Six Colors
Six Colors

by Jason Snell & Dan Moren

This site is primarily supported by members

Subscribe today to get access to a weekly podcast, community, newsletter, and more.

By Dan Moren

iPhone SE gets redesigned with an A13 Bionic, adds Portrait Mode

iPhone SE

The much rumored iPhone SE successor is rumor no longer. Apple took the wraps off the new low-cost smartphone on Wednesday, touting its A13 Bionic chip—the same that’s found in the top-of-the-line iPhone 11 series.

The iPhone SE features a 4.7-inch Retina HD display that’ll be familiar to users of the iPhone 8 and 7 series, along with Touch ID and a single camera: a 12-megapixel f/1.8 aperture wide lens, which are on the face of it, the same specs as those on both the iPhone 8 and iPhone 11 series.

However, that single-camera system does boast new features, including both Portrait Mode and Portrait Lighting effects. Reading between the lines of Apple’s release, it suggests that it relies even more on the computational photography features, suggesting the A13 chip is doing a lot of heavy lifting here.

The iPhone SE also has extended dynamic range for video up to 30 fps, a feature not offered by the iPhone 8 and earlier (though still less than the iPhone 11 series, which can handle that range for up to 60 fps), and offers stereo recording for video.

Unlike the iPhone 7 and 8, the SE discards the 3D Touch feature for the newer Haptic touch found on the iPhone 11 series, further reinforcing that 3D Touch is just about extinct. The SE also offers Dual SIM support via nano-SIM and eSIM, which was not available on the iPhone 8.

Among the features missing from the iPhone SE, however, is the U1 Ultrawideband chip in the iPhone 11 series, which also wasn’t built in to the recently updated iPad Pro models.

The SE is available in three capacities—64GB, 128GB, and 256GB—as well as three colors: white, black, and (Product)Red. It starts at $399 for 64GB, then goes up to $449 for a 128GB and $549 for a 256GB model. Pre-orders are available starting Friday, April 17, at 5am Pacific/8am Eastern.

Additionally, the Magic Keyboard for the iPad Pro, first announced last month, is now officially on sale, with deliveries beginning next week, earlier than the May date originally listed.

Update 4/15: An earlier version of this article suggested that the SE is the first one-camera iPhone to do Portrait Mode and Portrait Lighting; the XR previously allowed that feature with a single camera.

[If you appreciate articles like this one, support us by becoming a Six Colors subscriber. Subscribers get access to an exclusive newsletter, podcast, and community.]

[Dan Moren is a tech writer, novelist, and podcaster. You can email him at dan@sixcolors.com or find him on Twitter at @dmoren.]