Apple has long had a playbook for iPhones, its most important product: Keep rolling out bigger, faster and more expensive models.
On Wednesday, it repeated that strategy by introducing another round of iPhones that are — you guessed it — bigger, faster and more expensive. The model with a 6.5-inch screen, the iPhone XS Max, is Apple’s biggest iPhone ever and will start at $1,100. (And, yes, its name is a mouthful.) Last year when Apple debuted its iPhone X, the starting price was $1,000.
More notable, perhaps, was how much Apple is now evolving its smart watch into a clearly health-related device. The company showed off a new Apple Watch with an electronic heart sensor approved by the Food and Drug Administration. That could lead to new implications for health care — and prove to be a major selling point for a device that has played second fiddle to the iPhone.Apple on Wednesday unveiled the iPhone XS, a premium model with a 5.8-inch screen, and the iPhone XS Max, with a 6.5-inch screen, its biggest-ever smartphone. The company also showed the iPhone XR, an entry-level model with a 6.1-inch screen.
The XS models are generally sped-up versions of last year’s iPhone X. Apple emphasized the phones’ advanced processor, durable glass and so-called Super Retina OLED display with a wide color gamut.
The iPhone XR will come in white, black, red, blue and yellow, and is just as fast as the XS models. It has a single-lens camera, unlike the XS models, which have dual-lens camera systems. And it uses LCD, a less expensive screen technology than the OLED used for the XS, and the casing is made of aluminum, unlike the stainless steel that the premium phones are composed of.
It’s obvious why Apple and other phone makers like Samsung keep enlarging their phones: Phones with bigger screens are selling well. When presented with the choice between a small phone and a bigger one, most people will go with the latter. That’s similar to how just about everyone wants a big-screen TV.But for mobile phones, there are trade-offs. For one, the larger phones are more difficult to use with one hand. With last year’s 5.8-inch iPhone X, it was difficult to reach your thumb across the screen to type a keystroke or hit a button inside an app.
The larger screens raise an important question about design. Will Apple do much in the near future to improve one-handed use?
When Apple’s screen sizes started growing with the iPhone 6 in 2014, the company released a software shortcut, called Reachability, through which users can tap the home button twice to lower the top of the screen and make it easier to reach buttons up there. That feature still exists for the new iPhones, but the lack of a home button makes it more difficult to use — instead of double tapping the home button, now you swipe down from the bottom of the screen.