Apple iPhone SE 2020 Price, Specs, Release Date and First Impressions

The second-generation iPhone SE is a wallet-friendly entry point into Apple's suite of smartphones, with a $399 price tag, compact design aesthetic and powerful chipset.

Already being pushed in official marketing material as Apple's most affordable iPhone, the device is identical in design to the now-discontinued iPhone 8, first released back in 2017. The phone has, however, been packed full of new internal technology that aims to justify its existence.

There was no splashy press conference to announce the launch this year, with tech companies still impacted by the ongoing novel coronavirus outbreak in the U.S.

But this is still Apple, after all, and the 2020 iPhone SE reveal instantly sparked waves of media headlines and social media debates, largely around the price point, smaller screen size and repurposed hardware design.

So when can you get your hands on the SE and what are the first impressions? Here's what we know so far about the new smartphone, including specs, cost and availability.

The 2020 iPhone SE is available to pre-order from 5 a.m. PDT on Friday, April 17. It will then be sold via the Apple website, authorized retailers and some carriers from April 24 in the U.S.

According to the company, the new iPhone SE will be available in three colors: black, white and red. Starting at $399, it comes in three storage sizes, with models at 64GB, 128GB and 256GB. Apple says the new iPhone SE is $9.54 a month or $229 with a trade-in from apple.com and retail stores.

When you pick up an SE, it's not realistic to expect flagship-beating quality. The lowest model of its sibling starts from exactly double the price ($699). But the SE 2020 is not a slouch, either. In fact, it comes with the same A13 Bionic chipset found in the iPhone 11 and iPhone 11 Pro.

Apple says it's the "fastest chip ever in a smartphone" and comes with fast-charging that gives users up to 50 percent charge in 30 minutes. (Newsweek has not tested the device.) Wireless charging is capable with Qi-certified chargers, and it also offers Wi-Fi 6 and the ability to use dual sims.

The second-gen SE has a 4.7-inch Retina HD display, with True Tone built in, and has the Touch ID button no longer seen in newer models—a win for those who prefer to use fingerprint scanning as a security biometric. But the overall feel will be very familiar to those who had older models.

The main camera is a 12-megapixel f/1.8 aperture wide that Apple says benefits from the extra processing power of the A13 chip to provide better image quality and lighting and deputy control features. The front-facing "selfie" camera is 7 megapixels (f/2.2) and comes with face detection capabilities.

Until it hits Apple's virtual stores later this month, it's impossible to say if the SE device will be a success. But impressions from commentators and analysts suggest it is may get some positive buzz.

"Its aggressive pricing will challenge not only sales of new Android smartphones but is also likely to affect companies who refurbish and resell second-hand iPhones," Ben Wood, chief of research at the London-based market research company CCS Insight, said in a statement yesterday.

He added: "When it was planning this product, Apple couldn't have known it would land in a market in complete turmoil as a result of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.

"Although the new iPhone SE was undoubtedly designed to take the fight to Android rivals, it now also offers a more affordable iPhone at a time when many consumers will find it hard to justify spending $1,000 or more on one of Apple's flagship devices.

"In 2016, there was a $400 difference between the iPhone SE and a 64GB iPhone 6s Plus. In 2020, the new iPhone SE costs $700 less than a 64GB iPhone 11 Pro Max.

"The competitive price reflects Apple's growing confidence in its services business," the market analyst continued. "Apple has proved it is able to create ongoing revenues from iPhone users, and will see the benefits of the new iPhone SE as much more than just the profit margin on a hardware sale."

Apple iPhone SE
iPhone SE features an aerospace-grade aluminum and durable glass design with an all-black front. Apple