The 5c was never this fortunate. On its debut, it was a year-old iPhone in a plastic shell, lacking the speed, Touch ID capabilities, motion co-processor and superior camera of the 5s, unveiled at the same event. Only 80 quid cheaper than that far superior model, the 5c only lasted a year. It was canned when the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus arrived, the 5s then soldiering on as the sole smaller phone in Apple’s line-up.
By contrast, the iPhone SE is a far bolder statement — an iPhone 6s shoved into a 5s case (with newly “refined matte-chamfered edges”, because Apple loves a bit of chamfering). You get support for Apple Pay, a great camera (which shoots 4K video and 63MP panoramas), and a speedy A9 chip.
There’s no 3D Touch, although it’s very hard to get worked up about that omission. And even if that does somehow irk, the SE counters with a major real-world benefit: theoretically longer battery life than you get with the iPhone 6s.
Even the price is right. When the 5c appeared, people were expecting a dirt-cheap iPhone to battle Android, temporarily forgetting the fact Apple never does dirt cheap. But Apple does sometimes veer towards ‘more affordable’ and ‘surprisingly good value’, and the iPhone SE is very much both of those.
It starts at £359, which is 100 quid cheaper than the equivalent iPhone 6 with year-old tech, and 180 quid cheaper than last autumn’s iPhone 6s.