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The new iPhone SE

I’ve been waiting for Apple to release a smaller phone and it’s finally here, the 2020 version of the SE! It’s a bit larger than the original SE, which was the same size as the 5S, but it’s still small enough that I don’t feel like I’m holding an iPad Mini in my hand. Until yesterday, the only iPhones I’d ever owned were the 5S and the original SE. I have large hands so it’s not that I like having a smaller phone because it’s easier to operate one-handed; it’s that I already have an iPad Mini so why do I need a phone that’s almost as large? It’s ironic that Apple continues to make larger and larger phones while still manufacturing iPads…the two products will be the same size soon. A lot of people use their phones for everything, including video streaming. This is also ironic: TV manufacturers are making extremely large screens at extremely low prices (most cost quite a bit less than the iPhone 11 but are 50 times as large), so why do people feel the need to watch Ozark on a 6″ screen? It’s absurd. Different strokes, I guess.

I’m glad Apple realized there’s a large contingent of people who use their phones almost exclusively for texting, emailing, driving directions, and photography. Will those photos look much better on a huge OLED TV screen? Of course they will. Is Instagram available on those TVs? Not yet, which means we have to use our phones for that. For everything else, an iMac or a MacBook will yield much better image viewing. For streaming Apple+TV, use a TV 🙂

While the new SE isn’t as small as I’d like, and it’s missing a headphone jack, it’s still a worthy replacement for my old SE. The camera is superb. To say it’s an upgrade from my original SE is an understatement. Beautiful image captures in very contrasty light with its built-in advanced HDR (which is now automatic). I have two Canon 5D Mark III cameras, and plenty of Canon L lenses, and they can’t match Apple’s image quality. I still use my Canons, of course, because they’re able to do many things a phone camera simply can’t, like take a high-res image of a person from 50 feet away (a must in wedding photography), but why can’t Canon make an image sensor that comes even close to what Apple is able to achieve? Canon is a camera company, after all; that’s all they do! The tech is obviously out there so why would Canon risk losing market share, even obsolescence, by not upgrading all their image sensors? If I ever get back to shooting weddings again (once the Covid19 thing has abated), I’m definitely using my new SE for all the close-up shots of rings, shoes, flowers, etc, as well as for large shots of the wedding ceremony itself, which almost always occurs in the worst possible light of midday. The iPhone SE will be able to faithfully render a properly exposed image of a large crowd sitting outside on a sunny day, even if some of them are in shade and some are in full sun. No Canon can do that without either a large array of off-camera flashes to light up the shady areas and/or a lot of work in Adobe Lightroom. With the new iPhone SE, I can get those shots very easily and then spend more time using my Canon 70-200mm lens to focus on the bride and groom.

Finally, the new SE doesn’t require facial recognition to unlock, and the Fingerprint ID option is still just that, an option. Apple already has a lot of personal information about me, like my email addresses and my credit card numbers. That’s plenty. Why give a company all that plus a permanent record of my fingerprint and of my face? The idea of that somehow being a security ‘feature’ is Orwellian. So I’m glad I can still punch in a passcode to unlock the phone. Once Apple forces its customers to use Facial Recognition to unlock any of its phones, that’s when I’m going back to a flip phone. It’s not that I have anything to hide; it’s that I don’t feel Apple (or anyone) needs that information. I’ll still use the camera, however!

 

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