March 21, 2016 1:57 pm
Updated: March 21, 2016 3:10 pm

Apple announces iPhone SE: the smaller, budget friendly iPhone

WATCH ABOVE: At the Apple new product event today in California, CEO Tim Cook announced a new, powerful 4" iPhone and a new 9.7" iPad Pro.

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The iPhone 6S now has a little sister – the iPhone SE.

Apple unveiled the new four-inch iPhone Monday during a live press event in San Francisco, amid customer calls for a smaller, less expensive iPhone.

The four-inch iPhone SE features the same technical components as the company’s latest mobile offering – the iPhone 6S – including Apple’s A9 chip, M9 processor and a 12 megapixel camera with True Tone Flash capabilities. It also features a better battery.

Apple is marketing the phone toward customers looking for a budget-friendly option. The iPhone SE will start at $549 for a 16GB model, making it the most affordable iPhone yet.

Apple VP Greg Joswiak announces the new iPhone SE during an Apple special event at the Apple headquarters on March 21, 2016 in Cupertino, California.

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Demand for smaller four-inch smartphones has remained high since the iPhone 5S was released in 2013, according to Apple CEO Tim Cook, who noted the company sold 30 million four-inch iPhone models last year.

Analysts say a four-inch iPhone isn’t likely to see the kind of blockbuster demand that Apple enjoyed with its large-screen iPhone 6 and 6S models, but it could help Apple boost overall sales.

READ MORE: ‘We owe it to our country’: Apple CEO Tim Cook talks iPhone hacking during iPhone event

The smaller phone might also draw some additional users into the market for Apple’s online services, including Apple Music, Apple Pay and the highly profitable mobile App Store.

While shoppers bought a record 74.8 million iPhones in the final three months of 2015, Apple projects that demand in the current three-month period will fall short of the 61 million iPhones sold in the January-March quarter last year.

The iPhone SE will be available for pre-order on March 24. Canadians will be able to buy the phone from an Apple retail store on March 31.

With files from The Associated Press

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