Sunday, March 27, 2016

Apple's new 4-inch iPhone is not a big deal

Is going small really going big?

Earlier this week, Apple showed of a new iPhone and this should not to be mistaken for the iPhone 7, we will probably only see that towards the end of the year. This new iPhone announced during Apple's first launch of 2016 is the spiritual successor to the iPhone 5S. With just a measly 4-inch display, you should not belittle this small iPhone as it packs the same punch as an iPhone 6S. Apple managed to engineer their flagship A9 SoC into the new iPhone SE which provides this small phone the power to shoot 4K video and also enough horsepower to get blazingly high scores on AnTuTu.
What Apple experts say about the 12.9-inch iPad Pro — " The problem with the iPad is that you only need one iPad because you can get the same app experience on both the mini and the Air, the only difference is the screen size. But that might very well change with the iPad Pro, it is still indefinitely just a bigger iPad " Continue reading.
But is that what the industry needs, Apple seems to be convinced that there is a request for such a small device in today's world. Tim Cook is saying that up to 60% of people are asking (and begging) for a 4-inch iPhone and the iPhone SE is the answer. Just remember that Apple notoriously made small phones for a couple of years when the rest of the industry went over to bigger screens. For years, Apple's iPhone model is to basically downgrade the previous flagship in terms of pricing and provide the lineup with multiple price tiers. With the iPhone SE, Apple is making it the most affordable iPhone option that starts at just $399 for the 16GB model.

But the question is why would you want to buy the iPhone SE, 4-inches is real small. And no, the SE on iPhone SE does not stand for 'stupid edition'

Apple iPhone SE Key Specifications

  • 4-inch Retina Display
  • Apple A9 SoC
  • 2GB RAM
  • 16/64GB memory
  • 12MP f2.2 rear camera
  • 1.2MP front camera
  • 123.8 x 58.6 x 7.6mm
  • 113g
  • 1,642mAh battery
I still remember my inspiration for writing a previous article about how Apple is influencing the market with two screen sizes called the iPhone effect (I know that title sounds like what an Apple fanboy would say but in the perspective of how the industry is responding to Apple's actions). The move to release the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus in 2014 proved that the industry needed a bigger phone and the tagline that Apple used to market the iPhone 6 was "Bigger than bigger". It seems that this new 4-inch iPhone SE is more about lowering the price bracket for an iPhone rather than adding to the variability of screen sizes. Who knows, maybe companies like Samsung and LG might also come up with 4-inch phones in the future.
The iPhone effect, when two is better than one — "Apple being a big influence in the smartphone market, other smartphone builders also complied with Apple's strategy and came up with flagship smartphones that come in two sizes for a wider reach. Companies like Huawei, Oppo, Google, and even Microsoft has joined in to introduce smartphones in two sizes" Continue reading.
What Apple is (basically) doing with the iPhone SE is similar to Sony's previous strategy of a no compromise flagship lineup which includes three different versions and the only discerning thing about them is their screen sizes. While Sony did not go to the extreme to make a 4-inch Xperia phone, the Xperia Z3 compact and Xperia Z5 compact is actually a pretty good idea given that with Android, screen size has always been related to performance (the bigger the screen, the better the performance). Now that Sony is no longer focusing on this concept with their new Xperia X series, I guess it is up to Apple to continue this tradition and influence the rest of the market.

In addition to that, Apple is also boasting that the new iPhone SE comes with signature features form the iPhone 6S like support for Apple Pay through the embedded NFC receiver, improved network performance, Live photos (the caveat is that the display is not of a 3D Touch type) and the always on Siri.

Firstly, this re-branding thing is not new in the tech industry, both AMD and Nvidia have been doing such re-brands on their graphic cards over the years. All they do is basically give it a new name and just throw some extra features into and call it a brand new card. While the response towards that is not necessarily bad, it's not good either. Similar to GPU makers, this somehow shows that Apple might be running out of pure ideas. Come on Apple, at least give it a bigger screen and tweak the design a little or maybe reduce some of that screen bezel.

Simply adding the shade of Rose Gold isn't much of innovation but as Apple fanboys will argue, the iPhone 5's design is pretty pure and there is no need to change it. In terms of profit, Apple is probably making some good money on every iPhone SE as they have basically saved the cost for the design as the manufacturing process for the iPhone 5S design already exists and only requires a couple of new tweaks. That is how the price only starts at just $399 and don't even get me started about the 16GB model and the $100 cost to upgrade that to 64GB. Flash storage is so cheap these days and Apple basically wants extra profit with the 64GB model.

In terms of the lineup that Apple has right now, getting the iPhone SE opposed to the bigger iPhone 6 is actually a more logical choice because, you will get a better processing package overall and if you can learn to live without that extra 0.7-inches then you have earned yourself some extra money to upgrade to 64GB of storage and also dozens of paid apps. With this redesign of their lineup, the goal here is not to make iPhone SE waves here in the US because everyone in America already has a big iPhone and I doubt anyone with the iPhone 5S would like to upgrade to the same sized iPhone again. Instead, Apple is trying to increase sales of the iPhone outside of America.

An article published on TechCrunch talks about this more in-depth but basically the trend around Asia and India where Apple is hoping the iPhone SE to create a dent is that smartphones need to be cost effective. $399 might be extremely affordable for an iPhone but when you compare with the Xiaomi Mi 5 which is just a little over $300, you see where the problem comes in. Price is one thing but I think for most people the 4-inch screen might be a big compromise in today's standard.

Learn more about the iPhone SE here

Insider Talk

Right now, my goal to publish double the amount of articles for this year is seemingly falling apart as I have been dragging the articles. Actually have quite a number of articles in queue but lately my time management has not been the best. Will probably be doing the Surface Pro 4 review next week, but no promises on that but it is somewhat done in a sense. 

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