Apple has superseded the iPhone 5S on three separate occasions now, with the 6, 6S and now the SE. The older phone remains on sale though – and at a very attractive price. Kiwis can pick up the 16GB version for NZ$499 or the 32GB version for $599.
That’s not exactly a bargain basement price, but for a premium handset sporting Apple’s best industrial design, it’s quite an offer. By comparison the new SE sells for $749 – or a markup of around 70% and I’m not entirely sure it can back those numbers up.
The other interesting comparison is with the iPod Touch. The 32GB version sells for $449 and personally I’d happily trade 16GB of storage and $50 for the 4G radio and Touch ID.
I said at the launch of the iPhone SE that the smaller phone had made me realise what a bad turn Apple had made with the industrial design of the iPhone 6, nothing about the 5S is different in that respect. For the Apple only buyer, the 5S is something very much worth considering.
What about the smartphone world at large, for those potential customers who aren’t tied into one system or another? The Samsung Galaxy A3 can be had for around the same price and sports a bigger, brighter screen, expandable storage and better front and rear cameras. It also has a similarly premium build. Of course there’s the question of if and for how long Samsung will keep the A3 up to date.
Alternatively the Lumia 650 comes in at $150 less and sports most of the same advantages, although the limited availability of apps doesn’t really compensate for an upgrade path that should at least match the iPhone’s.
If you’re a Kiwi looking to spend around $500 on a smartphone one of these three phones probably looks like your best choice. Outside of its normal field of operations (the top of the premium market) Apple has never really been able to compete, but just at the moment the iPhone 5S is a mid-range phone that you could justify with bald facts or emotion.