Apple unveils smaller iPhone SE; CEO Tim Cook defends privacy stance

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Apple unveils smaller, cheaper iPhone SE aimed at mid-market, in a bid to expand China and emerging markets.
Apple CEO Tim Cook speaks at the launch of the Apple iPhone SE at the Apple Campus Town Hall in Cupertino. ST PHOTO: TREVOR TAN

CUPERTINO, California - Apple has launched a new 4-inch iPhone SE during a special event held at Apple Campus Town Hall in Cupertino.

Although it is the successor to the iPhone 5s launched in September 2013, the iPhone SE packs the latest technologies using the same A9 chip, M9 co-processor, 12-megapixel rear camera and 5-megapixel front-facing camera as the iPhone 6s.

The iPhone SE also comes with the Touch ID home button, Near Field Communications for Apple Pay and is able to shoot 4K (3,840 x 2,160) videos and Live Photos.

It uses the same 4-inch display with a resolution of 1,136 x 640 pixels as the iPhone 5s and 5c. And it does not come with 3D Touch found in current iPhone 6s and 6s Plus.

Design-wise, it looks similar to the iPhone 5s with the same matte edges, a back with metallic centre but glass bottom and top. It even has the same rounded volume buttons on the side, a power button on the top, and the bottom houses a headphone jack, speaker, and microphone.

The new iPhone SE will cater to those who are refraining from upgrading due to the bigger 4.7-inch and 5.5-inch display sizes of iPhone 6s and 6s Plus respectively.

Singapore will be one of the first 12 countries to get the iPhone SE on March 31.

The iPhone SE comes in silver, space grey, gold and rose gold. It will be available in Singapore in models of 16GB for S$658 and 64GB for S$828 without a telco contract. You can pre-order it on Thursday (March 24).

Before the launch at Apple's leafy Cupertino, California headquarters, chief executive Tim Cook defended the company's refusal to comply with a US court order to unlock an iPhone belonging to one of the shooters in the December attack in San Bernardino, California, Reuters reported.

Apple has a responsibility to protect customers' data and privacy, Mr Cook said, adding that Apple "will not shrink from that responsibility".

His statement was greeted by applause from the audience.

The tech company's dispute with the US government has become a lightning rod for a broader debate on data privacy in the United States, according to Reuters. The company is set to square off against the US government at a court hearing on Tuesday, likely the first round in a long legal fight to avoid being forced to decrypt the iPhone.

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