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iPhone SE 2022: Powerful - but be careful not to buy the wrong version!

Apple event peak performance 063
© Apple

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Apple unveiled the iPhone SE 2022 on March 8! And while the Internet is upset about a 12-megapixel single camera and an ancient design on the back, most people miss the real excitement about the cheapest iPhone. Because the "Special Edition" starts with 64 gigabytes of storage, after Apple got rid of that option for the iPhone 13. Here is my take on that.

Apple has once again managed to gather the entire tech community around it on March 8, 2022. The live stream of the event called "Peek Performance" was watched by almost 1 million people in the meantime. Afterward, some praised Apple's latest smartphone, the iPhone SE 2022, saying the phone is a good deal because the latest A15 Bionic processor is offered at a price of just $429.

The other side grumbles about the old design of the smartphone, about the LCD panel with 60 Hertz, and about the single camera on the back. I can understand both sides, but I get upset about something completely different in the midst of the reports. About a topic that already got me pretty worked up during my review of the ninth-generation iPad.

Affordable entry-level models with expensive memory upgrades!

The iPhone SE 2022 starts with only 64 gigabytes of internal storage, which you cannot expand via hardware. That wouldn't be a problem at all for the cheapest iPhone if the manufacturer hadn't bragged about finally saying goodbye to the smallest storage variant when presenting the iPhone 13. Apple virtually admitted that 64 GB was too little in 2021 and uses 128 GB of storage in the iPhone 13 series without a big surcharge compared to the predecessor.

Apple event peak performance 049
The iPhone SE 2022 certainly does not offer "peak performance" in the base model / © Apple.

This is different for the iPhone SE 2022, which is exempt from this upgrade. Nevertheless, it is more expensive than its predecessor for the release in 2020. Apple also follows a similar strategy with the entry-level iPad, which is also only equipped with 64 GB of storage at a price of $329. Even the iPad Air 2022 with a powerful M1 processor, which was also presented on March 8, is only available with a meager 64 GB of storage for $599.

This is a bit problematic since Apple highlighted the longevity of the devices through updates and performance surplus in the live stream. It is therefore quite contradictory not to ensure this longevity with the mentioned devices by providing enough storage space. Especially since this strategy is already pursued in the iPhone 13 models.

Small memory variants as bait?

On the other hand, Apple can lower the cost of the cheapest models through this strategy to the point that they are more attractive to more customers in advertising and chargers. And that excites me much more! An iPad for $329 looks like a top deal at first. But if you then need LTE and more storage for videos, pictures, you'll pay $609 directly for the Cellular model with 256 gigabytes of storage - that's a surcharge of 320 dollars. Or you can subscribe to the iCloud storage upgrade and pay monthly.

iPhone SE 2022: Costs of the models at a glance

iPhone SE 2022 Price
64 GB $429
128 GB $479
256 GB $579

Apple's hardware, which has never been expandable in memory, is an investment for the next three to five years for many people. Accordingly, you still have to add the costs for the iCloud to the price. The fact that the data is not stored locally on the device is also a disadvantage for large data when you are on the road.

Over a long period of time, it always makes sense to go for the variants with more storage. However, this turns the supposedly "cheap" Apple device into a burden for the wallet, which you actually wanted to avoid from the start.

Furthermore, we have to rethink Apple's increased costs after the launch of the iPhone 13 series. The iPhone SE 2020 still appeared for $399. At that time, however, it was still normal for iPhones to start with 64 GB in the base model. In 2022, we therefore actually have to strictly compare the former base model with the 128 GB version, since Apple set this standard itself a few months ago. And on top of that, remember that the iPhone SE 2022 has become $30 more expensive compared to the predecessor. And that is completely unjustified!

Apple's memory upgrades as a sunk cost fallacy

Apple's memory policy reminds me of the principle of the "Sunk Cost Fallacy". The theory describes that the willingness to put more money into an obviously unprofitable investment increases because we have already started it. In other words, we have already invested time and money in something and now want to finish it, even if it is no longer worthwhile at the moment.

2021 12 14 Apple iPad 2021 Front Camera
This principle is particularly clear in the case of the ninth-generation iPad, which covers a price range from $329 to $609 / © NextPit

Buying a new smartphone starts with interest, which is usually followed by research, in which the iPhone SE 2022 will still sound like a good investment, since it only costs $429. We already invest a lot of time in the intention to buy the smartphone and are convinced. Only when we buy it do we realize that the version that meets my needs is significantly more expensive.

At this point, however, we have already made up our minds and put time into research. The willingness to buy the more expensive model grows and we end up spending more money than we actually wanted to.

Do you agree with me on this assessment or do you find my comment too harsh? Are you surprised by the storage cost of the new iPhone and how much storage do you need? Let me know in the comments!

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Benjamin Lucks

Benjamin Lucks
Head of Editorial DE

Ben has been working in tech journalism since 2018, was a freelancer in the middle of the CoVid-crisis and has been full-time at NextPit since November '20. Since then he has tries to find the right mix between professional competence, humor and fresh perspectives in reviews and texts.

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