Apple iPhone SE debuts for $399 while packing a decent punch

Apple iPhone SE

As expected Apple CEO Tim Cool took to the stage at Apple’s Cupertino campus to introduce a smaller, four-inch version of the iPhone, called the iPhone SE.

Nine years ago the original iPhone debuts with a 3.5-inch display. Since that time the company has focused on growing the size of its devices with the iPhone 6S Plus’ 5.5-inch screen topping the company’s size chart.

Apple went in the opposite direction and announced a new iPhone that’s smaller with a still impressive set of features.

The iPhone SE is a 4-inch iPhone with updated internals. It looks like the iPhone 5S, Apple’s last 4-inch phone released in 2014, but has the same processor and graphics performance as the iPhone 6S.

Buyers receive Apple’s A9 chip, which doubles the speed of the iPhone 5S. It can use Hey Siri, the hands-free voice assistant, has a 12MP camera, and shoots 4k video. There’s even an NFC chip inside so the phone works with Apple Pay.

The smaller iPhone is an attempt to appeal to fans of pocket-sized devices. Last year, Apple sold 30 million phones that were 4-inches and smaller.

At least one-third of iPhone owners are still using a device with a 4-inch screen or smaller.

The 16 GB iPhone SE starts at $399 but will be free with a two-year contract or $17 a month on an installment plan.

Ordering for the iPhone SE will begin on March 24, and it will be available on March 31.