Apple’s Revamped and Resized iPhone SE

Apple’s new iPhone SE boasts impressive specs and — sadly but not surprisingly — a bigger screen.

Being a big fan of Apple’s ​“perfectly adequate” iPhone SE, I was pretty excited when Apple announced a new iPhone SE earlier this month. The 2nd generation iPhone SE, which began shipping last week, boasts some impressive specs. For starters, it uses Apple’s A13 Bionic chip, the same chip used in the iPhone 11. It uses the same ​“Retina HD” display as the iPhone 8 and its rear-facing 12 megapixel camera can shoot 4K video at 60 frames/​second. It’s even water resistant (for up to 30 minutes at a depth of 1 meter).

The new iPhone SE has received rave reviews for both its performance and value — its price starts at $399 for the 64 GB model — and I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t sorely tempted to upgrade from my current iPhone SE. However, there’s one aspect of the new iPhone SE that’s a bit, well, disappointing: its display size has been increased from 4″ to 4.7 (the same size as the iPhone 8).

Which I suppose was inevitable. Bigger is always perceived as better in the smartphone world, and not just as a marketing bullet point: bigger sizes let phone manufacturers cram in newer and more improved features (e.g., more powerful cameras). The 4.7″ display still means that the new iPhone SE is the smallest of Apple’s current iPhone crop. However, I think of how well my trusty 4″ iPhone SE fits in my hand or pocket, and I realize — with some sadness — that the time of the truly small iPhone has almost certainly passed.

Now I realize nobody’s holding a gun to my head and forcing me to upgrade to a new iPhone SE, but let’s face it: upgrading does eventually become necessary if only because of software updates and improvements. I’m sure that when I do eventually upgrade, I’ll get used to the new phone’s size in relatively short order. But I think a part of me will continue to miss my lil ol’ 4″ iPhone SE, if only because it was proof that smaller phones didn’t necessarily represent compromises of utility and function.

That, and I’m going to miss having a real, honest-to-goodness headphone jack.