Apple iPhone SE
Apple made $29 replacement batteries available to owners of older iPhones effective starting today. The drop, announced earlier this week, was originally slated to go into effect in late January. "We expected to need more time to be ready, but we are happy to offer our customers the lower pricing right away," said Apple in a statement provided to Axios. "Initial supplies of some replacement batteries may be limited." Apple uses software to limit the performance of some older iPhones in order to prevent battery-related shutdowns. Replacing the original, aging battery with a new one resolves such issues and leads to better performance of the smartphone. The battery replacement service typically costs $79, but Apple has lowered the cost to $29. The program will run through December 2018 and targets the iPhone 6, 6 Plus, 6s, 6s Plus, and SE.
Virgin Mobile today announced a promotion that lets new customers receive 12 months of service for just $1 by bringing their number and existing iPhone from a different carrier and activating it with Virgin's Inner Circle plan. The offer was previously only available to customers purchasing a new iPhone from Virgin. After 12 months, the Inner Circle plan costs $50/month for unlimited service. Most iPhones from the 5S and newer are compatible, but potential customers should use Virgin's web site to check specific compatibility first. Through September 29th, SIM activation kits for existing iPhones are free. Virgin customers can also receive six months of service for $1 each time they upgrade to a new iPhone. The Inner Circle plan caps video, music and gaming quality, and can limit all data speeds when Sprint's network is congested. Inner Circle includes promotions for other Virgin-brand companies. Prices exclude taxes and require enrollment in AutoPay. The promotion will be available "for a short period of time".
Apple today gave the iPhone SE a modest update thanks to improved storage capacities. Beginning this week, the iPhone SE will be available in 32 GB and 128 GB versions. These replace the 16 GB and 64 GB models. The refreshed 32 GB iPhone SE starts at $399 and will be available online and in stores starting March 24. Other than the storage boost, the iPhone SE's other specs remain unchanged. Apple first released the iPhone SE about this same time last year. It has a 4-inch display and relies on the same design Apple used for the 2012 iPhone 5 and 2013 iPhone 5s.
T-Mobile's prepaid brand, MetroPCS, is now selling the entire range of Apple iPhones at more than 5,000 of its stores around the country. The prepaid carrier first tested iPhone sales at a limited number of stores in Florida. MetroPCS is selling the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus for $649 and $749, respectively, and the iPhone SE and iPhone 5s for $349 and $199, respectively. MetroPCS does not require contracts and service plans start at $35 per month.
T-Mobile's prepaid brand, MetroPCS, today said it will soon sell the entire range of iPhones from Apple. MetroPCS plans to kick off iPhone sales at select stores in Florida on July 1, but will expand to all stores around the nation soon. MetroPCS will sell the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus for $649 and $749, respectively, and the iPhone SE and iPhone 5s for $349 and $199, respectively. MetroPCS did not indicate how quickly the iPhone will be made available to stores outside of Florida. MetroPCS does not require contracts and service plans start at $35 per month.
Apple today made iOS 9.3.2 available to iPhones, iPads, and iPods. The update mainly addresses bugs. For example, it resolves an issue that impacted Bluetooth audio quality on the iPhone SE. It also fixes a problem that prevented people from searching through the dictionary. The update adds one new function, allowing people to use Night Shift and Low Power Mode at the same time. iOS 9.3.2 is free to download and install over the air.
Apple today made a minor update available to iPhones and iPads in order to fix a browser-based bug. In particular, iOS 9.3.1 addresses an issue that caused apps to sometimes hang or crash completely after users tapped links in the browser or other apps. iOS 9.3.1 is free to download and install over the air.
T-Mobile is taking advantage of the iPhone SE launch to debut a buy-one, get-one-half-off deal on iPhones. Customers who buy any iPhone can get the second one for half price as long as it is activated on a new line of service. The deal requires an equipment installment plan for both phones. T-Mobile will reimburse customers for half the value of the second phone with a prepaid MasterCard gift card. The deal applies to the new iPhone SE, as well as the iPhone 6s, 6s Plus, 6, 6 Plus, 5s, and 5c. T-Mobile said the offer is limited to stock on hand.
Apple today announced the iPhone SE, a smaller, less-expensive alternative to the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus. The SE's defining feature is the 4-inch display, which helps keep the footprint in check; the design is similar to that of the iPhone 5/5S. The SE runs on the Apple A9 chip with M9 co-processor, same as the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus. The M9 co-processor enables low-energy sensor tracking and always-on "Hey, Siri" functionality. The SE has a 12-megapixel camera with focus pixels, true tone flash, and support for Live Photos. The user-facing camera has a Retina Flash for low-light selfies by flashing the display. The iPhone SE includes a wide range of LTE bands for better international roaming and VoLTE and 802.11ac WiFi for quick local networking. The SE also boasts Touch ID, an NFC radio with Secure Element, and Apple Pay. The SE will cost $399 (16 GB) and $499 (64 GB). Apple will begin accepting preorders for the iPhone SE March 24. The device will reach stores March 31.