Apple’s new iPhones: are they the right buy?

Akif Abidi, Staff Writer

Anthony Onalaja
On Sep.15 the iPhone XS was released into the world. The successor to the iPhone X, the high end phone includes dual sim compatibility, a better processor and more advanced photography features.


Last year, Apple took a bold step forward with the iPhone X, which helped in kickstarting the era of the “bezel-less” era, i.e the absence of the front screen edges.


Now, a year later, Apple returned with its all-new iPhone XS and iPhone XR. But the question is, is Apple simply on a money run or a quest for innovation?


The iPhone X is not a super hit in the market; it is a great phone, but its hefty price tag of $999 for the base model dragged its sales down. However, it did make a somewhat good impression on the public and showed them that Apple was ready to venture into new waters. So, when Apple announced the new additions to the X series: iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max and iPhone XR, people understandably had expectations.


Branded as the “the smartest, most powerful smartphone” by Apple, the iPhone XS is as high-end as it gets. Like its predecessor, it flaunts a hefty price tag of $999, and this time comes in a larger option: the iPhone XS Max. If one just glanced at the specs and sat through Apple’s slightly boastful Keynote, he/she would be impressed.


However, taking a closer look at the XS reveals that Apple has not tinkered with the X much. Placed side by side, it takes more than just a moment to discern which is which. There have been improvements, but they have mostly been somewhat minimal. The look, build, screen size, resolution and speakers of the iPhone XS are virtually the same as the iPhone X, and though the plus-sized iPhone XS Max offers an 0.7-inch bigger screen, the outer design is still the same.


The iPhone XS and XS Max both wield one of the most powerful smartphone processors on the market, the A12 Bionic. The difference in the eye of a common everyday user is almost negligible, but it has lead to photographic improvements. On paper, the X, XS and XS Max have the same camera, but the new A12 processor gives the iPhone XS a substantial improvements, the differences are easily discernible when held side to side.


Along with the iPhone XS, Apple also released the iPhone XR, a more budget-friendly successor of the iPhone X. With the base model dropping at a relatively cheap price of $749 on Oct. 26, it has specs that comfortably stand at par with the iPhone XS in most fields and is a step in the right path by Apple.


It has the same powerful A12 Bionic processor and minimal bezel shape, and it also offers a better battery and comes in many diverse colors. But at the same time, it does lack quality in some aspects with its lower-resolution screen (an LCD, unlike iPhone XS’s OLED) and does not offer 3D-touch, something that is scarcely used. It also only wields a single camera and not a dual camera.


In the end, the bang for buck certainly falls with the iPhone XR.


The new releases are certainly attractive, but when one has the choice of its predecessors, it does not seem worthwhile. With the release of the new iPhones, previous models are bound to drop in price like they always do, and can be found on the market with sometimes even $200 off their price tag.


Apple’s iOS updates usually brought lag to its older models, and the iOS 10 and iOS 11 are perfect examples of it. However, interestingly, with the new iOS 12, Apple has listened to its users and has considerably improved performance on older generation iPhones such as the iPhone 5s, iPhone 6, iPhone 6s, iPhone 5SE and iPhone 7.


“I currently have iOS 12 on my iPhone 6,” junior Sebastien Royer said ”It honestly makes it a lot more usable and runs as fast as it did when I first got it. I was thinking about getting a new phone, but I think I can work this phone a lot longer now.”


This is also where the iPhone XR comes in, showing that Apple took heed to its consumers asking for affordability. Furthermore, with great phones like the iPhone 8 and with the iOS 12 considerably juicing up older models, it begs the question: Do you really need to spend $1000 on a smartphone?


It’s your money, it’s your choice, but do not chase the latest, most flashy model for the sake of it. Think smart and weigh all your options before making the big decision.