The “cheapest” 2018 iPhone is now available for pre-order

Oct 19, 2018 09:16 GMT  ·  By  ·  Comment  · 
Apple's iPhone XR is available in multiple colors
   Apple's iPhone XR is available in multiple colors

Apple has started receiving pre-orders for iPhone XR, a model that for some reason, most people call “the affordable iPhone.”

Available from $749 in the United States, the iPhone XR is actually far from being affordable and it is, in fact, only $150 cheaper than the base iPhone XS, a model that comes with several hardware upgrades.

For example, iPhone XR doesn’t feature an OLED screen, but only a 6.1-inch LCD panel. It doesn’t come with a dual-camera system, but with just a single camera on the back, just like the iPhone 8 and iPhone 7. 3D Touch isn’t available, and the body isn’t made of glass, as it’s the case on the more expensive models.

And yet, iPhone XR is the most anticipated iPhone that Apple launches this year. Earlier this year, it was speculated that this huge demand which Apple expected for this more affordable model to be the main reason it lands later than the iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max, as the company wanted to avoid it cannibalizing the rest of the lineup.

More recent specifics shared by people with knowledge of the matter, however, pointed out that the nearly one-month delay was caused by production struggles, mostly due to the complex nature of the LCD display with a notch.

While we’ll never find out the reason for this supposed delay, what we do know is that Apple itself also expects the iPhone XR to sell like hot cakes. More than 50 percent of all orders the company sent to suppliers are for this particular model, so Apple estimates that by the end of the year, at least one in two iPhone buyers would choose the XR.

Analysts say this is the result of the “aggressive” pricing of the device and the build quality coupled with brand value. There’s no doubt many people buy an iPhone just because it’s an Apple product, and now that there’s a model available at a lower price than usual, the number of customers considering getting an iPhone could increase significantly.

Cheaper not cheap

But while many people claim this is the “cheap iPhone,” I don’t think this is the case. If anything, it’s a cheaper iPhone, but certainly not cheap.

In Europe, for example, iPhone XR starts at 849 euros, which at today’s currency rates without any other taxes, means it costs $975. The top-of-the-range configuration with 256GB storage is available for 1,019 euros, which is approximately $1165.

So no, the iPhone XR isn’t necessarily a cheap iPhone, but only cheaper than the other models you can get right now.

In the last few weeks, I’ve seen lots of discussions on whether the iPhone XR is worth the money or not, and most people who were against spending that much on an Apple smartphone pointed to the Android ecosystem.

For nearly the same price, you can get one of the latest-generation Android phones, though this obviously means switching platforms entirely and not being committed to the Apple ecosystem anymore.

For comparison, the Samsung Galaxy S9 starts in Europe at 849 euros too, so the most recent Samsung flagship has the exact price as Apple’s more affordable iPhone. Note 9 costs 1,249 euros, while the previous Note generation can be yours for 899 euros, but you also get a stylus.

Given all of these, is the iPhone XR a worthy purchase? Is it a good idea to spend that much on an iPhone given that you’re not receiving the full feature package that is available on an iPhone right now? Or should buyers consider Android flagships too?

Let us know what you think in the box after the jump.

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