iPhone SE Hardware & Software Features


Introduced: March 21, 2016

Released: March 31, 2016

Discontinued: n/a, still being sold

Historically, Apple has released its new iPhone models once a year, often in the fall. That's changing with the release of the iPhone SE. But the release schedule isn't the only big change. After two generations of larger phones—the 6 and 6S series have screens that are 4.7 inches or bigger—the SE brings a 4-inch screen back to the line up of new iPhone models.

It can be helpful to think of the iPhone SE as being an iPhone 6 in the body of a 5S. This isn't completely accurate, as we'll see, but it puts you in the right mindset.

Why Apple Is Releasing the iPhone SE

The release of a new 4-inch iPhone in 2016 comes as a surprise after two years of larger phones and the gradual phasing out of older, 4-inch models.
Apple's introduction of the SE seems to stem from two major drivers:
  1. Emerging Markets—Apple sees huge opportunities to gain new customers in populous emerging markets like India and China, but its larger, more expensive phones have limited audiences there. By offering a powerful, smaller, more affordable phone, it hopes to capture more customers in those regions.
  2. Slow 6/6S Upgrades—In Apple's most recently quarterly earnings conference call, CEO Tim Cook revealed that 60% of iPhone owners haven't yet upgraded to the iPhone 6 series or 6S series. It is assumed that some of this reluctance is driven by people preferring a 4-inch screen. Apple hopes that the SE will prompt these users to upgrade.

iPhone SE Hardware Features

Key hardware features of the iPhone SE include:
  • Apple A9 64-bit processor
  • M9 motion co-processor
  • NFC (near-field communication) and Apple Pay support
  • Touch ID fingerprint scanner
  • Faster 4G LTE and Wi-Fi connectivity, including 802.11ac compatibility


  • 4 inches
  • 113x6 x 640 pixels, at 326 pixels per inch, same as the iPhone 5S
  • Not a 3D Touch screen


Back Camera
  • Photos: 12 megapixel, panoramic photos up to 63 megapixels
  • Video: 4K video at 30 frames/per second (fps); 1080p HD at 30 or 60 fps; Slo-mo at 120 fps (1080p) or 240 fps (720p)
User-Facing Camera
  • Photos: 1.2 megapixel
  • Video: 720p HD recording
  • Use phone screen as camera flash

Battery Life

  • Talk: up to 14 hours 3G calling
  • Internet: up to 13 hours on LTE and Wi-Fi
  • Video: up to 13 hours
  • Audio: up to 50 hours
  • Standby: up to 10 days


Rose Gold
Space Gray

Size and Weight 

4.87 inches tall x 2.31 inches wide x 0.30 inches thick
3.99 ounces 

iPhone SE Software Features

The iPhone SE supports all of the common software features available on all current iPhones, such as FaceTime, iMessage, Wi-Fi calling, etc., and adds:
  • Always-on "Hey Siri" support
  • Live Photo support

Capacity and Price

16GB—US$399, $17/month with no contract, or free with a two-year phone company contract


Customers will be able to pre-order the iPhone SE on March 24, 2016, with release of the phone coming on March 31. On that date, the phone will be available in Australia, Canada, China, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Japan, New Zealand, Puerto Rico, Singapore, United Kingdom, US Virgin Islands and the US.
The iPhone SE will be available in 110 countries by the end of May 2016, according to Apple.

Previous Models
As with previous releases of new models, the lowest-end iPhone still being sold is discontinued. In this case, that's the 5S. With the discontinuation of the 5S, the iPhone line up is now the SE, 6, and 6S.

In the fall, when the iPhone 7 series is released, rumors suggest that the 6 series will be discontinued, leaving the then-current line up as the 7 series, 6S series, and SE.

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Tech Magazine: iPhone SE Hardware & Software Features
iPhone SE Hardware & Software Features
Tech Magazine
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