Don’t get up; it’s just the iPhone SE4/6/2016
Usually around early spring and early fall, technophiles start brimming with excitement. If the seasons are about to change, you can safely bet your house that the big manufacturers in technology are about to unveil the next iteration of their flagship smartphones. Firms roll out the red carpet for fanboys, eager tech reporters and even competitors who they want to impress with the latest innovation in compact computer wizardry. But as we learned last month with Apple’s latest tech launch extravaganza, its latest version of the iPhone is nothing to get excited about.
The only innovations to iPhone SE are its name and size. All of the features within the new phone already exist in last year’s iPhone 6s, except now they’re shrunken down to a more comfortable size for your hand. If you loved the fast load time of the A9 processor, the moving pictures of the 6s camera and taking 4K video but found the 6s tablet-size hand numbing, the iPhone SE is for you.
But if Apple store traffic has proved anything, the SE is not for you. Whereas every other iPhone release has famously drawn hordes of consumers to camp outside stores for days to pick up the new phone, the SE is getting a lukewarm reception. Tech nerds who waited forever for Apple to release a jumbo phone like the 6s Plus with a massive 5.50-inch screen and day-long battery life are in no rush for a slower phone with an inch-and-a-half-smaller screen.
To be fair, the SE is not meant for iPhone users who buy the latest and greatest every year; it’s meant for your mom who embarrassingly waits nearly a decade to upgrade her technology. Apple’s hoping a smaller phone that zips like its big brothers and sisters will entice the tech satiated to reconsider their outdated devices. Problem is, the mobile-using moms of the world don’t upgrade for better tech — they upgrade because their old device breaks or gets lost. The latest and greatest phone means nothing to users who held onto flip phones well into the 2010s.
Of course, Apple knows this, which is why the bombastic release of the SE should be a bit distressing to iPhone mega-users. For 10 years, Apple has ridden advances in its singular mobile product to never-before-seen riches. Now, after annually announcing at least one new feature worthy of dumping your old device for something shiny and new, the best the company has for us is “Good things (you already have) come in small packages”?
There are three reasons Apple would stoop so low. First, ditching the numbering system (iPhone 2, 3, 4, etc.) for the SE hints to a major iPhone redo coming soon, and Apple wanted to save the best for the Christmas shopping season. Second, Apple wasn’t able to cram its latest innovation into the small physical space an iPhone offers and needs more time to figure it out. Or third, Apple’s iPhone team is treading water searching for anything that resembles an innovation and held its classic launch party simply to save face.
Not owning an iPhone, but a proud MacBook user, I’m willing to bet the answer is somewhere between needing more time and tapped for good ideas. So while the market’s iPhone worship may temporarily be floundering, don’t be surprised the kings of Cupertino announce something in September worthy of camping out for. CV
Patrick Boberg is a central Iowa creative media specialist. Follow him on Twitter @PatBoBomb.