Since the launch of the first Pixel phone in 2016, Apple and Google have been engaged in a perpetual feature-based arms race over what their smartphones can offer their customers. While this is exceptionally common in the flagship devices like the iPhone 13 Pro Max and the Pixel 6 Pro, the two companies are also in an ongoing dogfight to control the mid-range market with their respective “budget” handsets, the $429 iPhone SE and $449 Pixel 6a.
There are plenty of admirable features to consider with the current iPhone SE, most notably the A15 Bionic processor which outperforms the Google Tensor processor on the Pixel 6a. Still, Apple may need to take a long, hard look at its budget smartphone offerings and figure out the best ways to keep up with the entry-level market. Here are five Pixel 6a features we’d like to see Apple borrow for its next-generation iPhone SE.
A dual camera
Sometimes it’s just about numbers. Google has found a way to include two cameras on the Pixel 6a, a 12MP wide-angle lens and a 12MP ultra-wide-angle camera, while the iPhone SE has a single 12MP wide-angle camera. It takes great photos, but with only a single camera, the iPhone SE is very limited. A second camera would allow for features like Cinematic Mode, good portraits, and just better all-round shots that the current iPhone SE just can’t get.
Dominik Tomaszewski / Foundry
Speaking of the camera, one of the biggest limitations of the iPhone SE is the lack of night mode due to its reliance on older camera hardware. Night Mode is easily the most important new camera feature of the past five years, and if Google puts it on its cheapest Pixel, Apple certainly can too. You shouldn’t have to spend $700 and more on an iPhone to get decent photos in low light.
More storage space
You can never have enough storage space on your phone, and Google Simple beat Apple here. While the current iPhone SE has more options than the 6a (64GB, 128GB and 256GB), Google has managed to get an impressive 128GB of storage in its entry-level smartphone, which is quite attractive to any potential buyer. Apple’s entry-level iPhone SE may start at $20 cheaper than the Pixel 6a, but that extra 64GB of storage to take it up to 128GB of storage from the Pixel 6a will net buyers an extra $50. We would like to see the next model level the playing field without increasing the price.
Dominik Tomaszewski / Foundry
A bigger OLED screen
The iPhone SE’s LCD screen is hardly a deal-breaker, but it’s hard not to look at the Pixel 6a’s impressive OLED screen with envy. Apple has been using OLED screens on its high-end iPhones since the days of the iPhone X, and as such, the current iPhone SE feels like it’s made up of leftover parts. If Google can find a way to include a 6.1-inch OLED display in its budget smartphone, Apple certainly can.
An in-display fingerprint sensor
We’ve heard rumors for years that Apple is working on a fingerprint sensor that rests under the display, but it has yet to appear on every device. The Pixel 6a is one of countless Android phones to feature the tech, and the next iPhone SE, which will presumably have a new design that removes the Home button, would be a good time to unveil it. On the Pixel 6a, it’s handy and includes the kind of utility and feature that would make the iPhone SE more attractive to buyers. Putting Touch ID in the power button like the iPad Air and mini would be fine, but a sensor in the display would really take the SE to the next level.