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FAQ: What you need to know about the 4-inch iPhone SE

Susie Ochs | March 22, 2016
It starts at US$399, it does Live Photos but no 3D Touch, and the battery should even outlast the bigger iPhones.

It turns out that in today’s “go big or go home” world, plenty of people didn’t want a bigger iPhone. So they did go home, back to their 4-inch iPhone 5s and 5c models, to wait for Apple to make a pocket-sized iPhone once again. Now that wait is (nearly) over.

On Monday, Apple unveiled the iPhone SE, which has the form-factor of an iPhone 5s, but the speedy components of an iPhone 6s. Here is everything we know so far about Apple’s newest little thing.

Important thing first: When can I get it?

Let’s get this out of the way right now! Apple will start taking preorders for the iPhone SE on Thursday, March 24, and will start shipping the devices a week later, on Thursday, March 31.

How much will it cost me?

The iPhone SE comes in two storage capacities. The 16GB version is $399 unlocked, and the 64GB version is $499 unlocked.

(Nope, there’s no 32GB iPhone SE, and nothing bigger than 64GB. If you need more storage, the iPhone 6s comes in 128GB size for $849 unlocked, or $949 for an unlocked 128GB iPhone 6s Plus.)

Can I pay in installments?

Of course you can. This is America.

First, the bad news: The iPhone SE is not eligible for Apple’s iPhone Upgrade Program, which only covers the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus, and only when you buy it from the Apple Store.

But there is also good news! The new iPhone SE is eligible for the “trade up with installments” program Apple announced in February, but you can only get this deal by bringing your old device to the Apple Store. Depending on which model you’re trading up from, your iPhone SE could be as little as $10/month.

“Carrier financing” is available—those are installment plans from the carriers, like T-Mobile Jump on Demand or AT&T Next. You can purchase your iPhone from Apple and then compare plans from multiple carriers, including Sprint Easy Pay, T-Mobile Equipment Installment Plan, and Verizon Device Payment. Or you can purchase the iPhone SE directly from your carrier of choice.

Apple also has a financing program through Barclaycard, so you could put your new iPhone SE on installments that way. That’s not the same as the iPhone Upgrade Program, which is an 18-month financing term that lets you upgrade after 12 months and includes AppleCare+. Financing an iPhone SE through Barclaycard just lets you spread out the payments of the full retail price.

What’s the screen like, besides 4 glorious inches?

It’s a 4-inch screen, just like the iPhone 5s, 5c, and 5. (iPhones before that had a 3.5-inch screen.) The resolution is the same, too: 1136x640 at 326 pixels per inch.


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