The iPhone SE is Apple’s most brilliant dumb idea yet

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The people at Apple are wizards. How else do they get away with selling everything they do as a reinvention of technology? It’s as uncanny as it is amazing and while you either hate Apple or love them, you can’t help but admire how well they get people to eat out of their hands.

Take their latest device, the iPhone SE, for instance. When Cupertino revealed it, I was blown away because it was the single most brilliant but dumb thing they’ve done.

It’s dumb…

Apple’s March 2016 Keynote special event was by no means a large event, in fact, it was almost intimate as far as mobile launches go. Many, including us, weren’t expecting too much from them because they don’t usually make big announcements this early in the year.

However, we were still holding out hope for some other kind of mobile accessory like a reinvented pair of VR goggles or a completely innovative 360-camera. Instead, what we got was a hint that Apple may be losing grip on their “world-changing” ways.

All that the most valuable brand in the world had to show for their March Keynote was a smaller iPad Pro, an even smaller iPhone trapped in a body of a three-year-old smartphone and some Watch bands. Has one of the largest tech companies in the world nothing else to show at an internationally broadcasted event but a “new” iPad and iPhone?

It honestly looked a little like Apple were shaken by how good their competitors have gotten and simply told Liam to throw something together out of spare parts. They could have done something as simple as tweak the design of the iPhone SE and it would have made all the difference.

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Instead, the only way you can tell the iPhone SE apart from the three-year-old 5s is that it weighs 1g more and comes in rose gold. It seems that Apple is resorting to rehashing an old device just to keep up with the competition.

Of course, you could argue: Why fix something that isn’t broken? But that’s not what Apple does. Apple prides themselves with breaking the mould and not only improving existing tech but also “reinventing” it. With the iPhone SE, Apple had instead shown that even they can’t keep innovating.

…but so absolutely brilliant

I say this because none of that matters. The main point of the iPhone SE is that now more people can buy iPhones. With the iPhone SE, not only are loyal customers who have previously hung on to old 4-inch iPhones going to have a viable upgrade, it’s also cheap.

Well, cheap by Apple’s standards. But if you want an iPhone, Apple’s standards are the only standards you need to live by. So, instead of looking at a rehashed smartphone, people see an affordable and small iPhone with flagship-level performance.

It doesn’t matter that it looks exactly like the iPhone 5s, or that it’s probably made using the same stuff. Nor does it matter that Apple had the audacity to put a rudimentary 1.2-megapixel front-facing camera on a 2016 smartphone that costs nearly RM2,000. What matters is that Apple found a need for a small, powerful yet affordable iPhone and are now owning that need.

To be able to do that by simply recycling old parts with a new processor is nothing short of brilliant.