John Gruber Reviews the iPhone SE

Brilliant, succinct review by Gruber as usual. He’s got a finger on the pulse of Apple’s product strategy like no other, and that shows here.

He highlights a particular aspect of the SE that I glossed over in my overview of Apple’s March event - the device’s industrial design. Here’s what he had to say:


"Feel matters. And to me, the classic 4-inch display form factor shared by the iPhones 5, 5S, and now SE feels the best in hand. This is obviously highly subjective, but in my mind it’s not even a close call. There are obvious reasons to prefer the larger 4.7- and 5.5-inch models, but how they feel in your hand isn’t one of them.

I prefer the flat sides. (It stands up!) I prefer the small circular volume buttons. I prefer the power button at the top, rather than directly opposite the volume-up button. I absolutely loathe the camera bump on the 6/6S; the lack of said bump on the SE feels downright luxurious in contrast...

With the introduction of the new iPhone SE, the iPhone 5-style industrial design is the first to be used for three separate product generations. But it’s worth noting that this form factor skipped a generation — there was no 4-inch iPhone with iPhone 6-class internals. It truly says something that an industrial design first introduced in 2012 remains utterly modern and relevant in 2016."


In my overview, I may have conveyed a tone of dismissiveness to the iPhone 5-style design we see in the SE - maybe because I focused too much on what could’ve been with the 6c instead of what was really the best decision for Apple today, the SE. Also, I think I underestimate or forget just how great the 5/5s, and in effect, the 5c that I own (probably more so being plastic), feels in the hand. Could the same be said about a hypothetical 6c with the rounded edges of the 6/6s iPhones? I think not. (It’s also worth noting that the 6/6s design came about from finding the best design for a larger form factor, which may not translate well to a 4” body.)

In fact, in a certain respect, Apple should be applauded for bringing back a design many consider not just a classic, but the best in the iPhone lineup over the years. It is testament to the sustainability of that design. It’s also economical - the SE should be similar enough to the 5/5s that any additional costs can be easily absorbed, compared to a hypothetical 6c with which a 4” 6/6s-design has yet to be manufactured.

(Via Daring Fireball)