Apple Inc (AAPL) iPhone SE vs. iPhone 5S: The Emperor In New Clothes?

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Is the new Apple iPhone an improvement worth buying over its predecessor?

After Apple’s March 21 event, there has been a lot of talk about whether or not the iPhone SE meets expectations. So far, the iPhone has proven itself to be a worthy upgrade to its predecessor, but nothing more.

In order to come to a better conclusion and to see whether the iPhone SE holds its ground, it is necessary to compare it to its predecessor, the iPhone 5S, a device that has been in the market for as much as 2 ½ years and counting.

For starters, both phones have the same screen size and resolution, each of them has a 4-inch screen and sport a Retina resolution of 1136 x 640. Additionally, its screen-to-body ration is the same, while both devices support multi-touch support. In other words, there is really no difference between the iPhone SE and 5S when it comes to the display.

Unlike the iPhone 5S, which has three variations: 16GB, 32GB and the 64GB, the latest iteration has two: 16GB and the 64GB. The iPhone SE may have disappointed some hardcore fans of the iPhone 5 form factor, but Apple insists that storage is not that much of a problem considering how optimized apps are nowadays when it comes to their data footprint, along with the inclusion of the iCloud and the significant growth that one can see of cloud-based services and applications.

The real difference between the two devices lies within their chipset, CPU, GPU and RAM. The iPhone 5S has an A7 chipset with 1.3GHz dual-core Cyclone processor, while the iPhone SE has an A9 chipset with a 1.84GHz dual-core Twister processor which is as much as 2 times as fast as its predecessor. The iPhone 5S comes equipped with 1GB of RAM and a PowerVR G6430 quad-core GPU, while the iPhone SE has 2GB of RAM and has a PowerVR GT7600 six-core GPU instead. There is no doubt the iPhone SE has better specs in comparison to its predecessor, but seeing how Apple’s devices are highly optimized and coupled with the fact that support for iOS 9.3 runs all the way to the iPhone 4S, the iPhone SE, while an impressive upgrade is hardly a game changer when it comes to processing throughput with its older sibling having at least a year or more of life in it even with its aging chipset.

In conclusion, as mentioned earlier, the real difference between the iPhone SE and the 5S is that it has better hardware internals, and it seems as though Apple is reselling the same product all over again, with the iPhone 6S in the shell of an iPhone 5S in general. Though the iPhone SE does boast a better 12 megapixel rear camera in comparison to iPhone 5S’s 8 megapixel rear camera, the iPhone SE is essentially targeting a different market niche.  It is safe to say that the iPhone SE is a selective investment at best, and most iPhone users would fare better waiting for the iPhone 7, which, if it follows patterns, should be available around the 3rd quarter of 2016.

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