The newly-announced iPhone XR could matter more for Apple in two year’s time than it does right now.
Apple’s brand-new mid-range iPhone XR could be a play towards the medium-term future of the smartphone market writes analyst Ben Thompson for The Stratechery.
Using the example of the iPhone 5C, which Thompson claims was “a bit of a failure,” he paints the iPhone XR as Apple’s response to “learning its lesson” with the aforementioned “budget” model:
Apple customers only wanted the best iPhone, and those that couldn’t afford the current flagship preferred a former flagship, not one that was “unapologetically plastic”. Thus the first lesson: Apple wouldn’t go down-market, nor did its customers want it to.
For a customer on the market that can’t afford the higher-end iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max models but doesn’t necessarily want to sacrifice design and look, the iPhone XR is certainly an attractive-looking option, explains Thompson:
While the XR does not have stainless steel edges like the iPhones X or XS, it is a far cry from plastic: the back is glass, like the high end phones, and the aluminum sides not only look premium but will be hidden when the phone is in a case, as most will be. What really matters is that the front is the same, with that notch: this looks like a high-end iPhone, with all of the status that implies.
The iPhone XR, however, will become more important to the Cupertino company in two years that it is now, argues Thompson. He claims that if Apple continues with its trickle-down approach to pricing as it has in the past, the iPhone XR in two years will prove to be more popular with consumers than even the newest Android devices on the market due to its high-end design and features, as well as the status that comes with owning an iPhone X-style iPhone:
In two years, [Apple’s] lowest-end offering will not be a small phone that the vast majority of the market rejected years ago, particularly customers for whom their phone is their only computing device, but one that is far more attractive and useful for far more people […]
The XR has Apple’s industry-leading A12 chip, which is so far ahead of the industry that it will still be competitive with the best Android smartphones in two years, and massively more powerful than lower-end phones.
The XR has the same wide-angle camera as the XS, and the same iteration of Face ID. Both, again, are industry-leading and will be more than competitive two years from now.
The iPhone XR starts at $1,029 CAD for the 64GB model, and Apple says Canadians will be able to pre-order the device on Friday, October 19 at 12:01AM PDT/3:01AM EDT.