Crisp new Apples…for a rotten price

Megan Sumner, Contributing Writer

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Apple displayed three new iPhones at their annual September event last week: the iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max and iPhone XR. The XS Max is the “plus” version of the XS and the XR is the more affordable option. All three phones are faster, more durable, and more difficult to pronounce than any iPhone to date. But, are they worth the price tag?

The XS and XS Max share many of the same features as last years model, the iPhone X. Both phones have an OLED (Organic Light-Emitting Diode) screen, which according to Apple’s website “deliver[s] the most accurate color in the industry.” Last year, the OLED screens on the iPhone X caused an issue where images became burned into the screen when phones on full brightness were left on too long.

The OLED screens have colors that are more vivid but are more expensive than LCD (Liquid Crystal Display) screens. The XR, which is significantly cheaper than the XS or XS Max, will come with an LCD screen.

Like the iPhone X, the XS and XS Max come equipped with face ID and wireless charging. However, if you want to use the wireless charging be prepared to purchase a $39.95 wireless charging base that does not come with the phone. These phones also come with a storage option of 512 GB.
To put this into perspective, one GB can store roughly 435 pictures, so 512 GB can store a whopping 222,720 photos. Will the average user need 512 GB? Probably not.

I like to think of myself as the average iPhone user: I use my phone to browse the web, take pictures, and use applications. I’m currently sitting at 38 GB of free storage with 5,000 pictures and 35 applications on my 64 GB iPhone 8 (Disclaimer: I don’t download any movies, television shows, or music which does take up a lot of space).

Unless you’re planning to use your phone like a computer and download a lot of movies, television shows, and other files, you should be fine with a smaller storage option.  

The XR is similar to the iPhone SE that was released several years ago. Like the SE, the XR is being released alongside more expensive options to be viewed as more affordable. Besides the screen, the XR has the same features as the XS and XS Max: face ID, wireless charging, advanced camera, etc. However, the XR only comes with a max storage option of 256 GB.

All three phones come with a new, faster processor: the A12 Bionic Chip with next-generation Neural engine. According to the website, the A12 can perform 5 trillion operations per second. The best part: the new chip will run processes faster, while draining your battery slower.
In my opinion, the best feature these new phones have is dual SIM capability. A SIM card is what allows your phone to communicate with your carrier and operate on the local network. Each country has their own network that the SIM card operates on. Thus, one SIM card is used throughout the United States, and you’ll be charged if you use your phone outside the country.

A lot of businessmen, or people who travel between two different countries, find it beneficial to have two SIM cards, so their phone works in two different places.

Now, the part everyone cares about: pricing. The base price for the XS and XS Max is $999 and $1,099, respectively. The base price comes with no add-ons and the smallest amount of storage, 64 GB.

If your mouth is watering over that 512 GB of data, that will bump up the price to $1,349 for the XS and $1,449 for the XS Max. If you decided you need a wireless charging pad, or a headphone jack adapter (that no longer comes with the phone either), those would be additional charges. The base price for the XR will be $749. For the 256 GB model, it’ll be $899.

So, is it worth it? Considering the XS is very similar to last year’s model, probably not. If you already have the iPhone X or X Plus, I recommend you don’t make the upgrade.

If you must have the new phone, wait and get the XR. The XR is more affordable and has many of the same features as the XS. The XS and XS Max are now available for preorder on the Apple store. The XR will be available for preorder starting on October 19th.  

Megan is a senior majoring in Computer Science and Digital Forensics.