is nearly identical to that of iPhone 5 and 5S, with the exception of matte-chamfered edges and an inset stainless steel rear Apple logo. iPhone SE shares the same physical sizes and dimensions, so cases designed to fit the 5 and 5S will also fit an iPhone SE. iPhone SE was available in the colors Space Gray, Silver, Gold, and Rose Gold.
iPhone SE incorporates the Apple A9 system-on-chip (SoC) with an M9 motion coprocessor and supports near field communication for Apple Pay. It was originally released with 16 GB or 64 GB of internal storage. It features a 12 megapixel rear-facing camera with the ability to record 2160p (4K) video at 30 frames per second and slow motion with 1080p at 120fps and 720p at 240fps options. The camera lacks optical image stabilization.
Still photos with 6.5 megapixels (3412×1920) can be captured during video recording.
On March 21, 2017 Apple announced that it would double the storage for these models at the same launch prices. The upgraded models were released on March 24, 2017 with 32 GB or 128 GB of internal storage.
iPhone SE originally shipped with iOS 9.3, supporting iPhone 6- and 6S-exclusive features such as Apple Pay, Live Photos, Retina Flash, and always-on Siri voice activation. The SE is compatible with iOS 13. During the WWDC 2019 Keynote, Apple announced, that iPhone SE, 6S, and 6S Plus would support most of the main features of iOS 13. This includes the new dark mode (which aims to reduce eye strain), and Low Data Mode for restricting background network (both Wi-Fi and mobile network) usage. Along with iPhone 6S and 6S Plus, iPhone SE is the oldest iPhone to support iOS 14.
The iPhone SE (2016) received mostly positive reviews.
CNET was positive, considering iPhone SE to be a "great choice at the small end, with no compromises". CNET also lauded Apple for accomplishing the task of adapting iPhone 6S's hardware to three different form factors; the smaller 4.0-inch SE, the 4.7-inch 6S, and the 5.5-inch 6S Plus. In a later article, CNET summarized iPhone SE to be “the smaller, more pocketable member of the iPhone family. It was Apple's compact, budget option, and its 4-inch screen and tinier overall size were total throwback stuff. Consumers loved the battery life and that it still had a headphone jack.”
The Verge considered iPhone SE to be "a much-improved, well-designed, small phone with great battery life" and a "great upgrade" for existing owners of iPhone 4S or 5S models, noting the device's familiar form factor, high performance (going as far as considering the screen size itself to be the only hindrance to multitasking and certain apps), and improved battery life. Giving the device an 8.7 out of 10, Goode argued that "the iPhone SE is not a tiny little engine of innovation. It's today's tech in yesterday's phone body. As with anything, we should be wary of giving too much praise to something that's just doing its job."
TechCrunch admired iPhone SE's design and mentioned that the phone appealed "not just to the nostalgic and neophobic, but simply people who prefer a smaller phone. I don't have particularly large or small hands, but I preferred this highly pocketable, proven design to the new one for a number of reasons", describing the phone further as "the best object Apple ever designed, filled with the best tech it had ever developed. It was the best phone ever made."
GSMArena mentioned, that iPhone SE "struck the right balance between size, cost, and performance" and that it "helped Apple sell more phones than predicted in the summer of 2016, helping it beat analysts expectations and was strategic for Apple in price-sensitive markets such as India and China where Apple struggles to match its success from Western markets."
Tom's Guide acclaimed iPhone SE for being an affordable and compact smartphone with a headphone jack. Stating that “even worse than holding a big phone is carrying it around. When I'm done holding my iPhone SE — comfortably — I can slip it into the pocket of jeans, and almost forget that it's there. That's simply not possible with a big-screen device, which adds considerable bulk and bulge no matter how thin phone makers try to squeeze it.”, praising the possibility and practicality to “simultaneously charge my phone and listen to music”, and reported that “smartphone sales are stalling, Apple's included. Perhaps in an effort to find some way — any way — to convince people to buy a new phone, Apple might figure it needs to build a device that appeals to us, compact phone devotees.”
The Next Web described Apple’s iPhone SE as “the best looking phone it's ever made”, further mentioning that “the SE is essentially an iPhone 6S fitted into the compact, beautifully designed body of the iPhone 5 from 2012. It’s one of the only phones you could get with a bead-blasted aluminum body. I owned a 5S for years, and loved using it without a case because I couldn’t get enough of that unique satin finish and the classy chamfered edges. And after switching to Android some years ago, and having switched between dozens of phones over the past few years as a reviewer, I sorely miss the sort of attention to detail that these older iPhones showcased.”
Macworld called iPhone SE a "pocket-size powerhouse", and described its 4-inch screen as "easier to reach with your thumb while you’re holding the phone one-handed". The smaller size was described as "the biggest deal for me when using this iPhone. Suddenly I could drop my phone into any pocket again (pockets on women’s pants are small too), and comfortably reach the whole screen", further describing iPhone SE as "powerful, speedy, and a worthy addition to the low end of the lineup."
Timeline of iPhone modelsEdit
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| iPhone SE
iPhone SE (2nd)