Apple claims new iPhone SE is most powerful 4-inch phone ever

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The device was unveiled by CEO Tim Cook alongside a new iPad Pro and Apple Watch updates

Apple CEO Tim Cook unveiled the new iPhone SE, a smaller iPad Pro and Apple Watch updates at a launch event at Cupertino Town Hall in California today (March 21).

The 4-inch iPhone SE was the headline product of the event. Apple claims the aluminium smartphone is the most powerful 4-inch phone ever made. It features a 64 bit A9 chip offering the same processing power as the iPhone 6S.

It also has a 12MP camera with 4K video capability. Live photos can also be captured. This is a feature that transforms a succession of photographs into a slideshow with audio. Front-facing flash is an added feature.

Another addition is Touch ID. This is a security measure that requires an authorised fingerprint to unlock the phone. An NFC chip enables Apple Pay, the iPhone SE’s contactless payment system.

Colours are space grey, gold, silver and rose gold. Pricing for the 16GB model starts at £359. The 64GB model costs £439. UK preorders open March 24, with general availability starting March 31. EE and Vodafone have both confirmed they will be stocking the new device.

Apple claims it sold over 30 million 4-inch iPhones last year. According to the manufacturer, the popularity is due to customers desiring a smaller sized device.

iPad Pro

Audiences at the event also caught glimpses of a smaller 9.7-inch iPad Pro. The device’s screen has the lowest reflectivity of any tablet. Apple also claimed it is 25 per cent brighter than the iPad Air 2. A 12MP rear and 5MP front HD camera feature on the tablet.

The 32GB model costs £499, whilst the 128GB will be £619. A bigger 256GB model will be priced at £739. Preorders open March 24, with general availability starting March 31. Colours include silver, gold, space grey and rose gold.

A ‘True Tone Light’ feature is included, which Apple claims is a new breakthrough. The screen adjusts itself to the light of the surrounding area and changes its colour to best match the environment. Apple says the screen becomes more natural and easier on the user’s eyes as a result.

Installed is an A9X processor chip, which Apple says helps the new iPad pack more power than an Xbox 360. Siri and the Apple Pencil are supported, whilst optional accessories include a detachable keyboard.

iOS 9.3

An iOS 9.3 update was also announced. New features on the operating system includes Night Shift. This uses the iPhone’s internal clock to reduce blue light, which may otherwise reduce sleep quality, when the user is going bed.

The Notes app has added fingerprint security, whilst the app now suggests top and trending stories.

Apple Watch

Pricing of the Apple Watch is now reduced to to £259. New colours for the sport and leather bands, alongside a new woven nylon band, were shown. The new nylon band is available in light blue, pink and yellow, whilst the Milanese Loop band now comes in a black option.

Cook claimed the Apple Watch has become the top selling smart watch in the world since launch.

Apple TV

Apple TV now has support for Siri to help find films more easily. Users can speak to Siri to locate specific films and apps. The new update can be downloaded today.

Reaction

The new devices have gained positive reaction from the industry. uSwitch telecoms expert Ernest Doku claims the iPhone’s pricing will make it popular. He said: “Taking the iconic design of the 5s and supercharging it with the innards of the 6s, its best iPhone yet, and for a vastly lower price, should strike fear in the hearts of brands already competing in the mid range mobile market.

“Apple has priced the SE cleverly at the sweet spot for instant sales, meaning there is no reason why this four-inch handset shouldn’t fly off the shelves from the word go.”

Protect Your Bubble global director Stephen Ebbett had a similar response, arguing the SE will be received more favourably than the 5c. He said: “Those who weren’t bowled over by the 5c, Apple’s previous lower-cost iPhone, should be willing to give the SE more serious consideration. It certainly looks more grown up, with a metal body, and decidedly less bold colour options than the 5c.

“The lack of 3D Touch isn’t going to be a dealbreaker – it’s so new most of us won’t know what we’re missing anyway.”

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