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Apple now more affordable on eve of new iPhone SE; iPhone 5S even more so

With a new iPhone SE 32GB variant set to become available from Friday, the iPhone 5S becomes probably the best, and cheapest, premium phone on the market in India today

Harichandan Arakali
Published: Mar 24, 2017 05:23:51 PM IST
Updated: Mar 24, 2017 08:55:27 PM IST

Apple now more affordable on eve of new iPhone SE; iPhone 5S even more so
Image: Shutterstock

The real angle here, one could argue, isn’t just affordability, but security as well. And Apple has just placed a top-notch phone with fingerprint scanner built in from the get go, and one that can run on the latest iOS software, within the reach of many more.

And it’s the iPhone 5S. Not the new iPhone SE. Because what’s happened is, the strategy that Apple’s been following in India, keeping alive older models at lower prices, has now pushed the cost of an iPhone 5S 16GB handset to about Rs 17,700 — the cheapest this writer could find at the time of writing this.

This writer got a bit of a thrill after typing in iPhone SE in the search bar of his favourite ecommerce website. Rs 21,499 for the 16GB version. That prompted a search for the iPhone 5S, which lent its form factor to the SE, and at 17.7K one could do a lot worse than the 5S, for a secure smartphone. By that I mean, pick five phones off-the-shelf, and which one’s more secure at roughly the same price range. No special additions or tweaks and so on.

Biometrics is a more secure option than say a password, and most geeks agree that in general, it’s a tad more tough to get into iOS handsets than into Android phones. For most of us, who would buy a phone and start using it, there’s still not one Android handset that can compete with the iPhone 5S on design, and the tightly-integratedness of the device. You have to use it to believe what it can do on 1GB of RAM. Less is more, sometimes.

Which brings one to the iPhone SE, for those who must have more. Apple reprised the 5S’s design, with the SE’s release in March 2016 — it has double the RAM, chips that are at least twice as fast. And starting today, it will have twice as much storage, but the same beautiful 4-inch-screen form factor.

Apple today will release a new entry-level version with 32GB in the US and a few other markets — 8:01 PDT. Add 12 hours 30 minutes for time in India. It’s logical to expect this one will hit India soon as well, possibly in April. At the higher end, the SE gets 128GB. This may also be why the price for the 16GB and 64GB versions has been slashed in India.

It’s a clever thing too, just as Samsung has shifted gears to offer much more feature-rich near-flagship-type phones in the form of its latest A-series handsets. The Galaxy A5, for instance has many of the features of the Galaxy S7, while running on a less powerful chip. While many people are phablet-crazy, for those who wanted a powerful smartphone that didn’t feel like they were holding a small book in their hand, maybe the Lenovo Z2 Plus was the one option — if you like awkward attempts at tweaking the stock Android operating system.

And it’s not just women who love to stick their smartphones in the back pockets of their jeans pants. This writer does it too, and has seen many other men do it as well. The 4-inch form factor is delightful in that aspect, and I could go on ad nauseum about good things coming in small packages.

Suddenly, in the 15K-30K range, which attracts a considerable number of buyers, and one that constantly tempts folks who’ve already spent close to the lower end of that range on some Chinese phone or the other, there are at least two excellent iPhones to choose from. Go for it.

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