COMMENTARY – Buying a new phone and choosing which model to get, at times, can be a taxing (pun intended) decision to make.
My new phone — an iPhone SE (third generation) — doesn’t look any different than the Apple smartphone I previously had in my possession, save for the latest A15 processor inside (the same chip found in last year’s iPhone 13 lineup) and the addition of 5G wireless technology. As the owner of the “SE” series since it originally debuted in 2016, for me, upgrading to the latest budget-friendly model of the iPhone was simply a “no brainer” (so to speak).
While the compact form factor of the “SE” series was one of the many factors (pun intended) involved, this time, my decision to get the new iPhone SE was centered around a certain characteristic also found on this particular phone.
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There’s No Place Like… ‘Home’
One of the other factors — improvements under the hood (so to speak) notwithstanding (e.g., the latest processor and faster connectivity) — that influenced my decision to stick with the “SE” series and upgrade to the newest iteration was the fact that the phone still features a Home button on the device.
As a visually impaired iPhone user who is completely blind, I rely heavily on Siri to operate and navigate my phone. I prefer to activate the virtual assistant with the use of the Home button as opposed to saying “Hey Siri” to do so. I find it much easier (and faster) than giving the verbal prompt and waiting for her (or, him, if your device is set up with the male voice) to first respond before she processes whatever request I have (e.g., sending a text message, placing a phone call, or opening an app, etc.).
With VoiceOver, a screen reader found across all of Apple’s software platforms, performing a triple tap of the Home button instantly toggles it on or off which is especially useful when I need to temporarily deactivate the feature (e.g., getting help from a sighted person without elements on the screen being read aloud to them).
There are also some other functions that the Home button can do which, over the years, have become second nature to me. Things like performing a double tap to access the app switcher or simply turning off an alarm when waking up.
Of course, I am fully aware of the fact that all of these functions can be currently performed with either a simple swipe or gesture because, with the exception of the “SE” series, every flagship model of the iPhone sold today (ever since the release of the iPhone X in 2017) no longer feature a Home button on the device.
Driving The Point… ‘Home’
At $429, an increase of $30 from the price of the previous iteration, you just can’t go wrong with the new iPhone SE.
In fact? I got mine, a 64GB model in the new “midnight” color option, for an even lower price, only $252, or $7 per month for 36 months on an installment plan through my wireless carrier, AT&T, via Walmart.com (getting it directly from AT&T would have cost even more… $11.95/mo. for the same amount of time).
In comparison, the cheapest model of the iPhone with the latest A15 processor and 5G wireless technology is the iPhone 13 mini which costs hundreds of dollars more ($300 to be exact!).
At $729, the “mini”-branded version of the iPhone 13 isn’t as light on the wallet (so to speak) as the “SE” series. As someone who prefers small smartphones, size-wise, the new iPhone SE certainly fits the bill, but considering that the iPhone 13 mini is even smaller, it would have made more sense — and cost more cents (pun intended) — for me to get.
However, while both of those iPhones cost less than other Apple smartphones on the market, only one of those budget-friendly models of the iPhone has a Home button on the device and that’s the new iPhone SE.
Related Reading: from the “Mac Potpourri” story archives – Upgrade Conundrum Over An iPhone SE (Second Generation) Now Versus An ‘iPhone 12 mini’ Later (April 2020).