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Apple iPhone SE Available on Apple Store Again (apple.com)
378 points by sdan 8 months ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 408 comments

I’m going to add to the dogpile here and add: I am really not sure how I can vote with my wallet more than I currently do.

I had a 5S; upgraded to a 6S and spent a year with it, but I really hated the size of the phone and realised that small phones were entirely gone by the end of my time with the 6S.

I tried Android for a while but it was Samsung’s Android and was not for me, I was frustrated and annoyed after every interaction with my phone. After a year of that I went and got an iPhone SE. I’m still very happy with my choice. (Although my AirPods sometimes cut out and I think its due to the size of my Bluetooth antennae)

I buy a fair amount of Apple stuff, I’m on the highest iCloud storage tier, I have AirPods, Mac Pro’s, MacBook Pro’s etc; if they have /any/ customer profiling at all they must realise that I certainly have the means to “upgrade” but doggedly refuse to do so.

When I picked this phone up I bought apple care for as long as I could. I will attempt to extend Apple care on this phone (or buy a new SE if it’s available) before support on this expires.

How else can I show my support to the small phone factor?

Selling a new small phone is a market problem for Apple.

The form factor inherently makes it less expensive to manufacture. Bigger screens cost more etc. Which creates a pricing problem for them.

If they price it like a small phone (i.e. lower price) they cannibalize sales of larger phones with higher total margins, and lose money. If they price it with the same total margin as the larger phones, it'd still be the lowest priced current generation phone in their lineup, but would then compare very poorly on price to similar spec Android phones, which makes their brand look overpriced (as opposed to premium).

About the only way it would make sense is to make it a premium product. Give it the fastest available processor etc. so it can justify a premium price despite the size. But that's a difficult engineering problem. A faster processor uses more power and generates more heat, but smaller phones have less room for a big battery and less surface area to dissipate heat. And finding a solution for that is extra hard because what it needs is an advantage relative to larger phones, but if you improve performance per watt or battery density in general then the same improvement can go into the larger phone too and you still have no relative advantage.

That's a dangerous strategy considering that an iPhone is the "window" to their ecosystem: App store, Apple Pay, the iOS UX experience, etc.

I know many people who love Apple's ecosystem but who won't pay through the nose for a "premium" phone that's way overpowered for their needs.

The iPhone is the gateway drug these days, but I didn't start out with one: I started out with an iPod Touch. The iPod Touch is a great companion device for a non-iPhone that supports tethering -- it lets you dip a toe in the iOS ecosystem for a fraction of the cost of buying an iPhone. Also, with the TV app and an Apple TV is works as a controller for their TV ecosystem -- an evolved iPod Touch could be positioned as a luxury controller/media store device for the Apple TV, at any rate.

However, the iPod Touch has been neglected for several years: it's all but an orphan product at this stage.

(One ray of hope: Apple just refreshed the iPad Mini with a two-generations jump in CPU and a few nice-but-overdue tweaks -- double the storage, 1st generation Pencil support, and a TrueTone display. I hope they're planning on doing the same for the iPod Touch.)

Arguably the iPad 6th Gen is the gateway drug now. List price of $329 but many stores have it on a semi-permanent discount of $250. Very cheap entry into the iOS ecosystem, and really an amazing value compared to the other ~$250 tablets or laptops out there.

The only gateway I needed was a work-provided iphone 6. Soon after, I switched my personal phone to an iphone 6s, and I was all in after that...macbook, watch, icloud, etc...

Honestly, before I was 'forced' (for work purposes) to use an iphone, I wasn't a fan of Apple - although I admittedly never tried using one. Since then, the three guys that sit near me at work have bought into the apple ecosystem as well.

To backup the point of the iPhone is the gateway to their ecosystem. They increased the size of the iPhone and I stopped buying new iPhones, since then I've switched from an iPhone to Android, Macbook to Dell XPS, and iPad to a bog standard Windows 2-in-1 tablet/mini-laptop.

Then frankly they're not in the Apple target demographic. I know that sucks, but the iPhone is a gateway for customers who are willing to pay a premium for Apple products.

The real danger for Apple would be compromising with a budget model at the entry level. It would kill their value proposition on the whole rest of their line. The closest they get is previous-year models and refurbs.

> Then frankly they're not in the Apple target demographic.

I think you’re forgetting about the significant market for used Apple products. There are many people, myself included, who live on used MacBooks, iPhones, iPads, AppleTV, Airport Express, etc., and are perfectly content. I’m typing this out on an iPhone SE that I bought used, and that was the most I’ve ever paid for a phone. My wife is still content with a 5S, and I frankly never notice the difference when I borrow her phone.

Apple (perhaps begrudgingly) cares about us because the used market helps keep the demand high for their new and shiny products.

I think they run a real risk of diminishing returns. To use a car analogy; first they were the BMW of phones, then the Ferrari and maybe soon the Bugatti.

Along the way consumers will start to tap out and leave Apple's ecosystem altogether.

Maybe that's already set in motion, people are keeping their phones for much longer so it will take a while for the effects to be noticeable.

Selling 200m+ phones a year and owning 44% of the US domestic market is hardly 'Bugatti of Phones'.

What's tapping out is the pool of first time iPhone buyers, but fortunately for Apple, iPhones are very 'sticky'. Existing users are very highly likely to replace an iPhone with a new iPhone, and in fact the bulk of sales have been to previous iPhone owners for several years.

When people talk about iPhone sales slowing, they're taking about growth slowing. Actual sales are just levelling off. From here on out we'll see some ups and downs, sure. It looks like we're in for a period of economic risk and uncertainty too which isn't good for anyone, but I don't see any good reason to expect a sustained decline compared to the rest of the market.

The Bugatti of phones is Samsung's upcoming fold-out model, which will cost over $2000 -- more than a high-end tricked out PC you could run a decent sized neural network on.

O, definitely. Anecdote, but count me among these people. I had 4 or 5 iPhones, and 1 Android phone sometime in the middle (before my 6s). I am currently on the Xs, but if Apple keeps this pricing strategy I will not buy another iPhone again. Outside the US it is really hard to justify with the added tax and "export fee" on top. I just hope it will be ok for 3 years.

This is true. I bought the X in India but with assumption that I’ll use it for at least 3 years. Maybe more. This doesn’t sound hard to achieve given how long Apple continues to provide upgrades.

I'm still on a 6s and it's absolutely fine. I can't see myself upgrading in the foreseeable future, but when I do it will almost certainly be another iPhone. They've been really good to me and lasted many years as hand-me-downs, sometimes with a battery refurb just before they go out of support. The value proposition is just excellent.

That doesn't account for the people who like the SE for it's size/weight primarily. The fact that it's much cheaper than the new giant phones is a nice bonus.

It also doesn't take into account people who may be budget conscious now but will have spending power in a few years. Why would apple turn up its nose at that market share?

This could also be the reason that there is no small phone, as this would make the "window" to their ecosystem literally smaller.

> About the only way it would make sense is to make it a premium product.

What’s the problem with that?

In my mind that’s exactly what the iPhone SE is: a premium phone in a small form factor.

That’s exactly what I want. That’s literally the only thing I want in my next phone.

Nothing Apple currently offers interests me at all. Every option they have, even the “small” options, are way too big.

Some people seem to mistake the iPhone SE as some sort of cheap option for those who can’t afford a “real” iPhone (thinking about market segments as opposed to use-case), but that’s absolutely ass backwards.

We want the best, and we want it comfortably in our hand.

> About the only way it would make sense is to make it a premium product.

> What’s the problem with that?

In the next sentence he literally lays out what the problem with that would be. It's an engineering problem.

They solved that once before. They can do it again.

Unfortunately that compact strategy doesn't work in the market, just ask Sony. Sony has been making compact phones with flagship specs for years without much success. The phones are great, too (good feel, more than powerful enough, great battery life, minimal android mods, etc). But they just don't sell. Everyone wants the latest and biggest Samsung. Sony hasn't been able to carve out a profitable niche here.

I have a Sony compact and people are constantly asking me questions about it with intrigue then shrug their shoulders and go back to their giant phones.

The main knock against Sony phones is the camera quality, which they intentionally nerf in order to not damage their DSLR business.

Sony doesn't really have a DSLR business these days. They're all in on mirrorless on the high end and compact point-and-shoots on the low end.

I feel like Apple might be able to succeed here where Sony has failed, because of their moat around the Apple ecosystem.

>Selling a new small phone is a market problem for Apple.

I'd argue that Apple making product decisions for mainly financial reasons is a recent problem. My memory could betray me though.

I disagree. Fundamentally, every company makes product decisions primarily for financial reasons.

Apple has been focused on finances for most of its existence as an entity. If it appears they have become more focused on financial success recently, I would argue that's more likely due to market saturation than it is to any categorical change in their priorities.

EDIT: Changed and removed some wording to make the tone less condescending. Sorry about that.

> If it appears they have become more focused on financial success recently, that's more likely due to market saturation than it is to any categorical change in their priorities.

One could also cast it as an entirely predictable consequence of replacing a CEO who came up as a product person with one who came up as an operations person.

Apple's no stranger to saturating markets. They used to grow past that point, in part, by expanding into new markets that were peripherally related to the ones they already dominated in, and becoming a dominant player at those as well. They were remarkably good at it, too, with very few major missteps. They don't seem to be so good at that game anymore,though, so they're falling back on the top leadership's top skill: Expanding margins.

This is a rather condescending reply, and I hope next time you try to understand what I wrote before trying to lecture me.

I apologize for the condescension, it wasn't intended. Thank you for letting me know; I've edited the comment.

Thank you. I should've stated my position more extensively. By financial decisions I mean decisions that can be directly correlated to increased margins. The original comment was speculating that Apple might not sell the iPhone SE because they have lower margins, and that might make them more money in the short term, but if some people switch to Android for a smaller device, they'll lose long term market share. In that regard you're right and I'd rather call these kind of decisions short sighted or something along those lines.

So why is there an iPad mini then? Mac mini? Your argument is completely on the marketing side of things, but maybe it’s an production issue? Apple is spending large capital expenditures each year, no one exactly know why, but probably they buy all the tooling in the factories. Another form factor will cost them money to produce.

> So why is there an iPad mini then? Mac mini?

The iPad mini is neither the smallest nor least expensive current iOS device. The Mac mini starts at $800 and the entire Mac desktop line seems to be something Apple has discontinued caring about because they make all their money from iPhones now.

> Your argument is completely on the marketing side of things, but maybe it’s an production issue? Apple is spending large capital expenditures each year, no one exactly know why, but probably they buy all the tooling in the factories. Another form factor will cost them money to produce.

This does cost money, but if there is demand for the product (which isn't just diverted from your other products) then you make it back. And if it was a major factor, would they have existing products like the iPad mini?

The short answer is: I don't know. I just wanted to broaden the discussion. I think it is much more complex than just pricing

Regarding your last point: You are assuming that they're manufacturing the iPad mini on their own tooling like the iPhones. Who knows if that's true. The scale of iPad production is much lower so it might make no sense to buy the machinery.

It's lower yes, but still pretty high. Apple sells about twice as many iPads as they do Macs. In fact they sell more iPads than any individual manufacturer sells laptops.

> The form factor inherently makes it less expensive to manufacture. Bigger screens cost more etc. Which creates a pricing problem for them.

In this perspective it's interesting how their current "lower tier" phone, the Xr, is priced lower than the Xs for instance, but got the bigger screen and better battery.

It gives them an opening for marketing smaller phones as more niche models with eventually more engineering going towards keeping it small with the same or better specs than the bigger phones.

It's not a cost problem but a positioning problem. I just bought a Nokia 7 plus which is about the same size of an iphone 6 plus for 295 Euros. Big does not have to be expensive. And it's an 8 core phone. It's plenty fast. I'm pretty sure Apple is doing fine in terms of cost.

The real problem for Apple is differentiating their more expensive phones when the most significant thing for end users is the screen size and the camera. Take one of those away and there's not much left to charge for. Their current model is based on artificially inflated prices for big screens. For whatever reason there's a segment of users that happily hand over the cash for what is an overpriced phone. However, it lost them the entry segment; which is why they keep bringing back the 5S/SE formfactor. Without this, they bleed users even as revenue goes up because of the increased ASP.

If they get the bigger 6/7/8 formfactor to the same price, they are cannibalizing their high end range because the difference between that and their premium XR range is mostly not that big. Worse, you can't really tell them apart easily because they have the same design. This is made worse by people using iphone covers. Status and vanity are big reasons for owning an iphone but when they all look the same, you might as well get the cheaper one.

> In this perspective it's interesting how their current "lower tier" phone, the Xr, is priced lower than the Xs for instance, but got the bigger screen and better battery.

But it's about the price not the actual "size", the Xs has a OLED screen vs the LED screen of the Xr which is way more expensive.

We are in agreement I think, I see that material differentiation as another way to get over the hurdle of having a smaller device priced high enough to offer a comfortable margin.

I'm totally fine with Apple coming up with a set of ways to prevent a phone from being perceived as cheap, while keeping a smaller form factor.

>>> The form factor inherently makes it less expensive to manufacture. Bigger screens cost more etc. Which creates a pricing problem for them.

I'm not sure I agree with this at all. Traditionally smaller laptops cost more than larger ones, even for an identical or inferior spec(with the assumption that making them smaller takes more engineering to cram everything in). Don't see why this logic wouldn't apply here.

Why does it have to be cheaper or have more expensive components? If people value the smaller form factor as they say why aren’t they willing to pay the same as or even more than a larger phone to get it?

Exactly; it just requires some psychological trickery -- advertising the small form factor as a premium item. MacBook Airs and MacBook Pros are a reasonable analogy.

Nobody likes to feel like a fool. Paying $1000 bucks for a phone when you can get a similar phone from a competitor for $100 makes you feel like a fool.

Anecdotally, I'd happily pay what the iPhone 8 costs to get an iPhone SE-like form factor with updated hardware.

The recent generations of iPhones all look and feel too large to me. I'm like, maybe Apple should include tactical pants in their accessories:


I'm an Android fan, so I'd love to know your source for $100 Android phones that can match (or even come close to) a $1000 iPhone in specs and build quality. I will order 3 this afternoon.

If it’s the product you want and the price is worth it to you then why feel a fool?

If the similar phone did what you want then you’d buy that instead. The extra $900 is either worth it for the missing feature or not.

Nobody’s a fool in this situation.

Paying $900 for it to be an iPhone over android for the average user would be foolish. The icon and ios aren’t worth the money.

Even for the average user the differences are not the icon and ios. It's the consequences of the icon and ios (better marketplace, safer phone, arguably more stable and more durable, etc)

> but smaller phones have less room for a big battery

The nice thing about the SE form factor is that it is enough thicker than the 6 and later form factor to offset much of the battery concern. If they made an SE form factor phone with an OLED display (thinner), kept it precisely as thick overall, and shifted even more of the circuitry to the chin and forehead of the phone, then they could get a pretty big battery in there, and as a bonus, the OLED would generally be more efficient as well.

> About the only way it would make sense is to make it a premium product

Interesting analysis. What about if they embraced the luxury brand aspect and instead of making it a premium product via the fastest available processor (etc) they made the back of the phone out of sterling silver or something?

If it still has the latest specs in the small form factor, I for one don't really care how they justify it to the marketing dept.

I just wish they would sell an iPod touch with cellular.

That’s called an iPhone or more precisely iPhone SE

But they don’t sell it anymore (this clearance aside).

Apple is close to solving the market problem with XR being a success. The next interaction of the XS line can offer a smaller version without cannibalizing mainstream iPhones, just like the current iPad line up.

Is it a success?


I can't pull up mixpanel trends right now for some reason, but looking at this graph doesn't lead me to believe the XR is very successful.

Exactly. Or a bit more succinct: High-volume, low-margin (as with the iPhone SE) is neither a viable growth strategy for Apple (the volumes would have to be huge and it would erode the brand -- way too risky), nor a viable complementary offering (as it would cannibalize other products).

The same is going to happen for Apple's "Professional" Macbooks.

2015 I think was the last year they made a decent Macbook? Since then it's been the touch bar (annoying but functional but potentially useful) and an absolute shit-show of a keyboard.

It's not just a keyboard preference issue for me. The reliability is shockingly appalling.

I buy computers for my startup and it feels painful to buy a MBP seeing that 50% of newer MBPs that we bought had issues with their keyboard. On a professional machine, a visit to the service centre is time and money wasted.

Also I travel a lot with my computer and just thinking about all the dongles that I will have to carry means that I am going to nurse my 2014 Macbook as long as I have to.

I run my own small business and in the last 2 years we've bought 4 macbooks. 3 of them have been in the shop for 3+ days getting their keyboards replaced. While I'm glad they replaced them, "shockingly appalling" is pretty much how I felt as well.

I don't really get the dongle complaint though. I have the USB/USB-C/HDMI dongle and I bring that if I need it for a presentation or something, but when I travel I generally just bring a usb-c wall charger and that's it.

>I don't really get the dongle complaint though.

The dongle themselves, yeah sure whatever.

The fact that they placed the fucking WiFi antenna next to the USB-C port? That's just downright hostile. I'm stuck with this laptop (2018 MBP, non touch bar) for a while but I'll be replacing it the first chance I get.

I find it impossible to believe that this issue isn't known about to Apple, it most definitely came up in testing yet they continue to sell them anyway. It's a much bigger issue than the keyboard for me, because at least I can work around that with an external one.

I can't workaround not having WiFi because I want to use an external monitor.

You're lucky they fixed them. I have a MBP still under AppleCare with 2 almost completely defective keys and they refuse to replace it because of an unrelated scratch on the rear of the top case. It's clear they don't feel any responsibility for their poor design choices.

Both of my newer model Mac keyboards had to be repaired in about a year of usage for the keyboard issue. Obviously glad Apple extended the warranty for this, but only after a lot of pressure. The 2016 and 2017 models should be recalled.

When I go to the Apple store they immediately try to get a compressed air can out to “solve” my issue. It is both hilarious and incredibly insulting.

Why would you waste precious start-up budget on overpriced hardware?

Probably because software engineers who themselves are expensive are used to developing on Mac OS.

Probably cheaper than staff spending time moving, or rewriting code, tools to a new OS, as wages, ie. time, is going to far more expensive than a laptop.

For most the main reason is probably that they like macOS.

i have a mid-2015. i just like it. aluminum body, good screen, i don't mind the keyboard, the trackpad is fantastic. I really want a physical escape key. I've thought about, and can readily afford, a newer model. the 32g memory would be nice.

It has been a long time since i felt like i need to start searching for a linux capable laptop. i've felt like that for a long while though. i consciously know it's not that hard to find quality hardware. I still have some subconscious apprehension. Trying to find a pcmcia network card to work with my thinkpad was such a pain back in the day. i have not so fond memories of trying to compile tulip.c into a kernel module.

MacOS was a breath of fresh air. everything just worked, and i had a real unix to work with. darwin isn't the greatest thing ever, but the hardware was nice. The air is getting kinda stale though. i need to find some hardware and make it right. the apple heyday made me complacent.

I’m transitioning from Mac->Linux laptop. I bit the bullet and bought one with Linux pre installed (statem 76). The hardware is not as good as the Mac book pro but it’s decent. And I was happily surprised that everything just works out of the box. Battery life isn’t great (3 hours with the intel graphics half that with ).

The jetbrains ides work and with so many tools being web based. I miss sequel pro and transmit but not that much(the alternatives aren’t that great). The thing I find is there are fewer options to buy software on Linux which means using the free slightly sub optimal solutions.

I think you can happily do software development on a Linux notebook these day (provided you have a power outlet)

yeah. If I could purchase macOS and run it on another laptop (eg ThinkPad) I would. I'm loving my MBA 2013 (8gb ram, 256ssd)... but it is 6 years old and nothing from Apple makes me want to a hw upgrade.

I gotta be honest here, I get pretty good mileage out of Docker on Hyper-V inside Windows.

I don't bother much with Linux sub-system anymore as I'm almost always pulling in containers anyway these days so I might as well just run real Linux in Docker.

Obviously there's a bunch of reasons why you'd use OSX outside of being Posix-y, but just wanted to share that it's not the same picture as it was (if you've got Hyper-V on your laptop).

> so I might as well just run real Linux in Docker

you mean you'd rather run a HyperV VM which hosts a docker daemon and configure your local docker client to use that VM. (all done automatically with docker for windows/mac)

the downside of that is higher power consumption.

I should clarify - I am using Docker for Windows, which in turn requires and is using Hyper-V, in preference to using WSL.

Arguably the hardware is still worth it. But then there’s the software...

For something as fundamental as keyboard, I don't see how they got it wrong. Already the 2014/2015 rMBP keyboards had less travel but still it is good enough. The newer models are so bad that I find them only slightly better than typing on a touchscreen display of a tablet. I don't understand how they even got it to production. Surely, they would have asked developers internally about experience on the keyboard for extended time.

Thinkpad X1 carbon probably has the best keyboard in that slim form-factor but sadly despite Ubuntu certifying the hardware, I ran into battery issues. Also, support for Ubuntu in general by other apps leaves a lot to be desired still.

I've crossed off all Macbooks from my mental map of future purchases until they fix the keyboard and either get rid of the Touch Bar or make it actually do something useful. If/when my current laptop dies, I have no idea what'd get instead. Probably some other machine with a non-terrible keyboard to turn into a Hackintosh.

The keyboards seem to be getting better. I can’t stand my 2017 MBP, but the 2018 MBP is noticeably better, and the 2018 MBA (which was refreshed after) is noticeably better than that. My hope is that the next generation MBP continues this trend. As for the touchbar, I’m not so sanguine. I can get by on the base machine though, so probably I’ll just stick with that and avoid the TB that way.

The keyboard is fixed on the 2018 MBP

Definitely not fixed.

My 2018 MBP keyboard failed on me twice already. My friend’s has failed 4 times. A third friend has had no issues.

If you get a 2018 MBP, be prepared to take it in for replacement frequently.

Still has shockingly small key travel distance. I have some early symptoms of RSI, so this is actually dangerous for me.

Totally agree. I can’t use my 2017 MBP keyboard for more than a few minutes without feeling pain in my joints. As many others have said, it’s like typing on concrete. I’ve seriously thought about selling my computer and buying a 2018 MBA instead, which feels much nicer in the store.

No, it is not. Check out YouTube, still a lot of complaints, noticeably there's one from unboxtherapy.

The Lenovo Thinkpad X1 Carbon / Dell XPS line should keep you happy.

One thing which prevents me from choosing these is the screen form factor - I find 16:9 to be really uncomfortable for doing any kind of development work. MacBooks traditionally have 16:10, which is notably better. 3:2, as seen on MS/Huawei, is amazing, but their linux support is... flaky.

I have to admit that this was a bigger challenge that I wish I had paid attention to before buying. I have gotten used to it after about a week though. A little more scrolling that I like but not unusable.

For my hardcore coding work I almost never use the laptop screen alone though. Either the laptop is plugged into an external or I am using my desktop rig with 3 monitors.

The X1 Extreme is closer to the MBP and the 2nd generation should be released this spring.

I'm currently typing this response from a ThinkPad X1 Extreme, running Pop_OS.

I've been a faithful MBP user, and before that a faithful PowerBook user. My 2017 MBP was the last straw. While I appreciate Apple extending the warranty on the keyboard, it is entirely impractical for me to continue sending my primary work machine away for 5-7 days for repairs.

I went the with Dell XPS 13 for this refresh cycle. Typing on it now. Running Ubuntu 18.04 and its a great little machine. I can even use my already owned Apple USB-C to HDMI/USB adapter when giving presentations. I had switched in 2017 to using a Linux desktop full time for development and now I have the full Linux laptop again for the first time since switching to the Macbook in graduate school.

There is a bit of personal preference at play, but the XPS isn't quite the same machine as the MacBook Pro/Air 13"

We have a bunch of both machines, and the XPS is much thicker, not quite as deep, the fit/finish aren't even comparable, and the XPS has a plastic 'ring' around the unit that's easily chipped/scratch and they look beat up rather quickly

I considered both, and ended up buying a Razer Blade Stealth 13 - it's literally a black macbook that happens to run windows. The quality is definitely on par if not better(mhmmmm mat screen).

How is Razer's customer service these days? I considered their laptops in the past but was put off by the poor customer service. As much as I think Apple need to fix the MBP, their customer service is some of the best I've seen (albeit not perfect) for an electronics company.

Well, having just purchased the laptop, luckily I have no idea :-D and I hope I won't need to use it anytime soon.

Hehe, let's indeed hope you won't :-) Enjoy the new laptop!

I'm in the same boat but it's really bitter since there is no real competition, is there? I don't want to switch to Linux (sorry, guys!), I don't like Windows and even just in terms of hardware, almost all competing laptops are subtly terrible as well.

Agreed. Not buying a new MBP until they have usable keyboards again.

personal preference: the current Mac keyboard is the Best keyboard I have ever used for programming and email writing. it is leagues ahead of any other keyboard when it comes to speed and comfort.

before the latest Mac keyboard I was a die-hard Thinkpad keyboard fan (x220 none the less). since working on the new Macs it's like I've re-discovered the how good typing can be.

Can you elaborate what you like so much about Apple's butterfly keyboards? I've used every Apple notebook keyboard since 2003 and up until 2015 I was pretty satisfied. The only keyboards I considered better were Thinkpad keyboards. The butterfly keyboard to me is completely unusable due to lack of travel and feedback, so I barely use it. It feels like bashing my fingertips on to a flat surface, hoping for keystrokes to register. I prefer to drag my mechanical keyboard along and use that.

Not the person you asked, but I also like typing on the new keyboards. I find I can type faster with the low travel. My fingers tend to glide over the keys instead of mashing them. If you routinely move from a long travel to the a low travel keyboard I can understand an adjustment period. Now when I type on other keyboards they all feel mushy and require so much strike effort that I have to adjust.

What I don't like is the well documented reliability issues, and the how loud they were on the 2017 model.

This really sums up my opinion too. I feel like, even for many folks that end up liking the keyboards, it takes a couple of weeks to learn not to push so hard on the keys. That's certainly what it was like for me. But I like it now.

I just bought a ThinkPad T480 to replace my 2011 MBP that had been upgraded over the years. I couldn't justify spending $3k on a laptop with such a crappy keyboard.

Yes! I have that laptop and if it breaks I’ll try to somehow buy the same model again. It was perfect. The new ones feel so bad that I prefer the feel of the bottom of the barrel Acer laptop keyboards to the high end Apple ones.

I have a 2015 with screengate issue. Basically the anti glare peeling off with regular use. Solved by removing the whole coating with Clorex cause can’t give in the laptop for 5 days.

Dangers of living on the edge.

Apple is also oblivious because the new model still flies off the shelves.

I'm with you. I've been on my 5S since it released. Why? The small form factor + it still works really well.

I'm only just starting to notice some slow down that is annoying me, so I will be upgrading to the SE.

Like you, I sure hope their analytics shows that I could have updated all along to ANY of the phones, but after all these years, I chose the SE. Oh, and I tried Android too. Hard to explain why, but it just wasn't for me.

I had an SE for two years and cracked the screen. It turned out that Apple didn't repair the screen anymore. So for slightly more ($115?), they gave me a new 64GB SE. My only complaint was that I hadn't recently backed up my old one but that was on me.

The 4" SE is the perfect size for me. It's the best cell phone I've ever had.

How did you crack the screen if I may ask? My kids have thrown my SE across the room without cracking

If it falls on a road (like mine) with some pebbles, you are likely out of luck. It is not the height/force but the spikes.

>If it falls on a road (like mine) with some pebbles, you are likely out of luck. It is not the height/force but the spikes.

Fortunately spare parts cost peanuts and the SE is incredibly easy to fix. A new digitizer is 20 bucks on Amazon (with a toolkit including everything you need). $10 for a new battery. And replacing both of those requires two screws and 10 minutes of effort. I've replaced almost every part in mine short of the mainboard.


This. I went two years without a scratch. I dropped it facedown getting out of the car. It probably hit a pebble but I didn't dust the area for fingerprints.

Continue to hold your SE, as I do. You are a statistic to Apple, and keeping your phone helps. Eventually they will get the message that people like the SE form factor and will do something (finally).

I've commented in previous threads about this. To sum up: My advice is to look at Xperia Compact. It's Android with pretty small modifications from Sony (most you won't notice really, like a bunch of their pre-installed apps). It has awesome battery time, it's small and generally good. It's not top performance, but I doubt most people need that anymore. The only downside is you don't get a top camera (although an okay one - Sony is a camera company after all).

Sony Xperia XZ1 Compact (G8441) - it has a headphone jack, it runs Android Pie, the camera is terrific.

I went from an SE to a Samsung S10e last week. Android certainly takes a while to get used to and configure the way I want, but I'm starting to like it more and more. Specifically, I can use this phone one-handed for everything I want on the go, without requiring any accessibility mode. Samsung and app developers seem to have improved a lot in making the important things accessible from the lower two thirds of the screen. With that in mind, having all that screen space, battery life and performance while not loosing any of the SEs features (headphone jack), has really convinced me that this is the way to go. Plus, I get dual sim and SD card support should I need it.

Samsung S10e has the same size screen as the iPhone XS - 5.8 inch - no?

Yes. But that's my point - with current software this works out well for me, both on the go and at office / home. I thought it would be a bigger issue when I had the SE.

Same diameter doesn't mean same area. Different aspect ratios can cause differences in sizes anyway (this was used by the PC industry at the time when they switched from 4:3 to 19:9. Same diameter, smaller panels, ads looked better).

So yes, both phnes are 5.8", but S10e is 82.8cm^2, while XS is 84.4 cm^2 (XS: larger display). S10e has 83.3% screen-to-body ratio, XS 82.9% (XS: larger body, the display takes less space than the proportion of the body size differences).

TL;DR: despite the same diagonal, S10e is slightly smaller than XS.

It's not just the size, which is prefect for a phone where you intentionally want to limit the screen time and to limit the total weight

- There's an earphone jack.

- The battery consumption is reasonable.

- It has completely flat backside, so it's usable without the case.

- It's easier to repair.

- It can be put standing on its side for a photo triggered by a timer.

I also don't know how to "signal" that I like it in any other way than by keeping using it. The users like me are obviously not a majority.

It's possible to repair this? My iPhone SE's sleep / wake button died just last Friday. I took it to an Apple store and they basically said my only options were to buy a refurbished phone or a new phone.

I am assuming you do not mean the “home” button. If so, when I had an old iPhone 5 with a broken power (sleep/wake) button, I turned on AssistiveTouch to be able to lock the screen and reboot without using the janked power button. Without that, I would have had to buy a new phone.


Try an independent repair place. They can't fix everything but the front panel is usually fixable. I actually own 2 SE. Whenever the battery on one gets bad or I crack the screen I take it in for repair, get the other one out, put the repaired one back in a box in my closet.

Same here, I've had my SE for some 3 years now. Holding out hope they come out with a sub 5" X.

I switched from Android to the iPhone SE purely for the size and form factor. iOS took a little getting used to but it's great.

4 years ago I gave my aunt 5S as a present, then 2 years later bought her a 64GB 6S. Last I saw her she was still using 5S and the new phone, while being superior hardware wise, is sitting in the drawer - "too big".

>I tried Android for a while but it was Samsung’s Android and was not for me, I was frustrated and annoyed after every interaction with my phone.

Understandable. Why didn't you try a Sony compact?

As an aside I'm glad I'm not the only one having less-than-perfect airpod reception with my SE. My guess is that they just didn't take the airpods required level of connectivity in mind when designing the SE but then decided that it was "good enough" to market as compatible.

Regardless, the airpods work flawlessly indoors and only cut out a bit when walking around the city.

> How else can I show my support to the small phone factor?

Buy all of them. If Apple saw the SE refurbished stocks are going within a short amount of time, it might tip them off that small form factor is still a thing in mobile phones these days and maybe they reverse their decision to discontinue the small form factor phones.

I'm just riding my old Android 5x ... not having fun, want to switch to Apple (for a variety of reasons) but man wanting a smaller phone these days with a top of the line camera, and just reasonable performance doesn't seem like I'm asking much.

I suppose you still weight less than people settling for and people wishing for larger size.

I am using a 4.7inch z5c.

i was in the same situation.

then i tried an iphone x.

it solved my problem: - small phone - huge screen - fast

Yepp - I liked the iPhone SE for its form factor, but the display was way too small.

For me, the iPhone X has the perfect size-to-display ratio. And as it's already a discontinued product, you can get it for an "okay-ish" price at around 690€ on your favourite auction website here in europe.

I 'downgraded' from an iPhone XS to an iPhone SE. I had misplaced my XS and got an SE temporarily. Best thing to have ever happened - the iPhone SE is the best iPhone apple has ever made.

So much so that I have an XS and the SE and cannot get back to the XS.

I know HN has some weird opinions sometimes that aren't representative of a majority. But I genuinely think if people used this or gave it a shot they wouldn't switch back.

I actually got an X for my bday shortly after they came out. Used it for about 10 days, then on a lark popped my SIM back into my SE before I was going to sell it. The next day I returned the X to my local Apple store and bought a guitar with that $$, knowing that I probably wouldn't be buying another phone for awhile.

As a Phone, a Communication Devices, and Social Network, I could may be want the iPhone SE had an Edge to Edge Design, but other than that I agree it is perfect.

As a Media Consumption devices, that is mostly video and Gaming. The iPhone SE size just doesn't work.

Sometimes I kept thinking if I just ditch gaming and I could have a smaller phone. Hopefully Apple will come up with a 5" Full Display SE size iPhone, and thinner too. They could have an extra $100 BOM budget for some insane battery tech.

>I could may be want the iPhone SE had an Edge to Edge Design

Why? So you can accidentally tap the screen every day with the edge of your fingers as you hold the device?

This would be an especially pronounced problem on a small form factor when your hand has so much more … edge … to accidentally touch.

It's why I don't quite understand the Galaxy Edge.

I loved my old Moto RAZR-i which was almost the same size and weight as the iPhone SE but had a larger screen area (51 cm2 vs 44 cm2) in a slightly different resolution (540x960 vs 640x1136) and AMOLED instead of LCD.

What was really interesting is that the Moto physical design almost seems like a premonition of today's notched displays and thin bezels. If you built it today but removed the bit of border at the top and bottom of the screen, you could cram in even more screen. If you also made it just a few mm wider, I think you could make a great compact phone with approximately 5" screen.

I think the side bezels could also be half as thick, as long as they were a slightly raised. I think you could also disable the touch sensitivity in the very edges of the screen without compromising the UX. I want to see extra pixels for border around text, etc. but I don't really need to be able to click or drag the border itself.

A major part of why I like the SE design so much is that I can easily one-hand it. An edge to edge screen would be actively antagonistic to that feature, at least sideways.

There's room to gain some extra vertical real estate, though it would presumably involve getting rid of the home button and going with a notched screen. I'm ambivalent about the desirability of either option from a pure hardware perspective. I like being able to get a secure grip on my phone by putting my thumb somewhere that isn't touch-sensitive, especially when I'm doing something like trying to use my phone on a crowded train. But, where so many UI people (including Apple's own) have taken to being actively wasteful of vertical real estate these days, I can also see where it might still be a net positive insofar as it would mitigate some of the UX damage they've been doing.

> Hopefully Apple will come up with a 5" Full Display SE size iPhon

With 5” display it’s not going to be a SE, but just another big iPhone.

I think he meant 5" without bezels. That way you'd get to utilize more screen space within the small form factor.

I got an iPhone 7 after I cracked my SE and couldn't switch back to SE. 7/8 (regular, not S) have the perfect size (both the screen and the phone in general) for my hand - not too small and I'm still able to reach the upper left corner with my right thumb when holding it.

The SE screen is almost comically small when compared to its bigger brothers. I have problems typing quickly on it, too - and I don't have particularly large hands. Maybe it's not a problem for DEX builds though.

I could never go back to using a small phone like that after moving to the max-sized iPhones. I think if my hands were smaller..

I'm in the same boat. The iPhone X is in my dresser drawer waiting to be sold.

I love the SE and happily await an SE profile phone with a design closer to the X.

To everyone else questioning their X and Plus and Max choices: swipe down at the bottom of the screen to cut the screen size in half

Really negates all large screen size criticisms for me

Honestly get the feeling that nobody knows this, I guess it is an anti-pattern, it may even have to be enabled - which is just a software toggle away from being default then

Aside from that I LOVE the traction and friction that the X models have, compared to the prior design which would seem to slip out of my hand and required a case. Now I think people are just used to using cases for their precious, but the X models don't slide in my hand at all.

Love the depth cameras plural, love how the notch is handled in full screen which goes into how I love how the screen's blacks blend right in to the device's black, if you get a model of that color.

It's actually enabled by default, but myself and most I've talked to about it disable it because it happens by accident way too much during normal use.

Hm wonder how that happens, I wonder if people with smaller hands are swiping down that low on the screen for normal operation

My thumb reaches the upper middle but not the top. so just occasionally am I making the screen half size.

My last iPhone was a 4s, it's been a while since I switched to Android. I sometimes think about switching back, and one of the things that attracts me is my wife's SE, it's a really great phone in a fantastic, convenient form-factor.

I have gotten gradually larger phones since my 4s, but I've recently started to use my phone less, and do so less impulsively, and I feel like switching to a smaller, but very capable phone like the SE would suit me very well.

The one thing that Apple does well is prolonged support for their phones. I switched away from Android phones because I got sick of buying the latest flagships only to have them lose software, hardware, and security support 12-24 months after release.

The new iPhones don't appeal to me, but I'm satisfied knowing I can get a few more years out of my SE. I got my battery replaced 4 months ago after owning it for two years and its been running like new since on the latest version of iOS.

I’m not so sure anymore - I have a 3.5 year old iPhone 6s, and replaced the battery with a brand new on from the Apple store not 6 months ago - already, the new battery is worse than the old one a year into the phones life. Random shut offs at 10% and not getting through a day are regular occurances, something that didn’t happen at all the first 2 years

I'd say that you have a faulty battery. The iPhone 6s doesn't have the best battery life, but you should get at least one year of heavy usage before any noticeable degradation and 2 years of normal usage.

I'm having the same exact experience. I'm considering heading to the Apple store and asking for a fresh battery replacement.

I don't want to give up my headphone jack.

You may be eligable for a free battery replacement - there is a known issue with some 6S batteries: https://www.apple.com/support/iphone6s-unexpectedshutdown/

iPhone 6s Plus here - I don’t want to give up the button, Touch ID, force touch, or the headphone jack.

Edit: added force touch

Force touch works on the latest iPhones, except for the XR

If that's true Apple should replace it for you. Check the battery percentage. I've anecdotally heard if it's draining unusually fast they'll replace it free of charge.

I will add another anecdotal hearing to this, because they did in fact replace an iPhone free of charge for me a few years ago when the battery was draining too fast. (And also a MacBook Pro battery, back in the dim forgotten era when such things were user-replaceable.)

They didn’t for me when the first one was having trouble - I had to use the $29 replacement offer after a lawsuit to get this one. Am not thinking a replacement will actually improve it.

I got a free iPhone 6s battery replacement. Check your serial number here https://www.apple.com/support/iphone6s-unexpectedshutdown/

I had the same problem. The iPhone later even randomly shut off a few weeks afterwards because the battery started to curve. I went to the Apple store and got a brand new one for the cost of the reduced battery replacement. It‘s apparently a known problem for the S6 to Apple

Do you have the "performance management" feature disabled? (aka cpu throttling for battery issues)

A few years ago this was always-on, If you disabled it now, this would be a difference to your first battery experience.

(just a guess though, I don't have an iPhone)

It turned itself on because the battery “couldn’t deliver peak power” and shut off at 12%

That sounds more like there's another hardware issue with your phone than it sounds like a systemic issue with Apple.

What is the battery health percentage?

91% now.

I have a Samsung S7 from march 2016 and just received the march 2019 security update. Not bad ;)

Oneplus 3 here from Jun 2016. Official Android 9 pie is currently in beta. For a cheaper than most big name brands they got good support.

The Nokia 6 was released back in January 2017 and is still seeing major OS upgrades (most recently to Android 9 Pie).

I would expect a larger, much higher volume vendor like Samsung to do more than security patches for older phones considering that a smaller player like Nokia can keep up. It isn't a herculean task!

Pretty sure my next device will be a Nokia or iPhone due to the long term software support.

BTW they don't refuse to bring updates to old phones because it seems like a "herculean task" but to get people to buy new phones. Welcome to our economy.

The nice thing about Apple (though I hate the fanboyism and many other things the company does) is that they managed to do what nobody else did: keeping that 5s running until today (!)

I've never seen an Android that would get updates for more than 2 years (can anyone beat this with 3?) so just using an iPhone as long as it lasts is better for environment.

Some statistics about supported software on iPhones: https://www.statista.com/chart/5824/ios-iphone-compatibility...

Guide to Greener Electronics (Greenpeace): https://secured-static.greenpeace.org/austria/Global/austria...

> I've never seen an Android that would get updates for more than 2 years (can anyone beat this with 3?)

That depends: Are you looking for updates to the new version or security updates?

Android One program gives you two years of regular updates, plus an additional year of security updates. My Nexus 5X received two major updates (from 6.0 to 8.0), but I kept using it until the security updates stopped. That's essentially three years of support.

Ok that's a good start for the Android world... But it still won't convince me to buy another phone that is based on this OS.

My crappy old iPhone 5s is _still_ supported today - not just security patches but the OS as well. While providers like fairphone do a good job with their supply chain I'm afraid the longevity of this phone is still better for the environment.

It's a lot easier for Nokia to do that because they use a version of Android that's basically stock. Samsung re-skins the UI and adds a bunch of features, so every time they upgrade to a new version of Android, they have to re-apply all those patches. (of course, whether they should do that is another question...)

That's part of the problem and why I rather not buy highly custumized versions of Android.

Given how android has been developing I'm happy to have done features from OEMs that google hasn't added yet.

>Pretty sure my next device will be a Nokia or iPhone due to the long term software support.

Wouldn't rule out Motorola (Lenovo) as well. They are the only manufacturer selling parts for their phones directly, have models in the android one line, and offer bootloader unlock (so you could move to a custom rom once they discontinue)

Motorola's software updates for their phones are quite bad, they lag when the phone is new and they stop completely way too soon.

For Android hobbyists the unlocked bootloader may be fun, but there is no low-maintainance (timely and reliable OTAs without wiping/reinstallnig, etc) OS option if you go that route.

Understand, I said Android One phones from them. I have a moto x4, it gets monthly security updates just like the Nokia. No skin aside from a few useful gestures.

I want more than monthly security updates, if the OEM won't stand by their product for at least a few Android version bumps, its not worth buying.

Also, watching my SO try and repair their Motorola was a nightmare. It ultimately got further damaged in the process, to the point that the phone no longer had a working screen :c

I appreciate the parts availability but their long term software support is atrocious. The G5 plus for example got Oreo over a year after Oreo came out, and that is the only version update it will ever get.

That's why I said to buy an Android One phone from them. The X4 doesn't have this problem as it gets software updaates monthly from Google.

I loved the Moto G series and bought multiple for friends and family, but now moved to the Nokia since they hardly customise it and the upgrades have been timely.

This is Android P that was released 7 months ago?

Nope, OP is talking about basic security patches, not Android version bumps. The S7 is stuck at Android 8 Oreo, and it would be a surprise if Samsung upgraded that to 8.1 or 9 (Pie).

Samsung is one of the worst vendors when it comes to Android updates, only flagship phones will see any major updates, generally for less than 2 years.

I don't intend to dispute this claim. In fact, it's still correct. And I'm biased, I've got a Samsung phone.

Still, opinion improved a bit when my S8+ got a march 2019 update which upgraded it to Android 9.0 (phone shipped with Android 7 in May 2017) and basically the same features/skin as what's just been released on the S10 lineup. Makes me hopeful that maybe they are improving their update game going forward.

I have a note 3 that pretty much doesn't work anymore as i'm stuck on android 4.

Note 3 can’t get to Android 5? I have one too. But the battery expanded and I haven’t used it in a while. But even back then it was getting pretty bad being on Android 4.

Same reason I switched from Android to iPhone SE last year. Regular security updates, perfect form factor and I don't have to mess with MicroG to avoid Google anymore.

Planning to buy a second one when apple decides to sunset the device.

Yea, that's one thing that I envy Apple for. I legitimately still use the iPhone 4S as my daily driver. It had software updates for around 5 years and has iOS 9. Still works as an alarm clock, a music player, and for everything else I use it for.

But it's also important to consider that lack of Android upgrades are also slightly disregardable, as API and app level updates will exist for years, and the majority of older phones support custom ROMs. I understand how that's not the ideal use case for people, just providing my own take on things.

I think I just have less patience for tinkering as I've gotten older (which is unfortunate in of itself, but I digress). I used to use custom ROMs on old Android phones that were no longer officially supported, but I got tired of the random and unpreventable soft bricks that would occur every few months. I overslept an important appointment because my old Nexus 5X soft bricked overnight and the alarm never went off. That phone ended up dying due to a widespread motherboard issue, one month after the hardware warranty expired.

I used to roll my eyes at my dad's frustration with his crappy old Windows desktops when I was a kid, but now I understand how he felt. I just want something that works and that I can depend on and use for basic tasks.

I was the same way and then stopped fucking with the roms when a car accident happened in front of me and I discovered dialing 911 crashed the rom I had. Testing later showed 100% crash rate on 911 calls. It was the most popular rom at the time for my version of the s5 as well...

That's terrifying! I stopped tinkering with ROMs because the one I was on would crash a call 5-10 minutes in. Calls are usually short, so it didn't bug me until it crashed twice during a long call with my parents. I realized my phone had become really bad at being a phone.

I switched to iOS shortly after because when using stock all my Google apps would constantly throw warnings that I had denied location services. Even apps like Gmail would prompt me with every new send.

Wow, that's a serious bug! Shame the car accident

Yeah tinkering just doesn’t feel worth it. I’d love for there to be a simple way to get custom more up to date ROMs onto older Androids. But right now it seems cumbersome still. I just want things to work too.

The issues you mentioned like the soft bricking sucks.

First off, having to do all the research and cumbersome work for the ROMs and such. I don’t like doing it. And I don’t want to spend time doing it. Especially with all the issues that can arise.

On to iPhones. I have an iPhone 4S on iOS 9 too. It’s jailbroken because the sleep button doesn’t work so I needed a work around. It’s too slow for me though. Great if you don’t want to be able to use your phone much. Otherwise the wait to load apps and the limited or weird acting ram is annoying. Nonetheless when I want to try reducing my digital “addiction” I can get by using it. My friends find it too slow to even use for more than 2 min.

On the other hand, I also had a chance to use an iPhone 5 or 5S in the summer. It was perfectly usable. Fast enough and not that old of an OS (I think iOS 10) to be useless for downloading new apps.

That leaves users wide open to the quintillions of security issues with older Android which will never be patched, though.

Recently updated my nephews One Plus 3 from 2016. The software updates are even tested on the old hardware. You can also send any of their previous phones in for repair, the repair costs are listed online and actually reasonable.

Even after the security updates stop, the phone is fairly hardened. I’ll probably keep the phone and disable JavaScript on Safari.

that's a funny thing to say when coming right out of a scandal where they admitted to slowing down older phones. I know they have their reasons; not having told people is still unacceptable

This was my favourite phone. Fast. Stable. Flat, easy-to-grip sides and a screen size designed to impress me, not Samsung executives. If they gave it new internals and electronic SIM capabilities, I’d pay $1,000 for it.

Why would you ever want eSIM support? The very existence of eSIM is completely antithetical to reason SIM cards were created in the first place. Without physical SIM cards, you're forced to grovel to your wireless provider to please provision your phone, and they can refuse to do so for any reason. With SIM cards, there's no limit to what devices you can use on what networks, outside of hardware ones.

I find it ridiculous that companies are positioning eSIM as "innovative" -- we already had the exact same thing in the US back with CDMA, and it was awful. eSIM is no different.

Largely for travel: the iPhone XS (at least) supports one physical SIM _and_ one eSIM, so you can use the physical SIM with your primary carrier and then sign up for temporary eSIM packages while travelling to keep data without exorbitant roaming fees.

I always thought of it the other way around: eSIM for primary, while using the secondary physical SIM slot for using local SIM cards while travelling.

Ideally either approach would work, it’d really depend on how mobile service providers around the world adopt eSIM.

In some countries it's very hard to get a local SIM card -- eg. in Germany a few years back (before EU limit on roaming fees) I struggled to get a prepaid SIM and activate it. You need to provide name and address to activate it, and they somehow check it, so they did not accept the address of the hotel...

I guess that would be easier with eSIM, because you could buy a plan that's targeted at travellers (instead of locals), and you wouldn't be limited to the SIM card selection they sell at the gas station.

The providers don't ask for that information because they want to, they do it because they have to by law. You'll have the exact same issue with eSIMs.

The carriers could still sell you a SIM and plan, but the administrative overhead for verifying the information of foreigners is probably deemed too large to still make these short term plans profitable by their metrics.

I don't see how it would be easier necessarily as I assume the rules in countries that make it hard to buy some cards as a visitor, would apply to companies selling esims too.

Many android phones offer dual SIM trays which shouldn't even preclude the ability to offer esim.

The regulations don't preclude selling SIM cards to people who live in a hotel. It's just that the incumbents don't care enough about travellers to make it easy because they are too small of a market.

With esim, the barrier to entry is lower -- a virtual mobile network operator could target travellers and make it easy to get a temporary SIM, without having to first build up a huge distribution network for physical SIM cards.

It would even make it possible to get a temporary SIM card from a different country, which would circumvent some of the restrictive regulations (eg. Germany requires registration with address for phones registered in Germany but allows you to use an "anonymous" phone registered in another country.)

This has been my experience - it's much easier to find a traveller-focused eSIM package - they just show up as options when you land somewhere.

The current iPhones with eSIM support also have a normal nanoSIM slot, nothing stopping you from using that instead. eSIM doesn’t take away any flexibility or functionality.

At least with my provider (AT&T), it's the same with SIM cards. They associate the SIM with the phone, and you can't just swap the SIM into a new phone. Last time I did this, I had to actually go into the store in order to get a brand new SIM paired to my account and the new phone, and the old one was permanently de-activated and thrown in the trash.

I'm assuming it's a move to try and make life inconvenient for people who want to buy used phones instead of getting a new one through them.

My experience (with AT&T prepaid in the US) is that SIM cards are associated with IMEIs and don't work with a new IMEI without my phone company approving it. So it's not functionally different from CDMA. CDMA was fine; the overhead of swapping phones when I was on CDMA is comparable to the current overhead, and I don't recall anything else I missed from not having a physical SIM card.

Off the top of my head, I can't recall running into this anywhere I've been in the world (excluding the US) in the last few years. I carry a beater Android phone when I travel and I often swap it in for my iPhone in situations where I'm afraid I might lose or damage my phone (or it might get pickpocketed) and it's usually a seamless process with local prepaid SIMs.

This was regulated in the EU at some point. You’re no longer allowed to sell locked down phones.


Sprint (and its resellers) is the only carrier in US with a technical reason to pair sim to device and it's because they rolled out their tech in such a wonky way that they now have 4 or 5 versions of same sized sim card in order to support all proprietary weirdness in each device.

Having worked for att I can say this is definetely not the case, the sim card will work with any imei.

Ideally eSIM would allow you to switch provider more easily.

IDK with Google Fi, on a new phone I just install to the app, am auto signed in, takes a minute to connect, then am good to go. No small nano SIM to lose, no finding paperclips, no need to open the phone. Feels pretty slick.

This is related to a pretty good example of why eSim fails in practice! You cannot use a Google Fi data sim with an Apple Watch (the cellular version, that is). Since the Apple Watch (Cellular) version uses an eSim, it's tied to explicit network support, and therefore won't work. If it took a normal SIM I could just put my Fi data sim in and be good to go.

I don't think there's an argument to say it can't be great, but, if all carriers move over the eSIM then they could easily limit the devices they will allow on their network - that would suck.

I feel like you’re ignoring that almost all telecommunications companies lock you out of using alternative sims on devices they sold you.

That ship already sailed when Apple introduced the concept of "locked" phones.

Was that an Apple concept? I think it was common quite some time before the first iPhone, at least in the US market.

Fair point. How about:

That ship already sailed when the concept of "locked phones" was introduced. A concept Apple already bought into with the first iPhone.

Not an Apple concept. E.g. Nokia had it before; my 3210, bought in the late 90s, was locked.

It is probably the nicest phone ever in regards to size/screen/weight. I wish they would give it a hardware bump too to keep it competitive.

Agreed. Its form factor is insanely useful and comfortable. I hope we see a hardware update. Especially if they can get a thumbprint reader in the display.

Like many other comments, if they give bezel-less display, in screen touch-id, I think a lot of people would buy it. Not really sure what stats they're getting saying that the SE isn't profitable, but I still use it to this day and think it's a tank of a phone.

Counterpoint: I do not want a bezel-less screen. Not only does it ruin the iPhone’s iconic design, but it removes a “safe” area where you can rest your fingers without obscuring any content nor interacting with it.

I hate both my XS and X for this reason (along the lack of physical home button and Touch ID). There’s just no “right” way to handle that phone like there is with the previous generations, every attempt at holding it is a compromise on which content you’re obscuring on the screen.

You're probably right. I've thought about that in the back of my mind, but just like how some people's hands rest on the 15" Macbook pro, I figured Apple would implement accidental touch software. And I've never extensively used a bezel-less phone (current still on the SE).

At the end of the day, if accidental touches can be taken care of, you'll get a phone that's more aesthetically pleasing and more screen real estate to do whatever.

I’ve used an iPhone X and XS. Touches on the bottom part of the screen (which replaces the home button) don’t interfere with touches on the other parts of the screen (so you can keep your finger on there and still use the phone), however they aren’t ignored per-se and will still trigger some events like bringing up the controls on the media player or something.

Not a dealbreaker but honestly I still prefer true safe-zones where there’s no way the phone can feel anything on there.

This could be addressed with software. I assume that’s what’s going on in sci-fi adaptations of “smart slates”. They’re clearly a powerful platform, but it’s all for nothing without the right UI.

Honestly, unless software can read my mind to tell whether I intended the touch to be registered or not, I'd rather not have that.

No software solution is going to be 100% prefect and you'll end up with either degraded experiences (as an example, when you tap a link on iOS, there's a bit of latency - this is because it's waiting to see if it will be a double tap), or dangerous mistakes where it will still register touches that weren't intended.

As our phones contain more and more data and bear privileged access to a lot of systems (work, etc), an accidental touch can sometimes be disastrous. I have a friend for example that's a complete idiot with tech and never locks her phone despite holding it by the screen and pressing random stuff on it. Eventually she accidentally pressed the voice message button on WhatsApp and ended up sending a good 5 minutes of a very private conversation to a stranger.

>It is probably the nicest phone ever in regards to size/screen/weight. I wish they would give it a hardware bump too to keep it competitive.

The SE can literally play Fortnite. How much more hardware do you need to be "competitive"?

Much as I love the small phone (I had a 5S and an SE) ... the link is for the refurb store.

So this isn't anything about Apple restarting production of these - just that they've had some returned that they are now reselling. If you want one, it's probably the best way to get hold of one, but it's not a long-term, or even medium-term solution to the "no decent small phone available" problem.

These are NOT refurbished iPhone SEs, these are new iPhone SEs. They are only in the refurbished section of the store because Apple just didn't bother making a dedicated section for clearance products. If you look at a product listing for an actually refurbished iPhone, you'll see that it's clearly labeled as refurbished in the title and description. [1] The iPhone SE listings are not labeled as such.

[1]: https://www.apple.com/shop/product/FN492LL/A/Refurbished-iPh...

5S was the perfect size, if only it could run Linux.

What I like to use is:

  - Blink shell
  - hooked to a tmux session
  - connected with Mosh
  - over a ZeroTier network
  - to a UNIX machine in the cloud or at home (Linux, macOS, whatever).
The effect is a really snappy and powerful shell in a full UNIX system that stays up and connected even though your connection is dropped or moves from wifi to cellular, and your networks still stay closed and secure.

It's not the same as running Linux on the phone. However, in some respects it's better. It's trivially easy to move the session to another device (phone/tablet, or computer), and you don't need to use the phone's battery for processing. And you can summon a ton of computing power if you need to.

Blink shell, an iOS terminal emulator: https://www.blink.sh

tmux is like screen. It's a bit arcane at first but it's worth it. (Mouse scrollback is recommended. It works inside blink.) Introduction: https://hackernoon.com/a-gentle-introduction-to-tmux-8d784c4...

mosh enhances ssh and adds roaming, supports intermittent connectivity, and cuts perceived lag a lot by being smarter about the interface vs. the network roundtrip. (It works kind of like a online game engine that predicts network events). https://mosh.org

ZeroTier is an open-source secure virtual network layer that's good at hole punching so you can just have the real network completely walled off: https://www.zerotier.com/

I also love BlinkShell and Mosh which is what makes using iOS as a dev/admin front-end setup workable

how the hell do people use a cli on a phone

Try it! It’s worth having.

Plus: Bluetooth keyboards work, and you can connect to external displays with, say, an HDMI dongle or AirPlay.

Check out iSH, it's an Alpine Linux VM for iOS. It's a great SSH client.

The readme is terrifying though - at the bottom, the author admits how difficult it has become to debug, which makes me wonder if it's worth devoting my time to it if they will eventually grow tired of keeping the project up to date. It is difficult to get other contributors to adopt difficult code.

If you jailbreak your phone, you can duel-boot iOS and Android on some models, but its a sub-par experience.

I've had an iPhone SE for about 2 years now and I dread the day that I will have to replace this phone. Is it possible to buy a couple more right now and just store them in a cool dry place for the next 5 - 10 years? Would the battery life, etc, still be good?

Lithium-Ion batteries degrade even without use. So the battery wouldn't be as good as new anymore.

But a lot of factors affect battery degradation. State of charge is probably the easiest -- make sure that the battery is not full, and make sure they don't run empty either (check the charge every couple of months or so to make sure they don't get empty).

I'm not sure what charge percentage and temperature is best for storing, but around 50% to 70% and a cool, but not freezing room is probably a good idea. I'd assume that the fridge is too cold, but I don't have any data to back that up.

In 5-10 years your biggest problem would be no more OS updates and no security updates.

Or app developers not updating their apps for smaller phones. When the minority of people cause the majority of the work, app devs tend to ship even if it's broken. Firefox is a great example: many sites are working great in Safari / Chrome, but are broken / not as nice when viewed in Firefox. Again, Firefox is used by considerably less people.

It's not even that alone, it's app developers both dropping support for the old OS in new versions of their app, and then actively disabling old versions of their app.

This was what ultimately did in my last iPhone. I kept it well past when iOS upgrades ended, and over time apps stopped working. At first it was stuff that's pretty easy to let go of. My mobile provider's app was the first to go, but I could still do everything I wanted through their website. Eventually it starts to be stuff that's sort of the whole reason you own a smartphone instead of a dumb phone.

I am certain Apple will continue selling SE or something similar. They sort of got the message from their users. There will be much better phones in 5-6 years, hopefully with amazing battery life.

How do you know they got the message? There has been no indication of any major phone company making a phone in this form factor that even comes close. If there were, I'd love to know about it.

I switched from Android to iOS just for the iPhone SE form factor. At the time, there was no other decent phone in its size. Three years later, the situation hasn't changed. As my SE ages, I'm wondering what I will ever use next.

Why do you think things will change in 5 to 6 years? Is your optimism justified by anything?

>How do you know they got the message?

Well, it is back in stock after all.

But it's the same old hardware in the clearance section of their website. We want an updated version of the iPhone SE, the so-called SE2, with new internals. Not to mention, some promise that iOS updates will continue to be supported.

I'm using a 6 year old iPhone 5. The batteries go but that's not a problem as they are easy to replace. The thing that is a problem is some new software won't work if you don't have a 64 bit processor. I can't catch Pokemon any more! Otherwise good.

I wouldn't actually recommend storing a SE. Just repair your present one and if it croaks buy a good used on on eBay.

Third-party replacement batteries will most likely keep being produced for ages still.

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