Pick up an iPhone SE now or hold out for a (potential) SE2?
September 16, 2017 12:03 PM   Subscribe

I'm currently getting by with a 4S, but TMobile has dropped support; I now get 2G speeds at best for data, and cell coverage is spotty now, too. I am not a heavy phone user, so I could limp along and make it work for a little while -- I mostly need text/email/music functions -- but since a refresh seems unlikely to happen until at least Spring 2018, am I frustrating myself needlessly? Obviously, I keep phones forever, so being as futureproof as possible is an important consideration.
posted by halation to Technology (11 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
My SE feels like a big improvement coming from the 5C. I would make the jump now if I were you.
posted by starman at 12:11 PM on September 16, 2017

Ditto coming from the 5S. It's a nice stable phone. With a headphone jack.
posted by jessamyn at 12:14 PM on September 16, 2017

Even from the 6, it seems snappier, better camera, etc. It is quite small, though. On the one hand I love how it doesn't weigh down a pocket. On the other hand, my eyes want a bigger screen. On the third hand, maybe that will keep me from spending too much time staring at my phone.
posted by rikschell at 12:18 PM on September 16, 2017 [1 favorite]

I am only semi-joking when I say that I have been considering purchasing an SE to replace the dying iPhone 5 I inherited from a family member who upgraded several years ago and, should I do so, you can be virtually assured that the model will be retired and a superior replacement issued..

I'm currently dithering between a new iPhone SE, a refurb 6s at about the same price, or just postponing upgrade until the current phone becomes unusable.
posted by Nerd of the North at 12:19 PM on September 16, 2017 [1 favorite]

but since a refresh seems unlikely to happen until at least Spring 2018

I would say "extremely unlikely". They almost always announce new phones in September.

You should upgrade your phone. If nothing else, for security reasons. The 4S has not had any OS updates for over a year, and will never have another one.
posted by aubilenon at 12:31 PM on September 16, 2017 [4 favorites]

I would say "extremely unlikely". They almost always announce new phones in September.

The iPhone SE was released in March, and then revised the next March. They historically have not included the SE in the normal September announcement cycle.

That said, I still agree with going ahead and getting an SE now, especially if your needs are so modest that you're able to still use a 4S.
posted by primethyme at 12:42 PM on September 16, 2017 [3 favorites]

Best answer: I use an iPhone SE now. It's great, and it's already pretty aggressively priced. The performance improvement going from the 4s to the SE will be huge. (I came from a 5s, and I had a 5 before that – from the 5 to the 5s the performance improvement was big; from the 5s to the SE it was noticeable but not as significant. Honestly the one thing I notice is that the TouchID sensor is faster). I say buy it, and if there's some killer feature in a subsequent model that may or may not be announced, you can think about upgrading then. The worst that could happen is that you could buy one new for $350 and then sell it in March for what, $200, if not more?

Personally I'm not concerned about future-proofing: iOS 11 still supports the iPhone 5s, which came out in 2013 with iOS 7. The iPhone 5s has Apple's A7 chip (the first 64-bit processor in the series). The SE has the A9, and the iPhone 8 and iPhone X that were just announced have the A11. Compared to the A9, the A10 and A11 have made improvements in performance and battery life, but if you're not really a power user you may not run into cases where the extra performance of the newer chips would mean anything to you. I don't see the A9 being made completely obsolete and dropped from iOS support for at least another three, if not four releases.

If I were to guess at a followup to the SE, it would have a version of the A10 chip (not the A11), it would probably be better at gaming and video, and mostly it would get better battery life. I don't see any of those as reasons to put off a much-needed upgrade.
posted by fedward at 1:46 PM on September 16, 2017 [1 favorite]

SE is a great phone. I am planning to keep mine until at least 2019 so I'm not worried about announcements in spring 2018. I bought a used 64GB earlier this year and recommend looking into that, but the price cut this week makes a new one attractive too.

I went to the SE from a 4S (the best phone), too.
posted by michaelh at 7:36 PM on September 16, 2017

I went from a 5S to a 6S, hated it for being too big so exchanged it a few days later for an SE and never looked back. I think an updated SE is probably still a long way off - and there's no guarantee there will even be one at all - but they've just lowered the price of the current model so I'd say go for it.
posted by moorooka at 7:48 PM on September 16, 2017

The SE is 6S internals in a 5S body, essentially. I upgraded from 5S to SE and am extremely satisfied. Since they just announced other phones, I doubt any SE upgrade would be coming soon, nor would it be significant enough to be a noticeable change from today's SE.

Honestly, even after all the announcements, the SE is still my favorite Apple phone product.
posted by kup0 at 4:04 PM on September 17, 2017

If price is an issue, you can get a like-new or even new (open box) SE on swappa.com for less than $300, less for a used one. I think you will be stunned at how much better the camera is, how fast it wakes up (Touch ID FTW!), and how much faster 4G browsing is. As far as I'm concerned, the SE is the best phone Apple makes, because all the rest are phablets. As far as future proofing goes, it will be supported for a very long time, yet it still has a headphone jack. If you don't want a really big screen, the SE is for you.
posted by wnissen at 9:55 AM on September 18, 2017

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