Announced with little more fanfare than a press release, the new iPhone SE’s launch felt like a whisper compared to the years of requests for a smaller, cheaper model in Apple’s range. The original iPhone SE hit a double-whammy at the time. On the one hand it captured those who felt like the bleeding-edge of smartphones were simply too large; on the other, those who begrudged paying $600+ for a modern handset.
The industry has moved on, but those motivations remain. 2020’s iPhone SE has the same price tag as 2016’s version. Its screen may feel borderline-anachronistically scaled compared to what many of us are using, but for some it will be a welcome nod back to more hand-friendly times.
Apple keeps its margins low by reusing an old design, of course. That helps the iPhone SE with its $399 starting price, but it also means it benefits from a reality back in 2017 when the iPhone 8 first launched. Those Cupertino engineers sure do know how to make a sweet-feeling smartphone.
This is not something you’d pick up and think “hmm, yes, definitely a cheap device.” From the anodized metal frame, to the smooth curve of the glass front and back where it meets that aluminum, there’s something both tactile and reassuring about the new iPhone SE. That’s more than I could say about a lot of affordable Android phones.
That there’s deja-vu doesn’t come as too great a surprise. After all, muscle-memory is a powerful thing: we may be several generations on from the iPhone 8, but clearly my hands remember it with fondness. And Apple has, of course, trod this path before with the original iPhone SE.
What has struck me this second time around, though, is the gulf between the feelings from using 2020’s iPhone SE and Apple’s other most-recent smartphones. Back when the original SE launched, the then-flagship iPhone 6s it sat alongside still had a home button. Its screen was smaller, but it was still flanked with sizable top and bottom bezels. It felt – indeed it was – a smaller version of that flagship.
The 2020 iPhone SE feels like a different species compared to the smartphones Apple launched in late 2019. Putting aside even the clear size discrepancy between it and the iPhone 11 Pro Max that is my daily-driver, next to the iPhone 11 Pro it’s a very different experience of an iOS smartphone. In the years since the iPhone X my fingers have built up some muscle-memory of their own, yet here most of their swipes and gestures are out of place.
The reality is that something had to give, and even had Apple wanted to drop an edge-to-edge touchscreen into the new iPhone SE, it probably couldn’t. When you make your own processor design rather than buy it from, say, Qualcomm, you can afford to drop the latest silicon into your $399 smartphone. Similarly, when you don’t need to completely retool for a brand new external design, you can probably afford to stick with metal and glass.
There’s only so far the bill of materials can be squeezed when you’re shopping for screens, however. The end result is a feeling of stepping back in time: not unwelcome, necessarily – and I’m sure those finally getting around to upgrading from an iPhone 4s or something equally ancient will appreciate the relative consistency – but jarring all the same.
Even in my first hours with this phone, I’ve a feeling I can already predict what my broad verdict might be. The iPhone SE does something only Apple, arguably, can, by virtue of what it makes itself, the software it builds, and its iron-grip over the supply chain. I can already appreciate its value as a $399 for a large audience of people, even if I can already foresee a time when I – like many of you reading this – butt up against its limitations as someone used to having the latest-and-greatest in my pocket.
That’s fine, though. There’s room in the smartphone world for a range of phones, maybe even more so in this current pandemic when budgets are tighter and $1k+ purchases seem increasingly rash. Making new friends is great, but there’s nothing quite like catching up with old friends, either.
The Eight Best Floor Jacks To Lift Your Car Safely And Easily
While only rated for 1 ½ tons, the Daytona jack has a lot going for it. It’s relatively inexpensive, super lightweight (as it’s made from aircraft-grade aluminum), and has a minimum height of only 2 ⅜ inches to get under the lowest of low vehicles. It’s useful for low vehicles and vehicles that rest lower when air ride suspension needs to be turned off prior to service, as well as cars with flat tires.
Reviewers often cite the surprisingly light weight of this jack — it’s only 36 pounds — along with its durability, great looks, smooth rolling wheels, welded side-mounted carrying handle, and two-piece lift arm construction as positives. Meanwhile, Harbor Freight is a reputable name brand in the space, having been in business for nearly 50 years.
Get the Daytona 1.5 Ton Ultra-Low Profile High-Performance Aluminum Racing Jack from Harbor Freight for $299.99.
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10 Unexpected Uses For Your Smart Speakers
Just as you can use your smart speaker to help train your brain, you can use your smart speaker to train your body. Your smart speaker can help you to curate workout routines through the use of any number of apps available through Amazon’s Alexa or without any extra skills on Google Home. Unfortunately, it isn’t currently possible for Apple HomePod users to take advantage of a potential Apple subscription in this context, as Apple Fitness+ doesn’t currently support use with the HomePod.
However, on Google Home and Alexa, through voice-activated commands, your smart speaker can guide you through exercises with precision. It can provide step-by-step instructions for various workouts, ensuring proper form and technique to maximize effectiveness while reducing the risk of injury.
Going further, your smart speaker can help you keep up with how you’re doing with your goals throughout the day if you own a Fitbit. By connecting Alexa and your Fitbit, you can ask your smart speaker a plethora of questions, including how far you’ve walked in a day, how many calories you’ve burned, or what your resting heart rate is.
Achieving fitness goals isn’t just about exercise; it also involves proper nutrition. Tying back to using your smart speaker as an infinite cookbook, your smart speaker can provide dietary advice, suggest healthy recipes, and even create meal plans that align with your fitness objectives.
By connecting all of these separate pieces, your smart speaker can quickly become a hand-in-hand companion for helping you to stay on top of your fitness goals. Whether it be through reminders for workouts and meals or just staying up to date on your progress toward your goals on any given day, your smart speaker can have your back for all of your fitness needs.
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