The new “budget” iPhone, the iPhone XR, was announced this week. Essentially, a more-colourful iPhone X, but with an LCD screen and single lens camera, it is, nevertheless, a lot pricier than the previous budget iPhone, the SE.
At the time of writing, the XR is due to go on sale in the UK for £749, which is for the 64GB model. The same capacity iPhone XS is £999. In comparison, you can head to Amazon right now and pick up the 32GB iPhone SE for £239.
But, back to the question – what does that R mean?
The “R” in iPhone XR
First, we need to understand what the S means in this year’s iPhone XS. This harks back to the very first S model iPhone – the iPhone 3GS.
Back then this stood for “speed”, as the 3GS was mainly about performance improvement over its predecessor, the iPhone 3G. Since then, it has become the default suffix for iPhones released every-other-year.
Like Intel’s tick-tock model, the idea is that iPhones with the S moniker are just relatively minor updates to the previous year’s model. Apple didn’t break this rule until last year where, alongside the iPhone X, it also released the iPhone 8 – the previous iPhone had been the iPhone 7 so, theoretically, the next phone should have been the iPhone 7S (and, to be honest, the iPhone 8 was a relatively minor iteration).
We know what the X means – it’s Latin for 10, as the iPhone X was first launched last year, which marked the iPhone’s 10th anniversary. But what about the R?
Well, officially, Apple has not said. Some surmise that it could be for “regular” or “reduced”. However, the most likely answer is that R comes before S in the alphabet – the iPhone XS is this year’s premium iPhone, so the R could simply indicate that this is a model down from that.
The iPhone XR is released on October 26th and can be pre-ordered from October 19th onwards.
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