Why is the iPhone 11 Pro called iPhone 11 Pro?

This article may contain personal views and opinion from the author.
Why is the iPhone 11 Pro called iPhone 11 Pro?
If there’s one thing you can add to death and taxes as being inevitable, it’s the Fall release of the new iPhones. The latest trio has just arrived, faster and more polished than ever, just like any other year. There’s one notable change that has nothing to do with the specs of the iPhones and that is the new naming scheme Apple decided to go with. While it might seem like semantics, there’s more to the name change that meets the eye. Let’s investigate why Apple might have made the decision to change things up.

The success of the iPhone XR was a blessing and a curse

We already knew that the iPhone XR was outselling its 2018 siblings by a large margin, but Tim Cook confirmed it himself during the presentation of the latest models. And while that’s undoubtedly a great achievement, it also sends a clear message: people prefer the cheaper, less flashy iPhone over Apple’s de facto 2018 flagships: the iPhone XS and XS Max. That puts Apple in an awkward spot. On one hand, they made a desirable product in the form of the iPhone XR, but on the other, the source of the company’s pride and the showcase of technological prowess, the XS, remains in the shadows. Not a good look for a company that’s focused on premium products.

By naming the successor of the iPhone XR just iPhone 11, Apple hits two birds with one stone. First, it removes the "stigma" that came with owning the "cheap" iPhone XR. It's an unfortunate reality that some people use smartphones (and especially iPhones) to measure success or importance, and the XR just didn't sit well with them. With the new name, the phone receives Apple’s stamp of approval: this is the iPhone to get, period. No negative connotation to it.

And second, Apple positions the regular iPhone 11 to become its best-selling phone, just as it had planned all along. This is pretty much a given especially with the new, lower starting price of $699. But what about the Pro models? Well, they’re for those that want a little extra and don’t mind spending more on it. And little it is…

What makes the iPhone 11 Pro so professional anyway?

It seems like Apple didn’t put much effort into diversifying its line more than it already did last year. Just as the XS did with the XR, the 11 Pro one-ups the iPhone 11 with an additional camera and higher-res, brighter OLED display. The camera was taunted as the biggest Pro feature, and Apple tried really hard to sell it as such, even giving it to professional photographers and filmmakers to put it to the test. And while the resulting shots and videos looked impressive, they still weren’t convincing that the $300 upgrade was worth it. The camera system has a two-times zoom lens, similar to the one the XS has, which wasn’t “pro”, and the ultra-wide camera that is on the regular iPhone 11 as well. So while the parts of the system aren’t pro by themselves, combining them is what makes the whole thing so advanced. There is some merit to that, even though it’s not much.

More likely, the idea of the Pro moniker is to give the impression that these devices are almost a niche product that only a select few really want or need. So while iPhone 11 owners get to feel better for the choice in iPhone they’ve made, so do the ones that went for the iPhone 11 Pro. Now, they’re part of the elite that wields a Pro smartphone, superior in every way (or at least a couple of ways) than its peasant iPhone 11 counterpart or any other phone for that matter. That was sarcasm, by the way, lower your pitchforks.

But there’s also a more trivial reason for the change...

The iPhone Pro adds consistency among Apple’s product lines

Devices with “Pro” in their names are nothing new for Apple. The MacBook Pro and iPad Pro are some of the most popular products from the company’s lineup. Having an iPhone Pro as well only makes sense and will surely satisfy the OCD of some Apple fanatics.

Apple probably looked beyond its own product assortment when considering the new names. Huawei, OnePlus and Xiaomi all have “Pro” smartphones and while they’re not really competing with Apple in the States, globally these companies are nibbling away from Apple’s market share. Having an iPhone Pro to put against the Android Pro flagships on the market might be a marginal benefit but it’s a benefit nonetheless. Plenty of users don’t bother digging deep (or at all) into the specs of the phones they’re choosing between when considering an upgrade. The “Pro” in the name can potentially sway some of the less tech-savvy buyers to one model rather than another. 

Overall, it appears that Apple’s decision to change the naming scheme of its iPhones was a smart one that has a lot of benefits and a few drawbacks. Now, hopefully, it will stick to it for at least a few years so there’s no further confusion.



1. gadgetpower

Posts: 208; Member since: Aug 23, 2019

Pro display, Pro design, Pro performance and Pro camera.

3. TBomb

Posts: 1505; Member since: Dec 28, 2012

I bet it would have been the same device if they didnt rebrand it the "Pro" model and kept it just regular "iphone".

10. Cat97

Posts: 1897; Member since: Mar 02, 2017

Actually, it is called Pro in order for the lesser iPhone 11 to get way more sales compared to the XR and stop the Apple sales decline for investor's sake. iPhone 11 means "buy with confidence, there are no downsides, it's a full-on next gen iPhone" (even if there are downsides) and it's not a value phone, like the XR name somehow implied.

19. Reybanz88

Posts: 97; Member since: Jul 28, 2016

I can agree with this. People will buy the Pro because the name implies better and people will also buy the 11 because it's not looked at as a cheap version like the XR was compared to XS

33. Vancetastic

Posts: 1382; Member since: May 17, 2017

Not a good look for people, then.

21. sgodsell

Posts: 7383; Member since: Mar 16, 2013

"they made a desirable product in the form of the iPhone XR." Give us a break. Anyone who bought into Apples wall garden, then your choice is this high priced iPhone XR $750, or this high price iPhone XS $1000, or this iPhone XS Max $1100. Now it will be 11, 11 pro, 11 pro Max. Pro is used because it sounds better, but there is nothing pro about any of the new iPhones. It's not like you have a great choice to choose from. Sure you also get the previous year's iPhones, or the previous year's from that to choose from. It's not like Apple gives its iOS users a ton of choice. Plus don't forget how Apple prices them. Apple is in total control. Just like the iPhone 11 will be more desirable again until next year. Apple has you by the boys that hang low, and they know it. Try buying some other fruit this time.

25. oldskool50

Posts: 1596; Member since: Mar 29, 2019

Everyone heere crashed on the Note 10, about not having higher refresh rates and other BS. Now the iPhoen is here and it has even less than the S10/Note10 and where are those same guys calling out Apple? No faster refresh rates, no USB Type C, No reverse Wireless Charging...they finally get a better power brick after how many models they made that support fast charging/ Still same old crappy $5 headphone sin the box. No adapters. Same design for 3 year in a row. Same 64GB storage, while the S and Note other are 256GB now. All they keep holding on too is the SoC which is faster because it does less. They ignore the fact the iPhone is not better optimized vs Android. when you consider the fact the S and Note have 5 times the capabilities and features over the iPhone and it last longer in most battery rundown tests shows, Samsung devices especially are better optimized and the SoC is actually faster and more power. When you consider the 855 was just as fast as he A12, and its pulling a significantly heavier load, shows you that not only is the SnapDragon more power, if it ran IOS; it would probably almost double the benchmark score. These guys are a joke. Mysteriously all the usual trolls who envade Samsung articles, are missing when Apple is doing things essentially the same. Apple is gonna lose another 30% sales this year. Tim Cook will be looking for a job by 2021 like I stated and Apple is gonna fall below 150M iPhone sales after this year, with a short rebound for the iPhone 12 which will be a slightly newer design, with a smaller notch, reverse wireless charging, maybe USB Type C.

44. tedkord

Posts: 17362; Member since: Jun 17, 2009

It's simple - those who are dyed in the wool Apple fans will accept whatever Apple releases. Those who are not have come to expect it to offer less.

57. mackan84

Posts: 479; Member since: Feb 13, 2014

“When you consider the 855 was just as fast as he A12, and its pulling a significantly heavier load, shows you that not only is the SnapDragon more power, if it ran IOS; it would probably almost double the benchmark score.” You forget that iPads proves you wrong

38. Nexus4lifes

Posts: 294; Member since: Feb 13, 2014

phonearena for you- ipaid

5. oldskool50

Posts: 1596; Member since: Mar 29, 2019

There are other premium devices that have all of that, yet don't have pro in their name. When you consider what it doesn't have, which everyone attacked Samsung for, please explain how those things are professional level? The Note 10+ and S10+ ll have similar and even better cameras, including depth sensors that help take even better photos. The S10 and Note 10 are a much better and cleaner looking design, while this is just a 3 repeat of an existing design. Samsung changed the design of every single S and Note. Pro display? Its a Super AMOLED display made by Samsung, thus its 1200 Nits, which Samsung has had on their phones since the S8. Hmmmm. Here we are 3 year later with Apple. Samsung phone shave had SAMOLED panels for several years. I would never consider that a "pro" feature. pro performance? based on what fact? Sure the A series is a fast chip. But it does nothing. When you consider the 855 is pushing QHD+ displays, an OS that has more capabilities and services running in the background, the fact that the SoC is pushing more RAM, larger display, more features in hardware and more; the A series would benchmark lower if it had to run lets say what on the Note or S models from Samsung. You are trying to justify a moniker that in smartphones mean absolutely nothing. There is nothign "pro" about the iPhone or ANY phone for that matter. Even the Note which has features that are"pro" in nature, doesn't get a pro moniker. So how does the iPhone that does less get it? iPhone is missing things that could make it "pro". Again things Samsung was attacked for not having on the Note 10, like a 90/120hz display. Hmmm. What else is missing? No depth cameras, no USB Type-C, same cheap inbox headphones, no higher refresh rate, no reverse charging, same old tired notched design. No pen support. Hmmmm. What's pro about the iPhone missing such features that Android phones already have, yet don't have pro in the name. The sales are gonna drop close to 40% this model and the $699 iPhone which cost Apple $200 to make will drop their ASP down quite a bit.

9. jjface

Posts: 240; Member since: Jun 07, 2017

Don't forget Pro ugliness, Pro marketing bs and Pro price.

17. Mike88

Posts: 415; Member since: Mar 05, 2019

It’s pro because the design language is lost, apple logo is no longer visible and iPhone isn’t written on it anymore so they want some android naming scheme to make it more “Androidful”. I think apple has agreed to provide sensitive info to govts and collaborated with google. In that case apple is doomed.

27. oldskool50

Posts: 1596; Member since: Mar 29, 2019

Wait! Are you actually knocking Apple here? I'm so surpised at you? As much as you cheerlead them, I am shocked and stnned. +1M for you for even being upfront about the facts. The fact is, both Apple and Samsung are shortchangign their customers in one way or another. Which is why I wasn't gonna buy the Note 9, and I'm not buyign the Note 10. I bought the Note 9 simply because VZW offered a BOGO deal and since I got 2 Notes for the price of one, it was a good deal. But I won't be upgrading to the Note 10+ In fact I paln to get the S10+ instead. I do need a new iPhone. Because all I have is 3 iPhone 4's which I keep for 32bit app support. because my iPhone 7 got upgraded past iOS 10 and I couldn't find another iPhone with iOS 10 or less. So I literally can't really buy a new iPhone. But een though I am not in a market for a new iPhone, I don't want to see customers get screwed by them. yet they keep doing it and fans just keep falling for it. But sells show they aren't falling liek they use too. Apple who made the trillion dollar stock, lost $450B in just 3 weeks after hitting it. HAHA. It's over! The bubble has finally burst. This is why Samsung needs to stop being like Apple. And I think the Microsoft partnership maybe they are gonna make a change which is gonna take more customers from Apple over the next few years.

40. Mike88

Posts: 415; Member since: Mar 05, 2019

I have been knocking apple since I watched the launch event. You can check my posts -https://www.phonearena.com/news/Some-rumored-feat

43. Mike88

Posts: 415; Member since: Mar 05, 2019

You should understand that we are consumers and not fanboys. When a company launch great products they should be taken as positively unlike you and sdogsell who support even bad things of android and bash even good things apple does. I said iPhone XS was the best smartphone of 2018 because it really was, I always said iPad Pro 2018 is the best gadget to have but when apple brought disappointing products without innovation beyond the launch event tag line, I didn’t feel shy in criticizing them. Be a consumer, not fanboy. I think galaxy fold is the most innovative device of the year and I would like to buy it but “android”. I hope instead of trying to prove iOS unsafe, android was trying to make itself safe and secure to be second option for many.

47. midan

Posts: 2911; Member since: Oct 09, 2017

”Apple who made the trillion dollar stock, lost $450B in just 3 weeks after hitting it. HAHA. It's over! The bubble has finally burst.” ”but the presentations apparently impressed investors. Instead of declining the day after the new product event, Apple's shares are actually up $5.71 or 2.64% to $222.42. Once again, Apple is valued at over $1 trillion.” Apple is again trillion dollar company, HAHA, must be frustrating :D No it’s very far from over, Apple is just starting

49. Vancetastic

Posts: 1382; Member since: May 17, 2017

I'll never understand why a consumer would be proud of a company's profits. They made those off of you.

54. mackan84

Posts: 479; Member since: Feb 13, 2014

Not really, that money belong to investors.

30. kanagadeepan

Posts: 1260; Member since: Jan 24, 2012

And.. One more thing... It is also very very cheap as the PRO MONITOR STAND @ just 999$...

34. Vancetastic

Posts: 1382; Member since: May 17, 2017

Do you ever get tired of sounding like an ad?

2. OneLove123

Posts: 1099; Member since: Aug 28, 2018

There's over 12 articles in the front page for Apple products. Wow!!!

18. midan

Posts: 2911; Member since: Oct 09, 2017

And those are most commented articles, your point?

35. Vancetastic

Posts: 1382; Member since: May 17, 2017

Seems like an observation, rather than a point. Why would you have a problem with this?

4. sirohunter

Posts: 200; Member since: Sep 23, 2017

Sellin xs max 250gb 99% battery life 12.4 (jailbroken) all accessories and phone intact, never used just kept for jailbraking purposes (goes out for 1k)

6. Charlie2k

Posts: 133; Member since: Jan 11, 2016

Pro because you have to be a pro disk cleaner to think 64gb is enough

20. midan

Posts: 2911; Member since: Oct 09, 2017

64GB is actually quite a lot space for normal use. I currently have 11GB free on my X. But you are right, when you have less space you have to clean it, but it’s not a bad thing. The more space you have the more crap you store because you can and eventually you just don’t bother to delete anything because it takes so much time and effort and you going to fill even bigger storage.

28. oldskool50

Posts: 1596; Member since: Mar 29, 2019

64GB is a lot. No excuse for it to not be more when you consider 4K video, the fact they are pushing Apple arcad where some games exceed 1Gb install footprints. teh fact Apple phones are by default set to the highest resolution for photos which are now 4-8MB each, and you need room for video and music where movies are now full length at 3 hours which take up at least 10GB of space each. 64GB is equal to 32Gb now. And when you consider the fact that on the open market 64, 128 and 256GB of stoage cost essentially the same, at roughly $5.00 each per 1M purchased, there is no reason to not give more, especially since they are gonna over charge you for it anyways. You keep making up lame BS excuse for Paple. It's a $1000 phone bruh. At $1000 Samsung is giving 256GB Don't even point fingers at Samsung again bruh. if you can't do it for Apple, then don't do it at all. Even if Samsung still started at 64Gb, because they still support sdcards, then adding my own is still an option. This is NOT an option on the iPhone. Files, photos, videos, games, apps and more are all taking up more space. 64GB is a-lot, but it is not enough. Apple shoudl already be offering 128GB minimum. If Samsung can offer 256GB, then Apple can most certainly do better. Even when Apple is clearly wrong, after finally increasing the charging brick size, even though they sold a fast charging phone for 3 years before doing it, still putting crappy headphone in the box for a 41000 phoen when Samsung offers not only faster charging with the right brick, but more storage, bigger displays, higher resolutions, sdcard support, better cameras,, still has FPS and so much more. It's sad you continuously will point fingers at anyone other than Apple. This is why I am not biased. because what goes for the goose also goes for the gander. Samsung was a far less problem, until the Note 10 compromises which is why I am not buying one. But Apple compromised significantly on every model since the iPhone 6 and you have yet to call them out on ANY of it. Why cheer-lead them for free dude?

48. midan

Posts: 2911; Member since: Oct 09, 2017

”teh fact Apple phones are by default set to the highest resolution for photos which are now 4-8MB each” Fact? You have clearly missed the fact that already long time ago with iOS11 got new photo and video format and the size got half smaller. ”Starting with iOS 11 and continuing in iOS 12, Apple switched the default camera formats for photos and videos to new “high efficiency” standards. For photos, that meant using HEIC files instead of JPEG, and the default for videos is now HEVC instead of H264.” Typical iPhone photo is 2.4MB, when you stop spreading your lies?

36. Vancetastic

Posts: 1382; Member since: May 17, 2017

iPology alert! Less is better, you fools!

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