Hi, and today we have with us the iPhone 5s…
Hi, and it is actually the iPhone SE.

The SE? You sure. You look frightfully like the 5s to me.
Well, yes, we are pretty much designed on the same lines…

I will say. It says here that the proportions of the 5s were 123.8 x 58.6 x 7.6 mm. What are yours?
Well…exactly the same.

What, exactly?!
Ex-actly. Down to the millimetre.

iphone-se-2

Amazing. And the weight?
113 grammes.

Praise be – a point of difference. The 5s, folks, was lighter- by one whole gramme. It weighed a mere 112 grammes way back in 2013. Don’t you get mistaken by people for the 5S or 5, by people like us?
I have been in India for barely a few days. And it is happening ALL the time. They keep saying its like “Ramesh and Suresh.” Who are they?

Twins in a chocolate ad. But heavens, you are THE newest iPhone in town. Don’t you get offended by being compared to something that is 2-3 years old?
Not really. After all, I am a chip off the same back as those two – you could say that the iPhone 5S and the iPhone 5 were my parents. And they looked pretty good, didn’t they?

Oh absolutely they did. We loved the chamfers on the sides, the metal-banded-by-glass-at-the-top finish on the backs, the circular volume buttons on the left topped by the silence mode button (why don’t more phones have those), and the display/power button right on the top, as well the lightning port flanked by speaker grilles – something which you have as well.
Oh yeah. I even have the nano-SIM card slot in the exact same place – bang in the middle of the right side. By the way, the finish on the back is improved – it is a much ‘softer’ finish, although you will need to hold both the 5s and me together to really sense the difference.

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…and the round fingerprint sensor that doubles as the home button beneath the 4.0-inch display, which incidentally remains of the same 1136 x 640 resolution as the 5s, giving you that famous “retina display” pixel density of 326 ppi.
Yup, our founding father told us people would have problems discerning anything much higher than that.

Which of course is being debated, but enough of the “being mistaken for the iPhone 5s” bit. You are a very different creature from it inside, aren’t you?
Yeah. Call it inner beauty, if you will. While I have the dimensions and display of the 5S (and yeah, almost the weight too), what lies inside is very different. I have the A9 processor which powers the iPhone 6S and 6S Plus, as well as the M9 motion processor, which is seen on those devices. And I also come with the 12.0-megapixel iSight rear camera seen on the 6S with a f/2.2 aperture and a five element lens. And I can shoot 4K video through it too. Connectivity-wise, I am very much on the same plain as the 6S and 6S Plus – Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and 4G. Of course, I run the latest version of iOS out of the box.

So, quite simply, as some are suggesting: you are the design of the iPhone 5s “with the guts of the 6s”?
Well, to an extent, but not entirely. Perhaps the one thing that most people will notice first off is the absence of 3D touch, but hey, I am in good company there – the iPad Pros don’t have it either. Then the FaceTime camera on me with 1.2 megapixels as compared to the 5.0-megapixels on the 6S, though I also have the retina flash – the display will light up to provide light for low-light selfies. I also do not have the second generation fingerprint sensor that the 6S and 6S Plus have, so will be slightly slower in that department.

We also hearing you have more RAM and a bigger battery than the 5s?
Cannot be officially confirmed, I am afraid. But yes, I have heard of the 2 GB RAM (as much as on the 6s and compared to 1 GB on the 5s) and the slightly longer battery too. As I do have a lower resolution display, I think the battery life will surprise many users – on paper, it is the same as the 6s: up to 14 hours talk time on 3G.

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So, in essence, you have the design of the 5s and most of the muscle – barring 3D touch and selfie camera – of the 6s. Who do you think will be going for you, considering that at Rs 39,000, you are still rather expensive – some stores online in India are selling the better specced iPhone 6s at Rs 42,000, you know?
Well, to keep it simple: those looking for very good specs and performance in a compact form factor. Remember how Tim Cook had made the point about being able to operate the iPhone 5 easily with one hand because your thumb could reach right across the display? Well, that applies to me as well. I am easily the most compact high-end device out there. People have been raving about how compact the Mi 5 is, but my entire body occupies lesser space than its display. So yes, I am trying to be a pocket-sized stick of phone dynamite out here. Easy to carry, easy to use, and of course, those familiar gorgeous good looks.

There will be those who will point to the fact that there are better specced phones at lower prices than yours…
Yes, but no one buys the iPhone for specs, do they? There have been devices with higher resolution displays, expandable memory, cameras with higher megapixel counts and whatnot for years now. The iPhone is about experience.

But don’t you think your similarity to the 5s is going to be a bit of a cross to bear? After all, there is a show-off element to the iPhone. You look like a clone of a device that is almost 2-3 years old. Now, is that good?
That depends on how you look at it – the iPhone 5/5s was a classic design and is so popular that it still sells. There are people who love that design and want it back in a smaller form factor but with much improved hardware that can go toe to toe with the best out there. Well, BOOM, here I am.

iphone-se-4

A classic design and new hardware – so that is the iPhone SE. Welcome to the tech world. We will find out if you are worth the bucks you charge when the folks at TechPP review you in the coming days, just as they reviewed me. But until that time, this…
Wait! You said you were reviewed too.

Yes, so I was. I am a phone too. How else do you think I could do this interview? It takes a phone to talk to a phone.
But you sound oddly familiar. Could I get a clear look at you?

Sure, I am the iPhone 6s at your service.
WHAT!

What happened?
You and the 6 – you replaced the 5s!

Yes, I did…
You killed my father…

No, kid, I AM your father. You have inherited my innards and came after me, remember?
You mean…

Yep, it’s Star Wars, iPhone style. We are going up against each other in the market because the 6 costs lesser than you do, and I am not too far away.
But we are Apples from the same tree…

Yes, we are, lad. But we there’s nothing like some healthy competition in the family. After all, this is the first time a consumer will have THREE new iPhones to choose from. And the slightly older ones – the 6, the 6 Plus and 5S- are not in bad shape either.
…and we have enough competition from the likes of Samsung, LG and all those new Chinese brands too.

It’s all Darwin, lad. All Darwin.
Darwin?

Survival of the fittest, shorty. See you in the field. And ah yes, stay tuned for the review of SE on TechPP, everyone – new blast from the old past, or return of the Phone Jedi?


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Editorial Mentor

Nimish Dubey has been writing for more than a decade now (well, Windows 3.1 was around and Apple was on the verge of being finished when he started). He has been published in a number of publications including The Times of India, Mint, The Economic Times, Mid-Day and Femina on subjects that vary from tech write -ups to book reviews to music album round ups. He managed to interview Michael Schumacher once and write two books for young adults along the way.