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Apple announces iPhone SE 3 release date, price, and specs

iPhone SE 3 color options

As expected, Apple today officially unveiled the iPhone SE 3. Much like its predecessors, the new device is primarily geared for consumers who want to enjoy Apple’s more advanced technologies in a more compact form factor. And with a historic price point of $399, the iPhone SE has long been a device popular with consumers who aren’t keen on spending upwards of $1,000 for a brand new iPhone.

Seeing as how the iPhone SE 2 was released nearly two years ago, demand for an updated iPhone SE has been building for some time. Thankfully, that time is now and the iPhone SE 3 boasts an impressive range of upgrades.

iPhone SE finally gets 5G

Apple didn’t offer 5G support until it released its iPhone 12 lineup in late 2020. And seeing as how the iPhone SE 2 arrived months earlier, iPhone SE users have been stuck on 4G ever since. With the iPhone SE 3, 5G support is finally here.

Image source: Apple Inc.

The new iPhone SE 3 looks familiar

As previously rumored, the iPhone SE 3 doesn’t boast a completely new form factor. In other words, the device looks like an iPhone 8. Despite rumors that we might see an iPhone SE with Face ID, the new device retains Touch ID and, in turn, features the same 4.7-inch display as its predecessor.

What are the iPhone SE 3 color options?

Apple says the new iPhone SE 3 will come in three colors: Midnight, Starlight, and Product Red.

The iPhone SE gets a major hardware upgrade

Underneath the hood, Apple’s new iPhone SE gets a major upgrade with the A15 Bionic. Originally released as part of Apple’s iPhone 13 lineup, the A15 Bionic is Apple’s most advanced processor to date. The old iPhone SE 2 shipped with Apple’s A13 Bionic processor.

“This year we’ve built the most powerful and durable iPhone SE yet, with better battery life thanks to A15 Bionic, the same chip as our iPhone 13 lineup that also unlocks advanced camera features like Smart HDR 4, Photographic Styles, and Deep Fusion,” Apple VP Kaiann Drance said.

“And with 5G,” Drance continued, “iPhone SE gives users faster downloads and uploads, higher quality video streaming, real-time interactivity in apps, and much more.”

Improved Camera

Apple notes that the iPhone SE 3 has improved camera performance. This is on account of Deep Fusion, computational photography, and Smart HDR 4.

Apple adds:

iPhone SE features an all-new camera system powered by A15 Bionic, with a 12-megapixel ƒ/1.8 aperture Wide camera that offers incredible computational photography benefits, including Smart HDR 4, Photographic Styles, Deep Fusion, and Portrait mode.

Introduced with iPhone 13 Pro and iPhone 13, Smart HDR 4 uses intelligent segmentation to apply different adjustments for color, contrast, and noise to the subject versus the background. This ensures faces are properly exposed in challenging lighting, and renders people in the same photo individually, with different adjustments optimized for lighting and skin tone for each person.

Photographic Styles allows users to bring their personal photo preferences to every image while still benefitting from Apple’s multiframe image processing. Preset and customized preferences work across scenes and subjects, and unlike a simple filter, intelligently apply the right adjustments to different parts of the photo to ensure the important elements, like skin tones, are preserved.

How expensive is the iPhone SE 3?

The new iPhone SE 3 starts at $429. This is a tad higher than the previous price point of $399. Still, the device does offer a tremendous value proposition for users.

iPhone SE 3 release date

Apple’s new iPhone will be available in stores on March 18. Pre-orders for the device will begin on March 11.

Yoni Heisler has been writing about Apple and the tech industry at large for over 15 years. A life long Mac user and Apple expert, his writing has appeared in Edible Apple, Network World, MacLife, Macworld UK, and TUAW. When not analyzing the latest happenings with Apple, Yoni enjoys catching Improv shows in Chicago, playing soccer, and cultivating new TV show addictions.