Watching the latest iPhone announcement made me think back to when my SE was released. The SE really is impressive, if you ask me. It's the cheapest iPhone by $150, but, at least until the 7 comes out, it also has the fastest processor and best camera available in an iPhone. That's a heck of a deal.

If the iPhone SE has one leg in the future, it's also got one firmly stuck in the past. The "FaceTime"/selfie camera is exactly the same as the iPhone 5S from two and a half years prior to the SE's released. So is the Touch ID. Hey, wait, so is the 4" display.

I didn't see a single Apple rag mention the reason this happened... it has to be so that Apple doesn't have to change a thing about that assembly line. You sluff the 5S out of production, but you keep the entire front face and likely most of the case exactly the same.

I never saw that confirmed, and finally dug back around on the iFixit SE teardown today. Sure enough...

A side-by-side comparison of displays out of the 5s (left) and SE (right) reveals... they're pretty much identical!
The similarities are more than skin deep. After a little testing, we found the 5s display is plug-and-play in the SE—fitment, connectors, and functionality are the same. It fires right up.

That's pretty danged smart. You take parts from a line that's underperforming, the 6S, and do the minimum amount of reengineering to use them in your previous phone, even keeping the previous assembly lines unchanged, and poof -- it's not a Frankenphone so much as an efficiently sourced entry device.

No, what the iPhone SE really is is an exceptional refactoring. Take the part that needs to change, find a good interface between it and legacy code that hasn't rusted, and only change that part. Plug it back in, and you're off and running, efficiently.

(Though the iPod touch having iPhone 6 innards should've warned us this was coming.) And now that the silly Wizard of Oz gaming demo is over, back to watching Phil...

In other news, what a heck of a lot of engineering to go from 1x to 2x in the iPhone 7's camera. You're still a heck of a long ways away from the power of an SLR.

Doubt me? Check this review (via DaringFireball):

However, I do not recommend the digital zoom beyond 2x. The quality of digital zoom degrades quickly and I find it unusable for photography (although it’s actually kind of nice as an animal spotting tool).

I have a Nikon D3100 with a nice 300mm lens, which is a 450mm equivalent in FX. That's give or take 7.7x optical zoom. The lens is, at its most compact, about six inches. You can't [easily? ever?] put that on a phone.

I get tired of the idiotic stories that say the iPhone is going to be as good as a DSLR. It's not. As Phil says, it won't be. It can be a great point and short with a short focal length, and it's neat that it can sorta do zoom now, as a clever hack.

Same with changing aperture. I guess there's some reason these things can't do a real iris, and you have to approximate depth of field in software. Still, ain't no DSLR. Apple knows it. It's time the Apple press learned it too.

Airpods for "just" $150?!?!!/1!

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