Apple iPhone Xr vs iPhone Xs: all major differences to expect



It's almost been a year after the most unique iPhone in years was announced, and one can't help but wonder what comes after X? Thankfully, there is already a treasure trove of details from diverse and credible sources who have proven themselves in the rumor race about Apple's future plans. 

Surprisingly, it's not the iPhone Xs or the eventual Xs Plus (or whatever Apple names the X successors) that are the most heavily rumored, but rather a lowly iPhone Xr that will apparently be responsible for 50% of Apple's 2018 crop shipments

It will reportedly take the place of the iPhone 8 in the roster, at least regarding Apple's lowest 2018 price tier, so let's list the expected differences with the higher-end iPhone Xs that will allow it to both fit a TrueDepth camera in its notch, and still go for $700-$800, according to analysts and "supply chain sources" that have chimed in on the matter.


TL;DR




Name, size, displays, SIM trays

This one required a ton od deductive reasoning, but the three new handsets Apple will announce on September 12 will go by different names than the company's conventional titling scheme. 

A leaked slide from China Mobile depicts an iPhone Xr, Xs and Xs Plus are about to be unveiled, going for a 6.1", 5.8" and 6.5" displays, respectively. Don't let the exorbitant $860, $1079, and $1225 price equivalents fool you, though - in China, the iPhones cost about 20% more in USD than in America. Also, the alleged dual-SIM version of the Xr may be China-exclusive only.

The smallest iPhone in the crop will be the X's 5.8" successor, at about 5.65 x 2.79 x 0.30 inches (143.6 x 70.9 x 7.7 mm) dimensions, followed by the 6.1" LCD model at 5.94 x 3.01 x 0.33 inches (150.9 x 76.5 x 8.3 mm), and the largest 6.46-incher will likely be roughly the size of the 8 Plus now.


Full metal jacket? Not!

Just aluminum vs steel frame


While at first, we heard that the "affordable" iPhone Xr will sport a metal, instead of glass body, KGI Securities' analyst Ming-Chi Kuo now lists only "aluminum frame" as the difference between the bodies of the iPhone Xs and the iPhone Xc. The iPhone X has a stainless steel frame, which is sturdier and more expensive to make, so either Apple will keep the iPhone Xc's casing costs down by going back to a metal unibody design, or by swapping the expensive steel frame for a 7000-series aluminum alloy one, but keeping the glass back - something that it is already doing with the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus - and the reason might be wireless charging

Qualcomm, for instance, has the resonant inductive coupling technology needed to wirelessly charge a metal phone without heating its body too much, called WiPower, but if you place such a phone on a regular Qi pad, the joke will be on you, hence the proliferation of all-glass phones lately, which seems to move in sync with the proliferation of this technology in retail gear. Given that glass makes wireless charging much easier, we would bet on an aluminum frame and glass sandwich design, unless Apple decides to eschew wireless charging for the iPhone Xc - highly unlikely, given that the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus have it, and they will be cheaper than the Xc when it lands.

One camera to rule them all

Dual shenanigans are for the rich

 

There aren't many details yet about the cameras on the three expected iPhones, but at least we know with relative certainty which ones will getthee current dual-OIS kit of the X - you guessed it, the Xs and Xs Plus. The iPhone Xc is said to make do with a single lens camera on the back, making it a true iPhone 8 successor. 

There could still be the eventual sensor and/or optics upgrades, if Apple manages to pull these off by the time the phones are released, though it's hard to imagine how you can beat a camera that does 4K HDR recording at 60fps. With a new A12 chipset, though, everything is possible.

Perhaps an instant continuous autofocus like on Dual Pixel phones, or more than 2x optical zoom are in store? Remains to be seen, but for now, those who pick the iPhone Xc, as opposed to the iPhone Xs, won't be zooming losslessly into the void, it seems.

Notch horns go LCD

LCD or OLED display, the notch is here to stay

Apple is said to issue three notch-y phones in 2018, all with a TrueDepth camera set at the front, even the eventual more affordable model with LCD screen panel. JDI's Full Active screens are the prime candidate to land in the first iPhone with Face ID and LCD display, and we have a detailed breakdown of what it would mean for the iPhone Xr.

Not only has JDI developed an LCD screen that offers most of the advantages of flexible OLEDs (save for the deep blacks, of course), but it actually excels in a few parameters besides cost. JDI called its darling a Full Active display, as it managed to shrink the frame to just 0.5mm on all sides, paving the way for all sorts of "bezel-less" designs, as current LCDs or OLEDs typically have frames that are twice thicker, or even more at the bottom, where the display circuitry resides.

Apple usually works with suppliers to tailor the size, resolution, and color fidelity to its own desired specifications. There are tips that Apple will employ the Full Active's 18:9 ratio directly, but we kind of doubt that, as this will make developers have to write for three different app scalings. Thus, the only characteristics of the already-announced 6" 1080x2160 panel left over by the time JDI starts shipping for Apple may be the Full Active ones - flexibility, durability, almost no bezels, and what it calls PixelEyes, encompassing technologies like in-cell touch and deeper black levels than what conventional LCDs are capable of.

What this means is that the iPhone Xr may sport a pretty cool display still, albeit not of the OLED variety, allowing Apple to keep its price lower by skimping on non-essential features. Thus, the iPhone Xc may not sport 3D Touch, but it would still offer access to the Face ID and Animoji staples, bringing them down to millions of people who will now have the opportunity to access all the TrueDepth camera goodies at a much lower starting price.


Same processor, less memory

A common 7nm A12 made by TSMC, but 3GB or 4GB RAM

While the iPhone Xr, Xs and Xs Plus may be powered by one and the same chipset, the amount of RAM and storage will likely differ - 3GB RAM for the iPhone Xc against 4GB for its OLED brethren. There is also а rumor making the rounds that Apple may go wild with a 512 GB version of the iPhone Xs Plus. 

Samsung has already announced such a flash memory chip for mobiles, and has it in the Note 9, so it's certainly doable, but we cringe at the thought of those models' pricing. The iPhone Xr and Xs, on the other hand, with their alleged $700-$900 price range, will more likely keep with the current 64GB/256GB storage scheme, as you can see from some leaked box labels below.


Needless to say, we expect a 7nm Apple A12 chipset in all 2018 iPhones, as there are indications that this production process will become available in the second half of next year. There's been a move to a lower node with each subsequent A chip recently, and if anyone can pull off the 100+ million unit orders for high-end silicon to make the 7nm process viable for the TSMC foundry, it's Apple, so we keep our hopes high that we will see a 7nm Apple A12 making the next iPhones tick. 

Battery and motherboards

L-shaped batteries are for the rich, too



The rumored L-shaped battery for the iPhone X really materialized, albeit consisting of two different pieces. The tricky design extends to the right, fitting extra capacity in a space vacated by using chip-stacking and other miniaturization technologies. In the case of the iPhone X, this has allowed it to gain a 30% higher capacity compared to the rectangular shape, to the tune of 2716 mAh.

Apple obviously plans to take things a bit further - as per everyone's favorite iPhone analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, the iPhone X sequel could be equipped with an L-shaped battery, but it may not be of the single-cell variety, as previously rumored, so it is likely to keep the current capacity. The 6.5-inch model will eventually be powered by a 3300-3400 mAh battery, tips the analytical guru in a note to clients.

The LCD model with a 6.1" panel would use a more orthodox rectangular battery rated at 2850-2950 mAh, as it won't sport a stacked motherboard like the Xs or Xs Plus. That will allow Apple to keep down costs on this particular model, and at the same time promises quite an extra chunk of battery life added to the 2018 iPhones, especially since the A12 will land as a 7nm chipset indeed.

Price and release dates, of course

Starting at $749, and going to... anyone's guess

The cheapest 6.1" iPhone Xr model with the LCD display and the single camera is expected to cost $700-$800 in the United States, according to Kuo, while the prices for the Xs and the eventual Xs Plus are anyone's guess.

Given the inevitable cut in component prices that happens a year after launch, Apple might decide to lower the starting tag of the Xs a bit compared to the X, launching it at, say, $849-$899 for the base version, while the rumored Xs Plus with a 6.46" OLED screen could fill the $999 shoes. 

We'll leave it to you to predict Apple's pricing for an eventual 512 GB version of an eventual iPhone Xs Plus. Will we see the first Apple iPhone to break the $1000 barrier at its base storage tag this year? The ever-rising average selling prices are an encouraging ominous sign for that to happen. In addition, the LCD model is likely to launch at the end of October or beginning of November, rather than September 21 like its more expensive OLED siblings. Which one would you get?

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45 Comments

1. meanestgenius

Posts: 21987; Member since: May 28, 2014

Yes please, to the 6.5 inch iPhone for me. Just got an 8 Plus recently, and I have relearned to appreciate the iPhone and what it has to offer.

10. BeersAndTech

Posts: 95; Member since: Sep 28, 2015

Can't wait! iPhone X is definitely the best smartphone available.

11. ColinW

Posts: 412; Member since: Jun 04, 2014

Definitely not the best smartphone available, too many flaws, inferior specs, and beta level impementations.

25. NickHill

Posts: 388; Member since: May 07, 2016

Best is subjective but why are you getting salty?

14. meanestgenius

Posts: 21987; Member since: May 28, 2014

Best available is subjective. I prefer the iPhone 8 Plus to the X. Still, I'm looking forward to the 2018 iPhones and what they'll bring to the table.

16. Anonymous.

Posts: 423; Member since: Jun 15, 2016

Really? So, if the iPhone X and iPhone S Plus had both the same price tag, would you still prefer the iPhone 8 Plus over the X?

17. Anonymous.

Posts: 423; Member since: Jun 15, 2016

iPhone 8 Plus, not "S Plus"... :))

18. meanestgenius

Posts: 21987; Member since: May 28, 2014

Price isn’t a problem for me, as I buy my smartphones unlocked and at full price. My reason for choosing the 8 Plus over the X is the better battery life that the 8 Plus has over the X. Battery life is the number one metric for me when choosing a Smartphone.

19. Anonymous.

Posts: 423; Member since: Jun 15, 2016

Alright, since battery life the first metric of you're when choosing a smartphone, doesn't that mean you love mid-range handsets? Cause they're the best in the battery life business.

21. meanestgenius

Posts: 21987; Member since: May 28, 2014

I own a BlackBerry KEYᵒⁿᵉ, and it has the best battery life out of any smartphone that I’ve owned, with the possible exception of the BlackBerry Passport, of which I own as well. I’m a fan of mid-range and high-end smartphones. Many consider the KEYᵒⁿᵉ to be mid-range, but I feel it’s a flagship due to build quality, camera, software and fast security updates. People say the SoC makes it mid-range, but that battery life is better than just about any “flagship” that’s currently on the market.

20. redmd

Posts: 1935; Member since: Oct 26, 2011

Did you replace your BB with iPhone?

22. meanestgenius

Posts: 21987; Member since: May 28, 2014

I still own my BlackBerry KEYᵒⁿᵉ, but if truth be told, I prefer iOS to Android. I’ve been using Android because my Smartphone makers of choice are now making Android smartphones (BlackBerry and Nokia). But that’s not enough for me anymore, so I went and got an iPhone 8Plus. I’m currently using both.

26. Anonymous.

Posts: 423; Member since: Jun 15, 2016

Have you tried the Lenovo P2? It's got solid upper mid-range specs along battery life that's off the charts... The best battery life on a smartphone, period! For someone who prefers battery life more than anything else, you should definitely have a Lenovo P2 in your possession.

45. iushnt

Posts: 3096; Member since: Feb 06, 2013

I would choose 8 Plus over X just for the FP scanner.

2. Humanoid

Posts: 1226; Member since: Dec 11, 2017

6.5" is going be to like 6" 16:9. Better do like Mate 10 and small button on front and tiny bezels than ugly notch

3. Cat97

Posts: 1880; Member since: Mar 02, 2017

The lower-priced model, if made with aluminium unibody and having at least a 3000 mAh battery, would tick all the right boxes. Glass backs are the stupidest thing ever invented. OLED does not make a world of a difference in day to day usage.

8. Mreveryphone

Posts: 1817; Member since: Apr 22, 2014

Oled makes a world of difference in everyday usage when it comes to battery consumption...

4. Venom

Posts: 3508; Member since: Dec 14, 2017

Apple still killing it. While you still have companies like Nokia trying to play catch up or others still trying to be expensive, Apple is still doing their thing and making mostly great products.

5. youssef44

Posts: 547; Member since: Apr 29, 2014

I don't mind about iphone till they they make big things... big features and improve thier lagy software...

37. Leo_MC

Posts: 7432; Member since: Dec 02, 2011

What laggy software? I would like to uninstall it so that my phone will never be laggy.

7. Mreveryphone

Posts: 1817; Member since: Apr 22, 2014

There's no need for a 7nm A12 chip as the A11 isn't fully utilized in the X... The OS is still lackluster and really doesn't need much processing power to run it. My X just feels under utilized with it's oled screen and very good camera. Split screen multitasking would be a breath of fresh air for the os or even a floating window... Utilizing both cameras at the same time while getting both shots in portrait mode studio lighting would be awesome!

44. Phullofphil

Posts: 1767; Member since: Feb 10, 2009

You don’t know what a7nm chip has to offer then. You don’t buy a high end computer for gaming and never upgrad it because the operating system don’t need it. It’s about what power it has to give you and what you can do with it.

9. TerryD

Posts: 546; Member since: May 09, 2017

JDI flexi display looks awesome. I know lets add a notch to it to make it look even better...said no one ever.

12. tokuzumi

Posts: 1894; Member since: Aug 27, 2009

While I have no interest in purchasing any more iOS devices, I hope Apple puts a fingerprint sensor somewhere on the device. If they can't do an in-screen sensor, put one on the back.

38. Leo_MC

Posts: 7432; Member since: Dec 02, 2011

I still can't believe there has been a designer that though "hey, let's put a fp scanner in the worse possible spot"...

13. alumoyo

Posts: 391; Member since: Aug 26, 2013

They might as well drop wireless charging from iphone 9 though - if they are already dropping 3D touch and dual camera. I get that there are users who find value in it - but there are also users who don't, and they shouldn't have to pay that extra AND suffer the fragile glass back for a feature they never use or even asked for. The ones who want the EXTRA feature should pony-up the extra cash. Give your uses at least ONE MODEL which is not fragile on both sides Apple. Wireless charging is just as frivolous and easy to live without as the other two features that are gonna be dropped and those other two feature don't come at the cost of compromised durability.

15. phonearenarocks

Posts: 606; Member since: Mar 26, 2015

I like this line particularly well. "The iPhone 9 is said to make do with a single lens camera on the back, making it a true iPhone 8 successor." LOL!!!!! As if PA doesnt want 9 to have a dual camera and loving whats on offer. Come on, if it has a dual camera, doesnt it make it a better sucessor?

23. Akraw

Posts: 70; Member since: Apr 02, 2012

Should I buy the iPhone x now or wait for the plus version of 2018? I use my phone at least 3 years.

24. Sammy_DEVIL737

Posts: 1529; Member since: Nov 28, 2016

If you use phones for atleast 3 yrs than better wait for the next version as it may have bigger screen(if you love bigger screen phone) and may also have improved Face ID hardware. And if you get disappointed by 2018 version than go straight for X.

39. worldpeace

Posts: 3130; Member since: Apr 15, 2016

No, you shouldn't buy iPhoneX now, they'll cut iPhoneX price really soon, just wait for it while waiting Xs reviews as well..

* Some comments have been hidden, because they don't meet the discussions rules.

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