iPhone XS and XR - Thoughts

2 minute read

Quick thoughts on the iPhone event this week…

iPhone XS and XS Max

Last year’s iPhone X was an exciting proposition, but felt disjointed when announced alongside the 8 and 8 Plus. The vision for the new iPhone bolted on to the fourth iteration of the iPhone 6 redesign was bizarre, and their staggered release dates took even more air out of the hype balloon. I’ve seen plenty of iPhone X’s in the past 11 months, and while they’re beautiful in their own right, my sense of jealousy never reached a fever pitch.

This year, the XS and XS Max do the typical S-year thing, and build on the foundation of the iPhone X to make it just a bit better and more reliable. But while the phones seem solid, and the XS Max’s screen is dauntingly impressive, they also seem to highlight the pitfalls and strangeness of this new vision.

Maybe it’s just that I haven’t experienced iOS on an X device, but I’m almost indifferent on the New iPhone. The tried and true reliability of my 6s seem homey and nostalgic all of a sudden.

I am happy to see another S year though. The iPhone 7 was a weird not-that-new new iPhone that just kind of built on the 6s, then the iPhone 8 did the same while Apple was clearly shifting gears towards their new vision. We missed the new/improve/new/improve cycle of the iPhones that came before.

I have always loved the little boxed-in-S logo on my iPhone, because to me it says “refinement” and “proven” in a way that I’ve always appreciated. To me it’s like a little badge in self-control, proving to the world that I had the restraint to wait until the next big thing was tested and proved itself to be what it claimed.

iPhone XR

The biggest threat to the XS is it’s brother the XR. The new ‘budget’ iPhone is almost everything that the XS’s are on paper, save for the OLED screen, waterproofing, and dual-camera. It’s even a little bit bigger than the base XS, and those colors are flashy too, so why would you go for the XS at all unless you were going for the Max?

That fundamental question, why XS over XR, is still my primary question after this week’s announcement, and I’ve yet to get a great answer. Apple obviously isn’t going to tell you why the XR is bad, so we’ve got to wait until it’s in our hands. All the way until October…

Apple Watch Series 4

The Apple Watch has always been intriguing to me but never grabbed my attention. The Series 4 finally has done that, by simply completing the initial design destiny of this form factor. Apple has always wanted the Watch screen to look as if it melts into the curved edges of the casing, but it never has until this year. Now, the Apple Watch is something special to behold. It’s still a bulbous little box, but it’s got a much prettier face.

So, preorder?

I got pre-approved for the Apple Upgrade Program for the iPhone XS Max 256GB, but I didn’t bite on Friday morning. After considering it long and hard, I just want to see how far my current S-badged phone can take me. Plus, it gives me an excuse to finally join the Apple Watch herd.

We’ll see. I still want a new Mac too. But that’s a post for another day.