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The Colorful Apple iPhone XR Hasn't Exactly Been Designed to be Affordable

It has very powerful specifications, software based portrait photography and perhaps even signals the end of the 3D Touch feature

Vishal Mathur | News18.com

Updated:September 13, 2018, 1:21 PM IST
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The Colorful Apple iPhone XR Hasn't Exactly Been Designed to be Affordable
iPhone XR will be available in white, black, blue, coral, yellow and (PRODUCT) Red colorful options (News18)
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Heading into the Apple Special Event 2018, there were a lot of expectations about an “affordable” iPhone, something that would perhaps be a throwback to the days of the iPhone 5c (remember that, with its polycarbonate body and colourful shells?). This affordable iPhone was supposed to run a calming hand over the fevered brow of those who otherwise find the iPhones too expensive, for some reason or the other. Well, cannot really argue with them, since Android phones’ variations known as “flagship killers” have buyers spoiled. The iPhone XR is priced at Rs 76,900 onwards.

Here we are, and what we have is the colourful iPhone. It is called the iPhone XR, and will be available in white, black, blue, coral, yellow and (PRODUCT) Red colorful options. The latter is perhaps the most interesting bit, because the special edition (PRODUCT)Red launches usually happen a few months after the product has been in the market. At least that was the case with the iPhone 7 series and the iPhone 8 series.

To be honest, they all look great. The iPhone X-esque design lends a lot of premiumness to the iPhone XR. Hold it up, and the aluminum body reminds us of the in-hand feel of the iPhone 8 Plus, for instance. In fact, the overall footprint of the iPhone XR is similar to the iPhone 8 Plus, and sits in the hand with what is a very recognisable feeling. There is no evident cost-cutting in terms of the design. The colours on the back do peek a bit around the display as a frame, and you know which color variant you are using.

It becomes apparent that while the initial information leaks on the world wide web and the rumours prior to the Apple keynote suggested that this will be an affordable iPhone, clearly Apple didn’t exactly had that in mind.

Most of the features and innards are in line with the iPhone Xs and the Xs Max. That is unlike the iPhone 5c many years ago, which made do with slightly less powerful specifications as compared with the other iPhones launched at the time. This, for instance, uses the same powerful A12 Bionic processor as the other two more expensive iPhones. The battery life is expected to be stronger too. There is the TrueDepth camera at the front which enables the Face ID feature. In fact, this has a single camera but software based trickery will enable the full gamut of portrait mode photography features as the dual camera iPhones.

However, the confusion about the positioning does come into play when we look at the display. This has an LCD display, while the other two iPhones have an OLED display. That said, while the LCD display isn’t necessarily a bad thing, this is where Apple must be getting the cost-to-manufacture controls really going. The liquid retina display, as it is being called, is quite rich to look at, text looks crisp and while it isn’t as vibrant as the OLED screen on the iPhone X and the newer iPhone Xs and the iPhone Xs Max, using this LCD display will be no hardship at all.

In a way, the iPhone XR could be showing us the way to the future. Before you scoff at the idea of the lowest priced iPhone among the three being a future defining product, hang on for a moment and look at this—there is no 3D Touch feature in the iPhone XR. It is not as if the LCD screen cannot have 3D Touch. If the phone that Apple expects to sell a lot (perhaps the most this year) doesn’t have 3D Touch, that could perhaps be the first indicator that this is a feature that could be phased out eventually across the line-up.

However, there is one slight problem. Not slight, but a big problem. The price of Rs 76,900 onwards (the iPhone XR will be available in 64GB, 128GB and 256GB variants) will face threat from another iPhone. The iPhone X. Yes, last year’s iPhone. Considering many iPhone X users will be looking to upgrade to the iPhone XS or the iPhone XS Max, there might be many iPhone X available at around the same price if you get through to the correct discounts and deals in stores. Yes, a phone one year older, but what you get is a dual camera instead of a single camera and a flagship product instead of one designed to be somewhere down the ladder (with no disrespect to the iPhone XR at all). Unless colours are your thing, this is something to seriously consider.

The iPhone XR arrives in India next month, with preorders starting October 19 and store availability set for October 26.
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