Apple gets back to basics with budget £419 iPhone SE

In a drastic move to drive sales as we approach a global recession, Apple has re-launched its cut-price iPhone SE. Less than half the price of Apple’s leading flagship devices, the new model will be available to pre-order from this Friday, April 17.

Featuring a 4.7-inch display, it’s similar in looks to Apple’s iPhone 8 model, and incorporates popular features such as a fingerprint scanner and home button.

The iPhone SE a single lens camera, as opposed to the triple lens design of the iPhone 11 Pro and iPhone 11 Pro Max. Available in 64GB, 128GB and 256GB models, it does, however, incorporate Retina HD definition

Available in black, red and white, the phone comes with a faster A13 chip than its iPhone SE predecessor which was discontinued in 2018 as Apple moved to more powerful devices such as the iPhone X.

Apple hopes the new budget model will boost sales until the launch of new high-end models, complete with 5G, later this year. However, it faces tough competition, in particular from some very cheap, but very sophisticated, Chinese brands. 

Analysts have warned that smartphone sales could decline sharply in 2020 as a result of the Coronavirus as the global economy veers towards a recession. 

What the experts say

Ben Wood, chief of research, CCS Insight

“The new iPhone SE has the potential to drive the next wave of adoption of Apple’s popular smartphone brand. Its aggressive pricing will challenge not only sales of new Android smartphones, but is also likely to affect companies who refurbish and resell second-hand iPhones. 

“When it was planning this product, Apple couldn’t have known it would land in a market in complete turmoil as a result of the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic. Although the new iPhone SE was undoubtedly designed to take the fight to Android rivals, it now also offers a more affordable iPhone at a time when many consumers will find it hard to justify spending $1,000 or more on one of Apple’s flagship devices.

“I think consumers will see this new version of the iPhone SE as more affordable than its predecessor. In 2016 there was a $400 difference between the iPhone SE and a 64GB iPhone 6s Plus. In 2020, the new iPhone SE costs $700 less than a 64GB iPhone 11 Pro Max.”

Ru Bhikha, mobiles expert at 

“The original iPhone SE won an army of fans when it landed four years ago, appealing to smartphone users who wanted a cheaper, more compact Apple device. 

“Budgets couldn’t be tighter at the moment, so the arrival of the new SE lands at an opportune time, especially priced at an attractive £419. 

“The SE is Frankenstein’s monster in a ball dress, a glamorous package with the body of an iPhone 8 and the brain of a more modern device. 

“With a pocket-friendly 4.7-inch screen, A13 Bionic chip, 3GB of RAM and up to 256GB of storage, this phone is powerful enough for daily life, but it won’t give you the bells and whistles of top-end devices.

“Smartphone fans used to gadgets with four or five cameras might not like the thought of coping with only one 12MP lens, but the set-up should be more than enough for the casual user.

“The return of the traditional Touch ID on the Home button could prove popular for those not won over by Face recognition and its well-documented quirks.” 

Chris Price