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Apple Released A $399 iPhone SE During A Pandemic

On the inside, it’s powered by the same chips and technology that runs the iPhone 11.

Posted on April 15, 2020, at 11:04 a.m. ET


On Wednesday, in the middle of a pandemic, Apple released a brand-new version of the iPhone SE.

The 2020 iPhone SE looks exactly like the iPhone 8 from 2017 — a 4.7-inch screen, a Home button with a fingerprint sensor, a glass back, and a single camera lens — but on the inside, it’s powered by the same chips and technology that runs last year’s iPhone 11.

“The first iPhone SE was a hit with many customers who loved its unique combination of small size, high-end performance, and affordable price,” said Phil Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of worldwide marketing, in a statement. “The new second-generation SE builds on that great idea and improves on it in every way — including our best-ever single-camera system for great photos and videos — while still being very affordable.”

How affordable? $399, which makes it $300 cheaper than the iPhone 11.

The lower price means you don’t get features like the front-camera system on newer iPhones that lets you unlock the phone with your face, and some pretty sweet camera features on the iPhone 11 like Night Mode, which lets you take pictures in total darkness.

But if you can live without those, the new iPhone SE sports a 12-megapixel camera that takes portraits, has lighting effects and depth control that come on the newer iPhones, and the ability to record videos in 4K resolution. You can also charge the new iPhone SE wirelessly, and if you buy a more powerful charger, you can charge it faster than the dinky little charger that comes in the box.

The iPhone SE comes in three colors — black, white, and red — and three storage sizes — 64, 128, and 256 GB — and you can preorder it on Friday from Apple’s website (the company’s retail stores outside China are indefinitely closed because of the pandemic). It will start shipping on April 24.

A BuzzFeed News investigation, in partnership with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, based on thousands of documents the government didn't want you to see.