The 2020 iPhone SE

Apple Newsroom:

Apple today announced the second-generation iPhone SE, a powerful new iPhone featuring a 4.7-inch Retina HD display, paired with Touch ID for industry-leading security. iPhone SE comes in a compact design, reinvented from the inside out, and is the most affordable iPhone. The new iPhone SE is powered by the Apple-designed A13 Bionic, the fastest chip in a smartphone, to handle the most demanding tasks. iPhone SE also features the best single-camera system ever in an iPhone, which unlocks the benefits of computational photography including Portrait mode, and is designed to withstand the elements with dust and water resistance.

The second-generation iPhone SE, a hybrid: iPhone 8 chassis, iPhone XR camera optics, iPhone 11 internals. Original 2016 iPhone SE starting price point but, with bigger storage.

The smartphone industry has a seen a meteoric rise in the ’budget’ smartphone sector over the past few years with manufacturers continuing to cement their presence on that end of the spectrum.

Apple, with all intensive purposes, has come out with a smartphone so purposefully designed and priced. The budget-friendly user demographic be they the average consumer, or the tech nerd that prefers, and held onto their home button adorned iPhones while waiting for an upgrade with today’s advanced features will have a hard time not upgrading. The iPhone SE is the upgrade they’ve been waiting on. And I suspect it will have the same success as the original iPhone SE did.

“iPhone 11 Pro called. It wants its chip back.”

While catering to the above mentioned demographic, Apple seemed to have also deliberately drawn a line for Android handsets in the same budget-friendly category with the addition of the fastest chip found on any smartphone1 — the propriety A13 Bionic chip which currently operates on the flagship iPhone 11 series. Coupled with other notable improved features, Apple is also targeting another demographic; Android users on a budget wanting to switch to iOS. Granted, most users from this category may not care much about processors. Still, the rest of the iPhone SE feature set it is undoubtedly enticing, especially when you factor in timely software updates for the next two to four years, given most users’ reluctance to upgrade.

Other notable upgrade benefits:

  • One year free Apple TV+ subscription.
  • iPhone SE AppleCare+ from £79.
  • Every iPhone SE (PRODUCT)RED purchase contributes directly to the Global Fund to combat COVID-19.

The fact that the starting price point remains the same as the original iPhone SE released four years ago but with improvements on every aspect of the phone — hardware and software — is quite astonishing.


  1. The cheapest iPhone in Apple’s portfolio has a more powerful processor than most sub £800+ Android Flagships.

The iPhone 11 Pro Smart Battery Case

The original Mophie Juice Pack and the Juice Pack Air were the last battery cases I owned and used on the iPhone. They did a pretty great job, and I appreciated being able to keep my iPhone juiced up in situations where I am away from a charging outlet on my photo walks.

Talking of photo walks, considering I have plans to restart the hobby, I already planned on getting a battery bank, but it now makes sense to look into Apples Smart Battery Case for the iPhone 11 Pro instead. The dedicated camera button on the case to quickly launch the camera whether the iPhone screen is locked or unlocked is a bonus and the deciding factor in getting the Smart Battery Case instead of a battery bank. It will no doubt prove to be incredibly useful.

Even though I continue to experience and enjoy the vastly improved battery life on my iPhone 11 Pro Max, having a back-up in case a short photo walk turns into a lengthy all-day affair makes sense. I plan not only resurrecting my photography hobby but also journey into the world of videography as well, given how good the iPhone 11 Pro shoots video now. For that, I will take all the extra juice I can get.

Upgrading to the iPhone 11 Pro Max

 iPhone 11 Pro Max
iPhone 11 Pro Max

Leading to the September 10 Apple Keynote Event announcing the next generation of iPhones, I had little intention of upgrading for the simple fact that I purchased the 512GB iPhone XS Max six months earlier. I planned on using the XS Max and wait for the 2020 iPhone. However, I had a reservation that, based on enhancements, i.e. the camera, battery life, I will make considerations on whether to upgrade.

In true Apple fashion, as expected, the incremental updates on the iPhone were the main selling point during the keynote presentation. The two improvements that steered me towards upgrading were indeed the battery life and camera. I regard these improvements as the most significant upgrades they’ve received on the iPhone since its inception. Having long wished for an increase in battery capacity and battery life especially, I wasted little time in preparing for an upgrade following the keynote. I pre-ordered for the very first time, downsizing to the 256GB iPhone 11 Pro Max in Space Grey.

Reasons being; six months of using the 512GB, I used only 82GB of that storage space. I have a habit of triaging my photos and videos, uploading the majority of them to iCloud Drive via the Files app in organised folders, and leaving only a handful of my favourites stored on the phone. I had less than 5000 songs downloaded from Apple Music for offline listening and downloaded podcasts set for deletion after I finished listening to them, so phone storage hasn’t been an issue for me and made sense to go for the 256GB model.

I went with the Space Grey because I have always been a fan, despite Apples various visual representations of Space Grey over the years, and my iPad Pro and Apple Watch are both of the same colour. I continued the Max (Previously Plus) tradition because I prefer the larger screen and portability has never been an issue. I’m quite happy wielding this behemoth around.


BATTERY

My procedure with new iPhones straight out of the box is to set up as new and not restore from backups, and while doing this, drain whatever remaining battery level from the factory, then recharge from 0 to 100%. For the first time, the battery-draining process took longer, I had finished setting up the phone, and went about my day with normal usage without pushing too hard for the battery to drain. Usually, at this point on previous iPhones, the battery would’ve been depleted, this was when I started noticing the battery performance in the new iPhone 11 Pro Max.

 Off charge 7:31am with 100% battery. Depleted 9pm with 0%.
Off charge 7:31am with 100% battery. Depleted 9pm with 0%.

A couple of days later with the Pro Max, I decided to test and see how the battery performs on a full working day without charge with a slight change in my usual setup; increasing brightness, leaving a higher number of location and background app refresh features on, turning off screen auto-lock, streaming Apple Music and Podcasts instead of downloading them first. The result was beyond belief. In my hands, an iPhone with a battery life that serves me on a full working day without charge. My charging habits have dramatically changed now. As a result, I do not think or worry about the battery level on my iPhone. I happily leave the house now with less than 30% battery level and not fret.

InsaneIncredibleAstounding, and a plethora of other adjectives have been used to describe the highly improved battery life on the new iPhone 11 Pro by owners. And they’re not wrong. Of course, how well battery performance continues to remain stable in the long run is also down to how the user manages and care for their iPhone battery.

Thanks to the increase in capacity and continuous battery optimisations on the software side, the iPhone 11 Pro Max battery life so far, has been phenomenal, and worthy of upgrading to either iPhone 11 Pro models if you’re heavily dependent on your iPhone and want to eradicate anxieties about battery levels.


CAMERA

Apple is targeting the Pro photography and cinematography market, as demoed with the makers of FiLMiC Pro during the live event, showing off the new iPhone camera capabilities and how the multi-cam setup can be effectively utilised. This part of the keynote presentation impressed me the most and whetted my appetite to venture into videography now that you can quickly edit videos from the Photos app on the iPhone.

It’s been a while since I have been overly excited by the iPhone camera - not that I’ve ever devalued the iPhone camera by any measure, however, the multi-lens setup on the Pro Max coupled with software enhancements has given the iPhone camera a genuine claim to being one of the best, if not the best camera on a smartphone currently. The joy and fun derived from using the various redesigned camera experiences on the Pro max, especially the Ultra Wide and Night Mode (look out for Deep Fusion) have been truly delightful.

With my planned photo walks, I’m creating a section on the site to share my mobile photography and videos shot and edited entirely on the Pro Max and upcoming iPhones.

A few sample shots with left, Night Mode Off, flash on and right, Night Mode On.

Overall, upgrading my six-month-old XS Max to the iPhone 11 Pro Max has been worth it for the improved battery life and camera enhancements alone. If you place value in battery life and the camera, upgrading will be worth it for you too.

The iPhone 11 Pro Camera

Camera improvements on the iPhone have always been a focal point, and this year is no different. To date, the camera enhancements on the iPhone 11 Pro is the best I’ve seen on an iPhone. I’ve always been a fan of the iPhone camera and the plethora of photo taking and editing apps. Photography apps dominate my App Store library by a considerable margin.

When Instagram exclusively launched on iOS in 2010, as a photo-sharing platform, which helped fuel the rise of iPhone photography, commonly known as iPhoneography, I was intensely active with photo walks.

Although my photo walk activities and sharing snaps online waned over the years, I continued to use the iPhone camera to snap unmissable photo opportunities actively. The new camera enhancements on the iPhone 11 Pro have whetted my appetite to start photo walks again. With that in my mind, I went out on a short photo walk to see how well the new ultra-wide camera lens handles and captures vast areas. I was not disappointed. I, later on, went out for another walk to capture the night scene with the new Night Mode, I was in awe.

In a strongly contested world of mobile photography, the iPhone camera has once again positioned itself to be the undisputed champion of mobile photography.

Enjoy.

Night Mode

Telephoto, Wide, Ultra Wide.