Apple announced three new iPhone models at its special event at the Steve Jobs Theatre in Cupertino on Wednesday. The iPhone XS is an incremental upgrade to last year's revolutionary iPhone X, while the iPhone XS Max offers the same package as the iPhone XS in a bigger body. The third offering is arguably the most interesting product Apple unveiled at the event, and not just because it's the most accessible of the three new iPhone models when it comes to pricing. The iPhone XR, which will start at a price of Rs. 76,900 in India, brings some much-needed diversity to the iPhone lineup, while retaining most of the features of its more expensive siblings that people are likely to care about.
Unlike the now-discontinued iPhone X as well as this year's iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max which pack OLED displays, the iPhone XR features an LCD screen, similar to the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus, as well as all other iPhone models before them. The display looks great, though it obviously lacks the deep black that an OLED display can deliver.
The most interesting fact here is that Apple has managed to pack a 6.1-inch display in a body that's shorter and narrower than the 5.5-inch iPhone 8 Plus, though at 8.3mm, the iPhone XR is 0.8mm thicker. If you are already used to a Plus-sized iPhone, you will find the iPhone XR to be even more manageable. If it's the sheer size that has kept you away from joining the "Plus club", you will find that the iPhone XR to be less intimidating.
These size savings have been possible by doing away with the physical home button — and with that, Touch ID — as Apple’s 2018 iPhone lineup has gone all-in with Face ID and the gesture-based user interface that debuted with the iPhone X. The design of the iPhone X wasn't quite edge-to-edge to begin with — especially when compared to Samsung's flagship Galaxy series — and the bezels on the iPhone XR are marginally thicker than the iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max, though this is unlikely to bother most users.
Colours return to the iPhone lineup, and interestingly, just like the iPhone 5c, it's on the most affordable iPhone of the year. The iPhone XR will be available in Black, White, Yellow, Coral, Blue, and (Product)Red colours, which is twice as many options as will be on the more expensive iPhone models of the year. While the iPhone XR lacks features like 3D Touch, IP68 protection (it’s IP67 rated), dual rear cameras, and an HDR display, most people won’t really miss these, and the iPhone XR will be the iPhone of the masses — well, the masses than can afford to spend over Rs. 75,000 on a phone, in any case.
Like the other two new iPhone models, the iPhone XR will be available with dual-SIM support in India, using an eSIM, which is offered by Airtel and Jio as of now. The iPhone XR will start shipping next month, well after the more expensive iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max, which become available in India on September 28, though the dual-SIM functionality may arrive at a later stage via a software update, as per Apple’s website.
Stay tuned to Gadgets 360 for detailed reviews of all of Apple’s new products.
Disclosure: Apple sponsored the correspondent’s flights and hotel for the launch event in Cupertino.
Will Apple ever launch reasonably priced iPhones in India? We discussed this on Orbital, our weekly technology podcast, which you can subscribe to via Apple Podcasts or RSS, download the episode, or just hit the play button below.