I finally succumbed.
For two absurdly simple reasons.
On iPhone XR launch day, at 10 am, there were very few people in the Apple store I visited.
“I’ve been here for two hours,” a salesman told me. “And I haven’t spoken to a single customer until now.”
He thought there’d be long lines.
“We had four people out there at 8 this morning,” he admitted.
The second thing that sent me over the XR edge was that, on launch day, this store had every single color at every single GB level.
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I could actually look at the phones, see if they matched my eyes and shorts, and take one away with me. How often does that ever happen on launch day?
Naturally, I chose the black XR. Those blues and yellows were little loud for first thing in the morning.
I didn’t bother practicing with it in the store. I’d already chatted about it with an Apple store employee on a previous visit.
So now I picked it up once, turned it around to see both sides and decided that this would be the time I’d part ways with my special cracked-screen iPhone 6, may it rest in peace in a drawer.
What, then, does it feel like to have Apple’s latest phone after several years of slumming it?
You May Need To Buy New Shorts.
For the first few days, I kept getting out of the car and, shortly afterward, not finding my XR in my pocket.
It didn’t look that much bigger when I compared it to the 6. But if your shorts happen to have relatively shallow pockets, your phone slips out without a sound.
In fact, with all the glass around it, it’s completely slippery anyway.
I placed my phone on top of a few books on the arm of an armchair.
Suddenly, the phone slid off. The books weren’t quite flat and, in an elegant slow motion, down it went. Thankfully, it landed on the seat of the armchair, rather than on the floor.
I couldn’t resist being mesmerized as it slowly slipped away.
It May Not Recognize You In Bed.
I’d heard so many people telling me they were in the Resistance to the iPhone X and its subsequent versions, because they were wary about FaceID.
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I decided to succumb. Simple, I admit, out of fascination.
The big test, of course, wasn’t when I could stare at the phone in broad daylight and watch the little padlock unlock at the top of my screen. It was whether it would work first thing in the morning.
Currently, I grab my phone off the nightstand when it’s still dark — my wife’s alarm goes off far too early.
For a whole week, my XR has stared at me, as if refusing to open because I look so awful. Not once has it yet managed to recognize that this awful face is mine.
I have to bring the phone quite close to my face, stare at it for a while and, when dawn breaks, it reacts as if to say: “Oh, there you are.”
It’ll Definitely Not Recognize You When You’ve Eaten Questionable Sushi.
It was a regular order of nigiri. Nothing new, nothing special.
The next morning, I woke up with my face that looked like the re-creation of London’s Donald Trump balloon.
I have the pictures to prove it, but you really don’t want to see them.
My iPhone XR’s FaceID clearly thought I was the Elephant Man and expressed utter disinterest in allowing me to check my email.
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Only when I got some steroids from my doctor did my new machine find me acceptable again. For which, of course, I was grateful.
There’s something curiously human about FaceID. It’s as if it takes its personal bouncer duties very seriously.
The Biggest Differences Between iPhone XR and iPhone 6.
When you stick with a phone for a number of years, you begin to fool yourself into compromises.
I’d tolerate my 6 because it looked the same as 7 and 8. And once I’d got that far, I certainly wasn’t going to buy the X, on the grounds of some twisted obstinacy.
With the XR, I’m having to adjust to both its size and weight. The battery inside is immense and you can really feel it.
As for the size, in one-handed mode my thumb is experiencing a new form of Pilates. It’s stretching higher than it has for some years.
On a couple of occasions, after holding the phone for a little while, I revert to two-handed, which I never did with the 6.
In another peculiar twist, the XR doesn’t fit into the cupholder in my car. I know, I know. I’m a Philistine. But that’s where I used to slip my 6. It was happy there.
I haven’t yet found a new place for the XR. Perhaps I’ll just have to buy a new car.
But then there’s the speed. Compared to my 6, the XR feels like someone has given it banned substances.
It’s like suddenly going to Europe and realizing how much quicker their Wi-Fi is than America’s.
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It’s like trying to talk to someone who understands what you’re saying, as opposed to someone who wants to fight for the sake of fighting.
When you keep an old phone, you lull yourself into believing that it’s OK. But there is better.
Perhaps the most deft thing about the XR is that so much of it still feels like an iPhone.
Being without a Home button is completely unnoticeable. Other than, as I swipe up to open, occasionally turning on my flashlight by mistake, as the icon now sits on the home screen.
Otherwise, the whole thing feels clever, tasteful, and polished. And goodness, I kept it under $1,000 with 256GB. I’m supposed to believe that’s a bargain, right?
Which leaves only one question: Can I keep my XR for as long as I kept my 6?