Apple on Wednesday unveiled its latest budget smartphone, even as the coronavirus pandemic slams consumer spending worldwide.
The new iPhone SE, which starts at $399 and keeps the same name as its 2016 predecessor, wasn’t announced with a splashy staged event, but instead in a press release, a first for Apple’s most famous product.
The announcement arrives several weeks later than it was originally anticipated, after the coronavirus pandemic forced Apple to scrap its traditional late-March keynote in Northern California.
The virus choked the tech giant’s Chinese production supply chain in February, but main supplier Foxconn said at the beginning of last month that its factories would return to full strength by the end of March.
The new phone debuts in a world where most customers will need to order it online, as all of Apple’s retail stores outside of China are closed indefinitely.
The iPhone SE contains the same A13 processor found in the flagship iPhone 11 and iPhone 11 Pro phones, but stuffs it into the cheaper-to-make design of the iPhone 8. The new phone will retail for $399 for the 64GB model, and is available with 128GB and 256GB of storage for $449 and $549, respectively.
The phone will come in black, white and red color variants.The iPhone 8, which until Wednesday was on sale for $449, is being discontinued.
The 12-megapixel camera on the new iPhone SE will be able to take “Portrait” mode photos — a feature that has become very popular with iPhone users — and Apple brags that it “features the best single-camera system ever in an iPhone.”
The new iPhone SE will be available for preorder on April 17, and will be available to purchase on April 24.
Apple recently dropped its two-per-customer limit on online iPhone sales, now allowing customers to purchase more than 10 iPhones at a time. The company previously issued a revenue warning to investors as its supply chain was ravaged and Chinese demand for iPhones dropped.
Apple last month announced new versions of its iPad Pro, Mac Mini and MacBook Air devices via press release as well.
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