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Calling it the most powerful 4-inch phone ever, Apple on Monday officially announced the iPhone SE, a refresh for its smallest form factor, giving it the latest-generation 64-bit A9 processor and 12-megapixel iSight camera.
The iPhone SE features the same matte chamfered edges found on the iPhone 5s. But inside it's been vastly upgraded, including all of the camera improvements already found in the iPhone 6s, such as Focus Pixels, True Tone flash, and panorama capabilities up to 63 megapixels. In addition, users can capture HD video with support for 4K at a resolution of 3,840-by-2,160 pixels.
The real star of the show, though, is the A9 processor, which doubles the performance of the A7 chip found in the iPhone 5s. The embedded M9 motion coprocessor allows for longer battery life, always-listening "Hey Siri" functionality and a variety of fitness tracking capabilities.
"iPhone SE is an exciting new idea — we started with a beloved, iconic design and reinvented it from the inside out. The result is the most beautiful and powerful phone with a four-inch display in the world," said Apple SVP of Worldwide Marketing Phil Schiller. "iPhone SE is packed with a stunning four-inch Retina display, advanced 64-bit A9 chip with M9 motion co-processor, longer battery life, 12-megapixel iSight camera with True Tone flash, Live Photos, 4K video, faster LTE and Wi-Fi, and Touch ID with Apple Pay. Everyone who wants a smaller phone is going to love iPhone SE."
The iPhone SE also includes support for Apple Pay, with a dedicated NFC chip, secure element and integrated Touch ID home button.
Finally, Apple's newest iPhone includes more LTE bands than iPhone 5s for wider international cellular compatibility, as well as Voice over LTE and Wi-Fi calling where enabled.
The iPhone SE will cost just $399 for 16 gigabytes, making it the cheapest new iPhone Apple has sold. A 64-gigabyte model will run $499.
Preorders will start this Thursday, March 24, ahead of a launch date next week on March 31. It will be in more than 100 countries by the end of May, and comes in a new rose gold color, matching the rest of Apple's lineup.