Apple has been known for both its spectacular successes and its sometimes spectacular, though forward thinking failures.
Innovation, unfortunately, is often married to failure, though failure to innovate is even more destructive. A huge complaint that people have had about Apple in recent years since Steve Jobs died, is that the iPhone in particular, while continuing to be a stable mobile platform, has been very limited as far as design is concerned.
The iPhone spurred a huge technical and social revolution, and its release changed the way the world has worked in less than a decade. The things that computers were just marginally competent at doing now can be done intuitively and in your hand.
It comes as no surprise that while the iPhone 6 generation is mostly praiseworthy, there seems to be a fundamental lack of real game changing innovation.
Maybe that’s why it comes as a bit of a surprise that the newly unveiled iPhone SE is basically iPhone 6s hardware, inside of an iPhone 5 case. It’s like a reverse turducken of iPhones, yet instead of ruining three to four otherwise delicious birds, the SE actually addresses a huge problem that consumers have had with the iPhone in recent years.
The iPhone 6 generation, in particular, has seen a wave of fatigue surrounding the idea that bigger is better. Furthermore, the 6plus has a glaring design flaw for any normal human who keeps the phone in a pocket.
Even the 6 and 6s have been the source of lament for people with smaller hands, with claims that the newer phones just feel like a bar of soap with rounded corners.
The iPhone SE, which stands for “special edition” may not seem like a game changer, but it brings back a style of phone that consumers actually liked, with the hardware that continues to put the iPhone in a class of its own.
While it seems like Apple may be making a bit of a gamble on this reversion to an old design, bringing back this style of phone may be what it takes to get consumers that have defected to Android back into the Apple fold.
Still, it’s easy to be cynical about the design, and it’s entirely possible that this is less, “what the consumers want” and more “tired rehash.”
Ultimately, with a $399 price tag, the iPhone SE is not a terrible deal, and while it may not be a reason to trade in an iPhone 6 or 6plus, for those that want to get an iPhone for the first time, they could probably do a lot worse than the SE if they’re looking for good design and functionality.