Even Apple’s entry-level iPhone XR beats everything else

Girl with iPhone XR

An iPhone XR takes a walk

Apple left the rest of the industry coughing out its dust when it introduced the low-end model in its iPhone 2018 stack, iPhone XR. That’s because the new entry-level Apple smartphone still delivers technologies others don’t quite match.

The TL;DR approach

Many highlights to the iPhone XR include:

  • A12 Bionic Chip – fastest mobile processor anywhere
  • 6.1-inch Liquid Retina LCD display – most advanced LCD display yet
  • Face ID – best and most secure facial biometric ID system anywhere
  • The camera – just packed with advantages, though the high-end devices are significantly more advanced, I think
  • Price: From $749

iPhone XR will be available to pre-order beginning Friday, October 19 and in stores beginning Friday, October 26.

What Apple says

Here’s what Apple wants to tell us about its new device:

The new iPhone XR has many of the same sophisticated technologies you’ll find in iPhone X or XR, but packs these inside an all-screen glass and aluminum design with the most advanced LCD in a smartphone featuring a 6.1-inch Liquid Retina display and six beautiful finishes

The A12 Bionic chip provides what Apple calls a next-generation Neural Engine, the TrueDepth camera system, Face ID and an advanced camera system that creates dramatic portraits using a single camera lens.

“iPhone XR helps us reach even more people with the latest iPhone innovations. It is packed with the newest technologies including a 6.1-inch Liquid Retina display that goes edge to edge, the latest TrueDepth camera with faster Face ID authentication, new 7-nanometer A12 Bionic chip with second generation Neural Engine and a 12-megapixel camera that takes advanced Portrait mode and Portrait Lighting photos,” said Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing. “The new iPhone XRhas a gorgeous new aerospace-grade aluminum and glass enclosure that has IP67 protection from liquids and dust, long all-day battery life and comes in six beautiful finishes. iPhone XR makes it possible for even more people to have the great experience of the latest iPhone X technology, in beautiful new designs, at a more affordable price.”

The A12 Bionic chip

The world’s first 7-nanometer chip ever in a smartphone, the A12 Bionic features a six-core fusion architecture with two performance cores that are up to 15 percent faster, four efficiency cores that are up to 50 percent more efficient, a four-core GPU that is up to 50 percent faster, powerful Apple-designed Image Signal Processor (ISP), video encoder and more.

This means AR will be slick, games will be detailed and fast, videos won’t jump and imaging – wow. Also: Good for doing stuff, like Word.

From Apple PR:

“The next-generation Neural Engine is built for advanced machine learning in everything from photography to augmented reality. A new eight-core design allows it to complete up to 5 trillion operations per second compared to 600 billion in A11 Bionic. This enables new capabilities like faster plane detection for ARKit and new features that use real-time machine learning. For the first time the Neural Engine is open to Core ML, empowering developers to build apps that utilize this highly efficient machine learning engine. Core ML running on the A12 Bionic Neural Engine is up to nine times faster than on A11 Bionic, with as little as one-tenth the energy usage.

Battery life

Even with all this power, iPhone XR lasts up to an hour and a half longer than iPhone 8 Plus.

Advanced display

The display is (Apple claims) themost color accurate LCD display in the industry, with wide color support and True Tone for a more natural viewing experience. Precision-milled glass, advanced pixel masking and “sub-pixel antialiasing” (who thought of that?) allows the display to follow the curves of the device, while a new backlight design enables the display to stretch into the corners.

A touch of glass

The most durable front glass ever in a smartphone is wrapped in an elegantly matched anodized band made from durable 7,000 series aerospace-grade aluminum, and the glass back design enables wireless charging.

New colors

White, black, blue, yellow, coral and (PRODUCT)RED.

What Apple said

“A seven-layer color process gives the glass back beautiful nuanced hues, and the aluminum band and camera trim are color matched to give a sophisticated finish. This new design is splash and water resistant, with a rating of IP67, and protects against everyday spills including coffee, tea and soda.

I just couldn’t match the inherent sophistication of the language used there…

What I said

Face ID

Apple has improved Face ID in its latest devices. TrueDepth camera system uses precision depth-sensing technology that goes far beyond the capabilities and security of two-dimensional facial scanners to unlock iPhone, use Apple Pay, gain access to secure apps and many more features with just a simple glance.

That camera

From Apple PR:

“iPhone XR features a 12-megapixel f/1.8 aperture wide-angle lens with an all-new sensor, delivering faster auto-focus, while larger and deeper pixels improve image fidelity and low-light performance on photos and videos. Improvements to the ISP, Neural Engine and improved software algorithms enable portrait photos with a beautiful bokeh effect. Smart HDR brings better highlight and shadow detail across photos.

“New Depth Control allows users to adjust the depth of field both in real-time preview and post-capture to create striking portraits with a beautiful bokeh effect. Selfies have never looked better with an enhanced Portrait mode on the front-facing TrueDepth camera and Portrait Lighting for dramatic studio lighting effects.”

Dual-SIM for the rest of us

iPhone XR uses LTE Advanced for fast download speedsand introduces Dual SIM through the use of a nano-SIM and digital eSIM.

When can I get it?

Customers will be able to pre-order iPhone XR beginning Friday, October 19 with availability beginning Friday, October 26, in more than 50 countries and territories including Andorra, Australia, Austria, Bahrain, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, China, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Greenland, Guernsey, Hong Kong, Hungary, Iceland, India, Ireland, Isle of Man, Italy, Japan, Jersey, Kuwait, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Mexico, Monaco, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Oman, Poland, Portugal, Puerto Rico, Qatar, Romania, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, the UAE, UK, US and US Virgin Islands.

Pricing and Availability

iPhone XR will be available in 64GB, 128GB and 256GB models in white, black, blue, yellow, coral and (PRODUCT)RED starting at $749 (US) from apple.com and Apple Stores, and is also available through Apple Authorized Resellers and select carriers (prices may vary). It will cost you from $37.41/month on the iPhone Upgrade Program.


Jonny Evans

Watching Apple since 1999. I don't say what they should do. I say what they might do. They sometimes do.

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