Apple has confirmed its new 4in iPhone as the iPhone SE (Special Edition), which became available to buy from £359 on 31 March. More iPhone 6s than iPhone 5s, this mini iPhone has the power Apple A9 processor and includes a 12Mp iSight camera. Here's everything you need to know about the iPhone SE UK where to buy, price and specifications. Plus: Apple's iPhone SE launch as it happened. Also see: iPad Pro 9.7in UK where to buy, price and specifications.
iPhone SE UK release date: When is the iPhone SE coming out?
The iPhone SE is available to buy direct from Apple now. However, it's proved so popular that in many stores it has sold out, and shipping estimates have gone to the end of April.
At first it will be available in Australia, Canada, China, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Japan, New Zealand, Puerto Rico, Singapore, the UK and the US, but it will be available in 110 countries by the end of May.
Apple has confirmed that it won't be opening its stores early in the UK for the iPhone SE release, unlike past launches that saw special opening hours.
iPhone SE price: How much does the iPhone SE cost?
The 16GB iPhone SE SIM-free costs £359 in the UK and $399 in the US, and the 64GB iPhone SE will cost £429 in the UK and $499 in the US. It is available in space grey, silver, gold and rose gold.
That's cheap for an iPhone, admittedly, but still pretty pricey when you consider that an iPhone SE costs only $160 to make.
Best places to buy iPhone SE in the UK: Where to buy
You can buy the new iPhone SE direct from Apple now. It’s available in Silver, Gold, Space Grey and Rose Gold. The 16GB option is £359 while the larger 64GB option is £439. If you buy direct from Apple, the phone will come unlocked so you can use it on any UK network.
EE says all handsets bought from EE direct channels will support EE’s WiFi Calling service and 4G Calling (VoLTE), and you can order it here.
Vodafone says customers who opt for the iPhone SE on Vodafone’s ultrafast 4G network can also enjoy Vodafone’s Data Test Drive for the first two months of their contract, meaning they can get to grips with their new iPhone SE without any limitations on their UK data usage. Furthermore, Vodafone’s Wi-Fi Calling service will be available on the iPhone SE, making it possible to stay connected anywhere there is Wi-Fi – from a basement flat to the London Underground. Order here.
O2 is offering the iPhone SE on multiple contract plans here.
Three is offering the iPhone SE on several pay monthly plans, including a massive 30GB per month. View all the plans here. It also points out that those who buy the iPhone SE from them will benefit from its Feel At Home policy (no roaming charges in selected countries), 4G at no extra cost, and a six-month free Deezer subscription.
According to Apple, you'll be able to buy official accessories for the iPhone SE including leather cases in black and midnight blue (£29 inc VAT), and Lightning Docks in colour-matched metallic finishes for £39 inc VAT, both from Apple’s retail stores and Apple.com/uk.
New Apple iPhone: podcast discussion
iPhone SE new features and specification: What's new in the iPhone SE?
The iPhone SE looks very much like an iPhone 5s with the familia 4in Retina (326ppi) display, but with a new rose gold option, matt chamfered edges and a stainless steel Apple logo. On the inside, though, it's very much a smaller iPhone 6s and, according to Apple, it's the most powerful 4in phone ever.
With the same 64-bit Apple A9 processor and M9 motion co-processor as the iPhone 6s, the iPhone SE is twice as fast as the iPhone 5s on raw performance, and three times as fast for graphics.
And that's not all that's fast. With the addition of 802.11ac Wi-Fi the iPhone SE can support download speeds up to 433Mbps. It also supports faster 150Mbps LTE with more bands, plus Wi-Fi calling.
There have also been some improvements to battery life, with the iPhone SE beating the iPhone 5s' runtime for audio (50 hours vs 40 hours), video (13 hours vs 10 hours), Wi-Fi- and LTE browsing (13 hours vs 10 hours), and 3G talk time (14 hours vs 10 hours).
With a new NFC chip inside and the Touch ID fingerprint scanner the iPhone SE also supports Apple Pay for making mobile payments. Read more about how you can take advantage of this in our Apple Pay guide.
In common with its bigger brother, the SE features a 12Mp iSight camera with Focus Pixels and a True Tone flash. There's a new image signal processor and support for 4K video recording and panoramic images up to 63Mp, plus Apple's Live Photo feature.
The photo below will give you some idea of what the iPhone SE's camera is capable of.
At the front the iPhone SE has a Facetime HD camera with a new Retina Flash, that lights up the screen three times brighter for taking the ultimate selfie.
The iPhone SE runs the new iOS 9.3 operating system.
iPhone SE performance benchmarks: How fast is the iPhone SE?
We should make it clear that we have not yet benchmarked the iPhone SE. However, it has the same hardware as the iPhone 6s, and according to Apple should perform the same (therefore we assume the iPhone SE must have 2GB of RAM like the 6s, although Apple has not confirmed this). Below are our benchmark results from our iPhone 6s review.
The iPhone 6s scored 2511 in single-core mode and 4404 in multi-core mode in Geekbench, putting it just behind the processing power of the Galaxy S6, which scored 4438 points. It beat the HTC One M9 by a whopping 626 points, scoring 3778 points, which would normally be an acceptable score.
However, it’s in the graphics department that the iPhone 6s really flexes its muscles. We ran two GFXBench tests – T-Rex and Manhattan, the same tests that our colleagues use when testing Android devices, and compared the results. Samsung’s Galaxy S6 managed a respectable 30fps in T-Rex and 14fps in Manhattan, while the iPhone 6s scored a whopping 59fps in T-Rex and 56fps in Manhattan.
iPhone SE full specifications: What’s inside the iPhone SE?
Colours: Silver, Gold, Space Grey, Rose Gold
Display: 4in Retina (1136x640, 326ppi) LED-backlit widescreen Multi-Touch display, 800:1 contrast ratio, 500cd/m2 brightness, fingerprint-resistant oleophobic coating
Processor & graphics: 64-bit Apple A9 processor with M9 motion co-processor
Operating system: iOS 9.3
Primary camera: 12Mp iSight camera with five-element lens, sapphire crystal lens cover, f/2.2 aperture, Focus Pixels, True Tone flash, Live Photo, Panorama up to 63Mp, Auto HDR for photos, 4K video recording at 30fps, slow-mo and time-lapse recording
Selfie camera: 1.2Mp Facetime HD camera with f/2.4 aperture, Retina Flash, 720p video recording
Connectivity: 802.11ac Wi-Fi (up to 433Mbps), 4G LTE (19 bands, up to 150Mbps), Bluetooth 4.2, A-GPS and GLONASS, NFC (for Apple Pay)
Battery life: Up to 14 hours 3G talk time, 13 hours 4G/Wi-Fi internet, 13 hours video, 50 hours audio, 10 days standby
Sensors: TouchID fingerprint scanner, three-axis gyro, accelerometer, proximity sensor, ambient light sensor
iPhone SE launch as it happened
iPhone SE rumours: See which rumours came true
The iPhone SE is expected to be a cross between the iPhone 6 and 6s in specification, but come in a smaller iPhone 5s case with a 4in screen. In fact, according to 9to5Mac it will be identical to the 5s with matt edges. GSM Arena says it will feature some features of the iPhone 6s, such as a 12Mp camera with 4K video recording, but not its 3D Touch tech.
One way to work out how the phone might look ahead of launch is to look at cases made for it. Mobile Fun has already started receiving iPhone SE cases and recorded the below video comparing the X-Doria Defense 360 and Bump Gear cases to an iPhone 5s.
PC Advisor was in mid-March contacted by Nick, founder of Beeep, as he unveiled a hands-on with an iPhone SE the company had come across in the 'wild' at Huaqiangbei Shenzhen, China. The video below shows the iPhone SE as a rounded iPhone-type phone, which is what we expect to see launched by Apple. As stated in the video, the iPhone wouldn't power on, so we suspect it to be a copy or pre-production model of the iPhone SE. Furthermore, the Rose Gold version seemed to be a little different than an authentic Apple iPhone 6s.
iPhone SE video: Spotted in China
On 10 March 2016, there have been sources that have confirmed UK carriers (such as Vodafone) are running down of iPhone 5s stocks, ahead of the 4in iPhone SE launch.
On 9 March 2016, accessory company Spigen has released some new cases for the 4in iPhone. Images were shared with MacRumors, which suggest an iPhone 6 looking phone.
OnLeaks have also shared some photos of iPhone SE cases which also indicate that the new 4in iPhone will have rounded edges.
On 29 February 2016, a few image renders were created by Martin Hajek, who combined the various different rumoured iPhone SE designs and created interesting 3D renders (see below).
If you're interested in more image renders, they can be also found here (see image below).
On 24 February 2016 images leaked from OnLeaks, suggest that prototypes of the new 4in iPhone that were tested by Apple.
According to the image above, we Apple seem to be testing iPhones which look very similar to the iPhone 5s' design and yet also incorporates certain iPhone 6/6s design elements.
The most interesting part of these leaked images is the fact that both versions come with a 3.5mm headphone jack and furthermore, the speaker design seems to have shifted from an uneven 5s design, to a more symmetric speaker design. Might we finally see dual downward-firing stereo speakers from Apple? This would be a great addition for those looking to improve the overall sound quality and loudness of the iPhone's sound output.
An image render from OnLeaks have leaked, suggesting the two prototypes pictured are extremely similar to the iPhone 5s' design and yet has certain elements of the iPhone 6 line's design. This suggests Apple has utilised their old iPhone design and thrown in hardware found in the 6/6s line.
From the leaked renders, the images seem to suggest that the 3.5mm jack is still present and that Apple was thinking of two separate speaker designs, whereby the newest image seems to suggest a smaller, more symmetric speaker design. Might we see dual downward-firing speakers from Apple? Time will tell.
For the sake of comparison, we have left the older rumours below.
Previously, there was an image floating around the internet (see below), which suggested a leaked photo of the iPhone SE. We cannot verify if this is the actual phone itself and it has now been suggested that the iamge is fake.
As with any rumour, take it with a pinch of salt, as earlier in 2016 a video of the iPhone SE was supposedly leaked and genuine, but then later turned out to be fake.
On 27 January 2016, we were informed by Mobile Fun of their Ringke Fusion case in Smoke Black and Crystal View that's been listed on their site for £14.99. The interesting part to note here is not the availability of the cases, but rather the new 4in iPhone being named on Mobile Fun as the iPhone 6c and not the presumed iPhone SE. So far, no pictures are provided of the cases, so we cannot get an inkling on the look of the iPhone.
Finally, according to a Japanese financial newspaper Nikkei (via AppleInsider), Apple started its production for the 4in phone over a year ago. Little is known if Apple was only making prototypes or the final product.