Apple CEO Tim Cook hosted a special event at the Steve Jobs Theater in Cupertino, California, in which the tech company unveiled three new phones: a 5.8-inch OLED iPhone XS, a 6.5-inch OLED iPhone XS Max and a 6.1-inch LCD iPhone XR.
But the real star of the show was the long-rumored iPhone XR, a phone that is replacing the iPhone 8 lineup with a 6.1-inch edge-to-edge notched display, powerful A12 Bionic chipset, and Face ID.
Starting at Rs 76,900, this might be the less expensive compared the iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max, but still retains many of the features of the iPhone XS. Some may argue that for half the price of the XR, there are are now many Android phones that offer an-all screen display, better specs on paper and a premium design language, including the OnePlus 6 and Honor 10.
Despite all this, consumers will happily pay Rs 76,900 to buy the iPhone XR. And no wonder it might become the most popular smartphone of this year.
The launch of the iPhone XR signals that the company is ready to broaden the appeal of the company’s iPhone lineup. This does not mean that Apple will offer a phone at Rs 30,000 in the market. Since the time of Steve Jobs, the company has always strived to make the best products possible and get them delivered to as many as people. That’s exactly what Apple is doing with the iPhone XR.
Sure, it skips on the OLED display and dual cameras, still the iPhone XR has the most features found in this year’s high-end phones. In terms of star features, the iPhone XR comes with Face ID, which uses Apple’s own “True Depth” camera system to register your face to unlock the device securely. This same feature was introduced last year and the iPhone X was the first smartphone to support Face ID. Apple could have launched the iPhone XR with Touch ID, but it didn’t.
It sends a strong signal that Apple is ready to bring signature Face ID to less premium phones. This move also gives Apple a competitive advantage over Android manufacturers who are struggling to implement a Face ID-like feature on their phones. Will Face ID help increase in sales of iPhone XR? The answer could be yes.
The iPhone XR will be sold with e-SIM (or, Electronic SIM cards) technology support, a feature that may help to increase its footprint in countries like India. Essentially, e-SIM technology allows users to switch their service from one network provider to another without having to physically replace a SIM card inside their phone. Technically, the iPhone XR has the option for a nano SIM slot and the other is an eSIM. Apple says Airtel and Reliance Jio will support eSIM in India, which means a lot of iPhone XR users might come from this market.
For years, Apple has escaped from releasing dual-SIM phones. With India being the most important markets now, the dual-SIM iPhone could boost its chances to increase its market share. Initially only entry-level smartphones had dual-SIM support, but now most high-end phones are dual-SIM ready.
Dual-SIM iPhones makes a lot of sense. This enables users to have two different numbers, without needing two mobile devices. It’s also extremely useful for frequent travellers and business users. Apple first introduced e-SIM technology in its high-end iPads. However, this is the first time Apple is bringing an e-SIM technology support to its phones.
With the iPhone XR, Apple is not repeating its mistake of launching a less superior device like what it did with the iPhone 5c in 2013. The iPhone XR has a distinct character — and yes, it is not a cheaper version of the iPhone X. By adding features like Face ID, wireless charging and an edge-to-edge display, Apple created an aspirational product that would not command a high price.
A phone like the iPhone XR is the next step in the company’s evolution to sell a premium product for the mainstream smartphone market. The move is both a major risk for Apple, and also a massive opportunity for the company to continue to disrupt the tech world.