I'm a happy iPhone XR owner and this is how Apple should sell it

Cupertino seems unsure how to sell its best-value phone. One look at Samsung's foldable phone should give it a clue.
Written by Chris Matyszczyk, Contributing Writer

It keeps on going.

Image: Sarah Tew/CNET

Apple won't stop annoying me.

It's not deliberate. At least, not as far as I'm aware.

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It's just that the company keeps running that iPhone XR ad with the people in colored jumpsuits running headlong, in search of a mythical Pamplona bull. Or something.

It's supposed to excite you about the XR's Liquid Retina screen. Yes, the screen that isn't quite as good as the one on the iPhone XS.

Have you heard anyone express rampant enthusiasm for that screen? Have you seen people whipping out their XR's in bars and screeching: "You just have to look at my Liquid Retina?"

I thought not.

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I've never done it, even though I've been the perfectly happy owner of an XR for two months now. Moreover, no one has ever accosted me in a public place and insisted on delighting in my screen. (Unlike, say, in my burgundy fake-suede, crepe-soled boots. $35 from ASOS.)

Why, then, would Apple be peddling an aspect of the phone that is just fine, but doesn't move people? Especially as the phone isn't selling quite as well as Apple had hoped.

Humans are a painfully primitive species. They're easily mesmerized by novelty. So, telling them "Hey, isn't this old screen here amazing?" might not inspire.

Currently, the phone that (at least some) humans are mildly electrified by is Samsung's foldable phone. Why, because the notion is new and there's a (small) chance it could be cool. To be seen with, that is.

I suspect people aren't too concerned about whether this foldable phone will do more than a normal phone. It's just that, hey, it's foldable.

Which got me to thinking about whether there really is one thing about the iPhone XR that feels genuinely different. Or even vaguely pulsating.

There is. The battery life.

Previous iPhones I've owned wouldn't last a day without needing a recharge. They'd run dry at the most inopportune times. You know, when trying to take a selfie at a Warriors game or working hard to get the right light on my plate of gourmet goujons.

Now, I'm astonished to go days without needing to charge my XR. 

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There are times when I look at the battery icon and worry that it's getting a little low. I then discover it's still 57 percent charged.

Few have ever associated Apple with excellent battery life. It was always one of the substantial prices you paid for owning an iPhone.


This thing, however, is a revelation. Why not inspire people by telling them the XR is the Battery Life phone, just as the XS is the Money No Object I'm So Cool phone?

You might think, then, that Apple might come up with something uplifting and unusual to dramatize the XR's battery life in an ad.

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Battery life may not seem like the most exciting thing in the firmament, but Energizer did quite well by personifying it in the pink, fluffy, shades-wearing, drum-beating body of a toy bunny.

Is it really beyond Apple's imagination to conjure, say, a witty, green, hairy pronghorn antelope that symbolizes both speed and endurance and sings U2's greatest hits as it roams?

Look, that was just the first thing that came into my head, OK?

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