The most interesting development during Apple’s event wasn’t the iPhone XS Max’s 6.5-inch display or the Watch Series 4’s ECG feature. The device that stole the show was Apple’s iPhone XR, a colorful entry that’s primed to become insanely popular when it launches in October.
There are many reasons to get excited about Apple’s new entry-level device. It features a sleek design, an expansive 6.1-inch Liquid Retina display, and powerful specs—it comes with the same A12 Bionic chip found in the iPhone XS. It’s a powerhouse, and it’s affordable, too.
What’s most notable about the release, however, is that it’s Apple’s new standard. After a year or two, the iPhone XR’s design will no doubt act as the blueprint for every new mainstream iPhone. For all intents and purposes, the iPhone XR is Apple’s future. Even Apple refers to it as the “new generation of iPhone.”
Let’s explore a few of the things the iPhone XR standardizes in Apple’s iPhone portfolio:
- Wireless charging
- No home button
- No headphone jack
- Face ID
- Massive internal storage
- Edge-to-edge display
- Portrait mode, depth control
- No 3D Touch
- Navigation gestures
It’s a fundamental change for Apple when compared to last year’s iPhone 8, which is now a relic of a bygone era. Apple is clearly shifting its focus to bigger and better things, such as Face ID, a feature the company says is the most secure facial recognition technology in a smartphone.
The lack of a home button will be no doubt be the biggest change for would-be iPhone XR owners, as the button has been a staple in the iPhone from the beginning. Rumor has it the iPad Pro will soon follow suit, completing the eradication of Touch ID for good.
As we learned from the iPhone X, the transition from a physical button to Face ID isn’t as daunting as it first seems. Sure, there’s a learning curve, but as countless iPhone X users discovered, navigation gestures can be far more intuitive than pressing a mechanical button.
Apple has every reason to put its faith in the iPhone XR as the new standard after receiving near-universal praise for last year’s iPhone X. As the company said at this week’s event, the iPhone X has become its most popular smartphone, with a satisfaction rating of 98-percent.
The iPhone XR will help make this technology feel normal among mainstream audiences. Going forward, when owners of the iPhone 8 and earlier walk into an Apple store, they’ll have an entirely new experience when they consider upgrading. They’ll see a future where the home button doesn’t exist and screens are edge-to-edge.
It’s more congruent with Apple’s insistence on killing ports and buttons compared to last year when Apple released the iPhone 8, which recycled a design that was several years old.
Then comes the price. Even with Face ID, an A12 Bionic chip, and support for wireless charging, the iPhone XR starts at $749, making it a more affordable option compared to the iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max.
The iPhone XR also represents Apple’s more playful side, which seemed to disappear with the iPhone 5C and iPod touch. The device comes in red, yellow, white, coral, black, and (my personal favorite) blue. Hopefully, these colors remain a staple in Apple’s portfolio, allowing fans to further express their style.
Apple will continue to offer more premium devices like the iPhone XS and iPhone XS at more premium prices. But the new standard at Apple is the iPhone XR, showing the company is fully committed to the more sophisticated design.
If this is the “worst” of what Apple has to offer going forward, then its future will be very bright (and colorful)
You’ll be able to pre-order the iPhone XR on October 19, with shipments to go out on October 26.