A "new" iPhone is to be released in New Zealand last Thursday that crams the powerful components of the iPhone 6s into a handset the size of the 5s.
The Apple iPhone SE, which premsuably stands for special edition, has a 4-inch display in an updated a bead-blasted aluminium handset with a gold, rose gold, silver or space grey satin-like finish with matte-chamfered edges. The new model has a colour-matched stainless steel Apple logo.
Inside is a 64-bit A9 microchip as powerful as those that power desktop computers. The same power microchips also appear in the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus. The processor offers iPhone SE users a two times faster Central Processing Unit and three times faster Graphic Processing Unit performance compared to the iPhone 5s, which help saves on battery power.
The iPhone SE also boasts a 12-megapixel iSight camera featuring Focus Pixel technology for fast focusing, an Apple-designed image signal processor, advanced noise reduction, third-generation local tone mapping and better face detection. Apple said this all resulted in sharper, more detailed photos like the ones shot on its iPhone 6s.
With Live Photos on the iPhone SE users can also see the moments immediately before and after a shot was taken alongside the shot. Additional camera advancements include the ability to shoot high definition (HD) video with support for 4K at a resolution of 3840 x 2160. After capturing 4K video, it can be edited on a Mac, PC or iPad, and with the latest version of iMovie on iPhone.
In many ways the new model is a backward step for Apple, although the company is full of hyperbole over the iPhone SE. It wouldn't be Apple if it wasn't.
"iPhone SE is an exciting new idea," said Apple senior vice president of worldwide marketing Philip Schiller in a press release.
"We started with a beloved, iconic design and reinvented it from the inside out. The result is the most beautiful and powerful phone with a 4-inch display in the world."
"iPhone SE is packed with a stunning 4-inch Retina display, advanced 64-bit A9 chip with M9 motion co-processor, longer battery life, 12-megapixel iSight camera with True Tone flash, Live Photos, 4K video, faster LTE and Wi-Fi, and Touch ID. Everyone who wants a smaller phone is going to love iPhone SE."
It's a case of the market telling Apple what it wants, rather than the other way around.
Apple said its M9 next-generation motion coprocessor was integrated into the A9 CPU to allow more features to run all the time at lower power, including the Siri personal assistant built into the iOS 9 mobile operating system along with the built-in apps like Messages, FaceTime, Photos, Music and Maps. A smart, new, feature is Night Shift. It uses the iPhone SE clock and geolocation to automatically adjust the colours in the display to the warmer end of the spectrum after dark and may even help you get a better night's sleep.
And iPhone SE users could also browse, download and stream content even faster over a wi-fi internet connection up to three times faster thanks to the new hardware.
Apple started taking orders in New Zealand on March 24 for the iPhone SE, with availability beginning March 31 and prices starting at the bargain basement price of $749 for the 16GB version A 64GB version is also available.
Apple also announced the a new 9.7-inch iPad Pro.