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For Those of You with the Old iPhone SE, Your Time Has (Sort of) Arrived

by Keith Gatling | 11 months ago

OK. I can see that a number of you are thinking, Big deal. Another new iPhone. Why should I care?

And if you're thinking that, then you may not be my intended audience.

So who is my intended audience? All those people I've talked to in the last few months about their aging iPhone 4s and 5s, and couldn't be updated anymore. All those people with iPhones that criminally only had 16gb of ram, and couldn't have anything else downloaded to them. And all those people who knew they needed a new iPhone, but didn't want to spend $599 on a new iPhone XR. The iPhone SE is the new "budget model" iPhone, for people who don't need all the bells and whistles of the higher priced models.

If you're one of these people, then this is the phone I've been telling you to wait for. And it's here...sorta.

So, when I say that it's the budget model, what exactly do I mean?

Well...it's not so inexpensive that it'll only set you back $150. I'm sorry. That sure would be nice. But a little perspective is needed here, which I'll get to later.

The base model New iPhone SE starts at $399. OK, so it's not exactly pocket change, but it's a lot less than $599. And what do you get for your $399? Well, for starters, you get a whopping 64gb of ram; and that's a lot more than many of you were limping around with. It's got a great new fancy-schmancy camera with all kinds of amazing features. And...it's water resistant for up to a half-hour in three feet of fresh water (but please don't try this).

Two downsides. The first is that the old standard audio (headphone) jack is gone, and they expect you to use special earbuds or headphones that connect through the Lightning port. This can easily be gotten around by the purchase of a 9-dollar "adapter that gives you back your old headphone jack. Of course, this means you have to carry it around with you all the time, but if you leave it attached to your headphones, it shouldn't be a problem. The second is that if you've been using an iPhone 4, 5, or even 1st generation SE all these years, this new one is a different size and shape. This means that your old cases won't fit anymore. I know that when I get mine, I'll also have to get a new belt holster.

So let's talk about memory now. I said that the base model comes with 64gb of ram for $399. But having said that, you may not want to be quite so "budget minded." Keep in mind that you can't add memory to an iPhone like you can to Android models (and there are certain advantages to that that I won't go into here), so you need to consider how much memory you might need in the future. And if you decide that you like the new fancy-schmancy camera, you might end up needing a lot of it. It's cheaper to spend another $50 for double the memory, and bring it up to 128gb now, than to run out of memory in a year and have to consider spending money on a whole new phone. Just remember, once upon a time, you thought that 16gb would be all you ever needed. Me...I'll probably spend the extra $150 to quadruple the memory, and bring it up to 256gb. But then again, I plan to ask people for Apple Store gift cards for my birthday and Christmas, so they'll be paying for it.

So now let's talk about perspective. $399 (plus tax) sounds like a fair chunk of change...especially when you add in AppleCare (which I highly recommend). But I remember when I was buying my current 1st Generation SE two and half years ago, complaining about the $500 price. And then I thought back to 2001, when I bought my first iPod. Remember them? I paid $500 in 2001 money for a device that only played music...and only held 1000 songs. That $500 in 2001 is equivalent to $741 in 2017 dollars for a device that only played music. I was planning on spending $500 for something that plays music, takes pictures, plays and records videos, gets you on the internet, lets you do video chats with friends and family members, and holds up to 6000 songs or photos.

I told myself to shut up and buy the phone, and it was a bargain compared to what I'd paid 16 years earlier.

Finally...what does "sorta" mean, when I say that it's here...sorta? It means that it's not here yet, but you can pre-order it online from Apple, and have it delivered to you when it comes out in May.

Oh yes...one more "finally"...what about setting it up, and getting stuff from your old phone to your new one? Well...in these socially distant days, that may be a slight problem for those of you who aren't quite so technically inclined, but I'm sure that Apple will find a way to help you out.