Apple iPHONE XR
So what about the features? Well, while the XR can’t quite match the specs and performance of its more expensive siblings, it’s definitely no slouch.
There are two big downgrades to the XR as compared to the XS, to help it hit that lower price: the display, and the rear camera.
First up, the display. The 6.1in display is LCD rather than LED, which is probably the biggest reason Apple has been able to keep the price lower – LCD is the tech used in the iPhone 7 and 8, rather then the other X and XS models.
Still, Apple claims it’s the “most advanced LCD ever in a smartphone,” (though it would say that, wouldn’t it?) with a resolution of 1792×828 and pixel density of 326ppi. Apple’s dubbed the screen the Liquid Retina display, and says it’s the most colour-accurate LCD in the industry. Still, make no mistake: this won’t be quite as bright or colourful as the screen in the XS, so that’s what you’re missing out on.
The rear camera is the other major difference. Unlike the two XS models, this only has a single lens – though it is at least the same 12MP wide-angle lens that the other two phones are using for the main shooter, with an f/1.8 aperture and optical image stabilisation.
Despite only using a single lens, Apple has managed to keep portrait mode (a.k.a. the bokeh effect), using software post-processing to blur the backgrounds of photos after they’ve been taken. You’ll also be able to select the level of depth (and thus blurring) that you want in your photos after the fact, a new feature to this generation of iPhone.
The final omission is a smaller one: there’s no 3D Touch here. Apple tried to hype up its replacement, which it’s dubbed Haptic Touch, but it’s really just a fancy way of saying the phone will sometimes vibrate when you hold down in certain spots, so you will be losing some of the 3D Touch functionality on this phone.
Processor and other specs
Despite those differences, there’s a lot that’s similar between the XR and the XS. Both phones use the same new A12 Bionic processor, both have the same TrueDepth front-facing camera array (and thus FaceID to unlock), both boast wireless charging, Bluetooth 5.0, and stereo speakers.
The A12 Bionic processor has a similar configuration to 2017’s A11, with a six-core CPU and a quad-core GPU. However, it’s the first to be manufactured using a 7nm process, which should mean it’s considerably faster.
In practice this means apps should launch up to 30 percent faster, but apps can also take advantage of machine learning for features like better depth detection in Portrait mode and better mapping of Animojis in FaceTime. FaceID is also quicker thanks to faster algorithms and it runs on a faster version of the secure enclave.
The XR also joins the XS in being one of the first iPhones to offer Dual-SIM. Only China will get proper Dual-SIM (i.e. two physical SIM cards), but if you buy it in the UK and US you’ll be able to use one physical SIM and one separate eSIM – though it’s worth being aware that so far only a handful of networks support eSIMs, so you might not actually be able to use the Dual-SIM setup.
As for battery life, Apple claims the new phone will last an hour and a half longer than 2017’s iPhone 8 Plus.
Finally, on the software side, the XR will support iOS 12 from launch, so will come with all of the app and operating system tweaks and improvements included in the new version of iOS.