Apple on Monday announced its iPhone SE, a 4-inch (10-cm) smartphone that it claims is the most powerful and cheapest, priced at $399 (approximately Rs 30,000) and could potentially hit the Indian market by May. This represents Apple’s second bid for the crowded mid-tier market after an unsuccessful foray three years ago.
The new phone, with Apple’s vaunted A9 chip, doubles the speed of Apple’s previous attempt at an entry-level phone, the 5S, launched in 2013. It also runs Apple Pay and comes in the wildly popular rose gold colour.
Shares of Apple were down about half a per cent at $105.41 in early Monday afternoon trade.
Apple in India continues to see higher sales of the older generation iPhone 5S, first launched in September 2013, and the new device could potentially bring more users for the first time onto the Apple ecosystem.
Apple CEO Tim Cook said that the 4-inch smartphone has brought in more first-time users in countries such as China. Apple would launch the phone in a few countries, including China, by March-end and the phone would likely to be launched with 100 other countries in May.
While maintaining that Apple has over one billion devices across the world, Cook said the company has built a recycling robot Liam that would use parts of iPhones to build products such as solar panels.
“We built the iPhone for you, our customers. And we know that it is a deeply personal device,” Cook said at Apple’s leafy Cupertino, California headquarters. “For many of us, the iPhone is an extension of ourselves.”
Cook, in his opening remarks at the Apple Special Event, defended the company’s focus on privacy.
He reiterated that it is bad to create “back doors” even if it is for the government, adding that Apple “will not shrink from that responsibility.”
“A month ago we asked Americans across the country to join in a conversation. We get to decide as a nation how much power the government should have over our data and over our privacy,” Cook said.
Cook’s remarks were the latest in a battle with the US government over efforts to compel Apple to help the FBI break into the iPhone of one of the attackers in last year’s deadly shooting rampage in San Bernardino, California. (Article continues below infographic)
The tech company’s dispute with the US government has become a lightning rod for a broader debate on data privacy. The company is set to square off against the US government at a court hearing on Tuesday, likely the first round in a long legal fight to avoid being forced to decrypt the iPhone.
Apple says that this would be the last product announcement at the Cupertino headquarters, as it plans to shift to a new campus next year.
Apple dropped the price of its smart watch by around $50 and launched a new iPad Pro 9.7-inch aimed at users of Windows PC, which the company claimed was developed before the common use of internet.
Apple iPhone SE
Price: From $399
Display: 4-inch Retina display, 1,136x640p at 326 ppi
Processor: 64-bit A9 processor
Operating system: iOS 9.3
Weight: 113 g
Storage: 16/64 GB
Camera: 12MP iSight/1.2MP
Additional features: Fingerprint sensor, WiFi AC
Apple also introduced a 9.7-inch iPad Pro, cut the price of the Watch by $50 to start from $299 and introduced a new version of its mobile operating system, iOS 9.3. It also unveiled a robot to recycle iPhones, called the Liam