Apple should only make one phone this year: the iPhone 11R

iPhone XR comes in six new finishes: white, black, blue, yellow, coral and (PRODUCT)RED.
Apple’s A12 Bionic-powered iPhone XR comes in six finishes: white, black, blue, yellow, coral and (PRODUCT)RED.

Apple should return to one, great (affordable) iPhone model. Imagine if Apple released one main iPhone model in 2019 instead of three…

Andrew Williams for Wired:

Let’s try a thought exercise: a future where Apple releases one main iPhone model in 2019 instead of three. And it is closer to the iPhone XR than the iPhone XS Max, a slightly more affordable phone that will stay well under £1,000 for the base spec.

The first argument for this is simple. Apple’s iPhone XR is very popular.

“The iPhone XR has been a bit more successful than I expected,” says Ovum smartphone analyst Daniel Gleeson. “The big factors that have helped the XR have been its positioning relative to other iPhone devices – the iPhone X was retired, which drove a lot of people who would have bought the cheaper iPhone to the XR. Apple’s pricing strategy with the XS and XS Max also serves to make the XR look like a very good deal; even though it is still one of the most expensive handsets available.”

MacDailyNews Take: As predicted:

Why would the hoi polloi choose the 5.8-inch iPhone XS when they can get the 6.1-inch iPhone XR? They don’t know the difference between LCD and OLED, they have no idea what 3D Touch is, and it looks/works pretty much the same to them – plus it comes in colors (that they’ll immediately cover with a case; no matter, colors sell).MacDailyNews, September 20, 2018

As Apple intended. The iPhone XR is the X-class iPhone for the masses!MacDailyNews, October 16, 2018

For those not obsessed with tech, the iPhone XR is the slightly more affordable “new” iPhone. And for the enthusiast it is just as powerful as the iPhone XS Max, but lasts longer between charges and costs less. These very sentences highlight a problem with the “solo iPhone” concept, of course. Will an iPhone 11R seem as good a deal if there are no pricier iPhones to compare it to?

This is why our lone iPhone 11R needs a more distinct identity than any iPhone has had in years. If Apple could find a way to successfully market this hypothetical phone as a newly affordable flagship, and the only big-name phone that offers anything approaching solid privacy, it could come across as the most, or even only, “pro-people” phone.

MacDailyNews Take: No.

For the same reason that Apple makes Mac Pro* which helps to sell other, lesser Macs, Apple should continue to make a flagship, state-of-the-art, premium-priced “iPhone Pro.”

*Of the new Mac Pro, every Mac user should be proud.

The Mac Pro is sort of like why you fund a space program, if you’re smart. Yes, there are pressing needs elsewhere (and, btw, there always will be; it’s a bad excuse for not investing in exploration), but if you’re not pushing, you’re stagnating. Nothing unexpected can be discovered, no new solutions uncovered when no new challenges are ventured. It’s why smart car companies make esoteric supercars of which only a few will ever be sold and on which the investment will never be recouped. As with supercars, lessons learned from the Mac Pro, the Mac flagship, will percolate throughout and improve all of Apple’s product lines. Yes, Apple worst-selling Mac is their most important.

May the Mac Pro never be dead-ended, abandoned, and ignored again!

Think about what you thought of Apple’s Mac lineup when it had a half-decade-old, neglected, dead-end design as its flagship. The entire Mac lineup was diminished. Apple’s management who allowed this to happen were diminished, too. People could only see the flaws – in the machines and the people. Now, with the new Mac Pro proudly raising the flag high atop the mountain, all Macs, and everyone responsible for making Macs, are lifted up along with it. — MacDailyNews, July 23, 2019

21 Comments

    1. The multiple different iPhones are absurd. It’s only because Tim Pipeline Cook wants to try and maximize profits. By offering a “Pro” line, they just profit more off of those devices likely.

      When Jobs launched the first iPhone, it was laughed at in the enterprise. Then, the consumer-based phone just got adopted organically in business because it was that good.

      By diversifying the iPhone like this, it breaks what the device really is: a mobile computing powerhouse in your pocket that is easy to use and does pretty much everything. And it goes against Apple’s core tenant of simplicity. Too much choice that isn’t in the best interest of the User.

      It gets us into the “Spec Game”. These devices have the EXACT SAME SOFTWARE. They strip things down like the screen, offer less resolution, reduce the camera quality… when that’s not what the User wants. Apple needs to stop doing this. Get rid of most of the phones and just offer one great phone in one great screen size, and keep selling last year’s model for cheaper.

      1. I partially agree with you, but like it or not, there are people that want most of what an iPhone offers at a budget price and those who are prepared to pay more for more features and/or smaller/larger screen size. These decisions are based on many personal needs. My mother for example has an iPhone 7 Plus and loves the larger screen size due to her slightly impaired eye sight. Some people want a smaller phone to fit in their purse/pocket. I personally like the largest screen currently being on an iPhone 7 Plus, but now am ready to upgrade to get FaceID and all of the newest AR features coming.

  1. I believe Apple should give consumers a choice of models, mainly because all the other smartphone manufacturers do that much. I could see if the iPhone were some dominating and unique smartphone but clearly, it no longer is. In terms of cutting edge hardware, Samsung’s flagship smartphones are easily surpassing many areas of the iPhone (faster download speeds, faster charging, higher battery capacity, larger internal memory, larger storage capacity, reverse-inductive charging, etc.).

    This is no longer 2008, when customers lined up around the block just to fondle the iPhone because it was the only smartphone of its class. Now there must be dozens of cutting-edge Android smartphones and customers buying at many different price-points. One size does not fit all and now consumers are balking at the iPhone’s high price tag. Nearly all products on the market today offer choice or customization. Apple isn’t good enough to buck that trend with one lousy iPhone model. So many people hate Apple as it is, so Apple needs to conform to the norm.

    I’m absolutely disgusted from hearing about Apple not being able to sell enough iPhones to consumers. I simply don’t want it to get any worse than it already is. Many people want budget smartphones and Apple refuses to oblige. Apple has this desire to limit iPhone sales and that just doesn’t seem like a good business strategy if Apple is going to continue focusing on iPhone sales for its revenue.

    1. Apple to “conform to the norm”… is not the real Apple.
      But trying to stand out in just being luxury is certainly not the right way to be outstanding…

  2. From the very beginning, Steve took my advice – two iPhones. A 4gb and an 8gb. Now we have 3 new iPhones every year. Steve was smart to listen to good advice

  3. Apple should have three iPhones—just not the three they plan on releasing. They should have an iPhone XE, which would be an updated version of the 4 inch iPhone SE; then we have the iPhone XR and the iPhone XS Max marketed as the iPhone Pro. Now that’s a winning lineup.

    1. So, by your laughable reckoning, there have been no improvements in screen technologies, CPUs, GPUs, memory speeds and storage sizes, user interfaces, battery life, operating systems and more. Hope you’re enjoying your iPhone 4s buddy.

  4. Apple should have two reasonably priced phones. There’s no need for an XR. I’m not playing any phone this year there’s no need there’s nothing to justify the purchase

  5. This will be the first year since the iPhone 5 that I won’t upgrade my phone to the latest model. There are a couple factors.

    First, while we are absolutely sure about the features, it seems likely that iP11 will add a third camera lens and remove 3D Touch. I love my iPXs-Max camera and it’s already a better camera than I am a photographer so the upgrade is “meh” to me. I REALLY like 3D Touch and while iOS13 may prevent me from using it (anyone in beta…can you confirm), I see little reason to pay for a new phone that takes something away from.

    Which brings me to my second point. While I do have some disposable income, I don’t have the kind of wealth where $1,450 is irrelevant. That’s what I paid for my iPXs-Max with AppleCare. I use my phone constantly so the cost per minutes used along with the utility it brings my daily life makes me comfortable with the price. It is still a lot of money…at least to me.

    Am I willing to drop another $1,450 this year? No way, especially given that I know I will want the 2020 iPhone. So, for me, this is a by-year because the alternative would be a three year iPhone expense of around $4,350, which is just nuts to me.

    1. 3D Touch working fine. Why not buy a new iPhone XI Max, transfer your data across, and then sell your iPhone XS Max? Best of both worlds, it’s what the MDN publishers do, they’ve told us many, many times.

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