Sunday, April 5, 2020

iPhone SE: 2020 Version Is A Welcome Upgrade But I'm Sticking With My Original One

It looks like it is pretty much confirmed that Apple is release an updated iPhone SE in the iPhone 8 form factor. Gone will be the iPhone 8 immediately if not by the end of the next main iPhone upgrade cycle later this fall.  Now, Apple should be commended for still giving the smaller iPhone form an upgrade, certainly, we can definitely kiss the older iPhone 5 form factor good bye.  The question for most iPhone SE holdouts is if the new 2020 version is enough of an upgrade despite being a bigger phone for them to give up their current devices.


For me, not so much.  I have been using the iPhone SE since it came out in 2016.  I have gone through different ones since then.  I'm currently on my third iPhone SE.  Each time, I changed it not because it broke or the fault of the device itself.  Rather, I "upgraded" each time because I wanted more storage.  I went from 32 GB to 64 GB and eventually to the 128 GB silver version that I am using on a daily basis.  And while the processor and camera seem dated by today's standard, the SE works well enough and the photos are not that bad even by today's standard when you compare the quality to the midrange iPhones.  It does not have 2X zoom or whatever the new features on the XR and iPhone 11 have like better night photos, the daily photos I take are good enough. 

You cannot have an article about the SE without mentioning the size.  This is the main reason why the iPhone 5, iPhone 5S, and iPhone SE form is so popular and why the current SE continues to have a dedicated fan base.  Want to by one now? You'll have to time it right on third party websites for a new or refurbished unit of the choice you want. My silver 128 GB iPhone SE took almost six months of stalking a website that bought and sold old phones before they had one that works with my network.

iPhone SE - 4.87 x 2.31 x 0.30 inch
iPhone 8/SE (2020) - 5.45 x 2.65 x 0.29 inch

As you can see, the numbers show that there is a difference in the sizes between two phone sizes. Imagine using it with one hand. If you have the XR, Pro, or even just the regular iPhone 8, I would wager a vast majority of you cannot use it with one hand.  That's fine. We adjust and will adapt just like I will have to eventually. 

I am not some zealot for the 4" form factor.  I just like that the SE is light and easy to use with one hand for quick peaks at weather updates and messages.  And though dated by today's standard, the iPhone SE from 2016 is great for 90% of my mobile computing needs - emails, messaging, keeping up with the day's tweets and news, and some light gaming.  I use it as my main audio media player - music, podcasts, and audiobooks.  And if I need more, I'll go to my iPad mini.  And when I need even more computing power, I go to the MacBook just as I have been doing while I am working at home during the coronavirus pandemic.

Any maybe it is the pandemic and having to stay at home for days speaking, but I am beginning to be much more appreciative of what I have.  And it was only four weeks ago when I was still out walking in a museum in West LA and walking the grounds of the Huntington Library. And all I had was the the photos and videos from my iPhone SE.

I'll upgrade eventually.  I don't know what I'll get when the time comes because it will depend on what Apple is offering at the time on the market.  For folks who will complain about Apple abandoning the 4" screen, let me say this.  I understand why Apple did it and why the vast majority of the market has also moved on.  The use of mobile devices has grown and changed since 2016.  Everything is bigger and faster and devices are more complicated because they can do so much more. 

The 4" form may not be enough for Apple to design an iPhone that can adequately work with the demands of today's needs.  Mobile warriors like myself are expecting our devices to do more than what we expected 4-5 years ago. 

But who knows what the future really holds.  Maybe someone at Apple will figure out how to bring back the 4" screen and it will release the iPhone V (Vintage) along side the SE, XR, and the Pro.  Okay, that'll never happen. Know this as a fact:  enjoy the Touch ID on the iPhone SE 2020 while you can.  That will be away someone day.  And the next SE may have a full screen using only Face ID as its main security apparatus.   

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