Apple iPhone SE: Small Size, Big Updates

PHOTO: An attendee takes a photograph of the new Apple iPhone SE after an event in Cupertino, Calif., March 21, 2016.David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images
An attendee takes a photograph of the new Apple iPhone SE after an event in Cupertino, Calif., March 21, 2016.

The demand for bigger phones may be strong but Apple hasn't forgotten about people who prefer to stick with a smaller device.

Apple's iPhone SE, which is in stores today, is the company's first 4-inch device in two and a half years since the release of the iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c. The new iPhone SE looks like an iPhone 5 but has the brains of an iPhone 6 and iPhone 6s, according to Apple.

The new phone is positioned to appeal to many iPhone 5 users who are ready for an upgrade but don't want to make the jump to one of the larger phones Apple has introduced in the past year.

Apple CEO Tim Cook said the company sold 30 million 4-inch iPhones in 2015, showing there is still a demand for smaller devices. If you're considering upgrading (or downsizing) your device, here's a look at some of the highlights of the iPhone SE.

Processing Power

Apple boasts speeds 50 percent faster than the iPhone 5s, the company said, referring to its central processing unit, or CPU. Its graphics processing unit, or GPU, is up to three times faster than the iPhone 5s.

"At the heart is our chips, our Apple A9 chip," Apple's vice president of iPhone marketing Greg Joswiak said, referring to the same 64-bit chip found in the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus. The iPhone 6s has a 4.7-inch display while the iPhone 6s Plus has a 5.5-inch display.

Camera

The phone has a 12 megapixel camera, panorama up to 63 MP and "True Tone" flash. It also includes live photos, a feature that was first added to the iPhone 6s, allowing users to capture the moments before and after a photo is taken -- in essence, a mini movie clip -- creating a new way to memorialize the moments that matter.

The phone can also capture crisp 4K video.

Apple Pay

The iPhone SE includes support for NFC (near field communication), which means it's equipped for Apple Pay, Apple's quick mobile payments solution. Apple Pay is supported at more than two million stores, according to the company's website.

Price and Availability

The price starts at $399 for the 16 GB model, the most affordable price for a new iPhone. The 64 GB model is priced at $499. With a two-year subsidized phone contract, you can get it for free.

Apple said it expects to sell the newest phone in more than 100 countries by the end of May.