Last month, the world waited and watched as Apple CEO Tim Cook pre­sented the new and improved ver­sions of America’s favorite smart­phone.

The usual hype sur­rounded the new iPhone XS, XS Max, and XR. The inno­v­ative XS max boasts a 6.5‑inch, high def­i­n­ition screen, “the smartest, most pow­erful chip in a smart­phone,” and the general aura of class that comes with every new iPhone.

The most notable dif­ference between the phones is, as usual, the price tag. The iPhone XS starts at $999, the XS Max at $1099, and the XR at $799.

Apple adver­tises the lower end, budget-ori­ented iPhone XR as an entry-level smart­phone that appeals to younger users, those looking to avoid the out­ra­geous price tag of the XS and XS Max, and those seeking the user-friendly iOS oper­ating system without the extra fea­tures that come with the higher end phones.

Upon closer exam­i­nation, however, it is apparent that Apple pur­pose­fully held back the tech­no­logical advancement of their lower-end iPhones so they can  boost the price of the high-end models.

The iPhone 4, released in 2010, had a screen res­o­lution of 326-pixels per square inch (PPI). The iPhone XR, released just weeks ago, has a screen res­o­lution of  — low and behold — 326-pixels per square inch, according to the Daily Dot. Apple has incor­po­rated its high-end retina display into every­thing from their phones to their watches and com­puters. The multi­billion dollar company should incor­porate this higher-end screen into all of their phones to show some form of improvement from those released years ago.  

Granted, the human eye can hardly rec­ognize the dif­ference between the 326-pixels and the 458-pixels per square inch res­o­lu­tions offered in the high-end models. However, when we take into account that a 2016 iPhone 8 Plus, with a 401 pixels per square inch screen res­o­lution had a starting price of $699 — $50 less than that of the new iPhone XR — it is clear that Apple is trying to pull a fast one on its loyal fan base.

Another feature sep­a­rating the new round of iPhones is the highly sought-after camera built into each model. The XS and XS Max models each carry dual-lens, 12-megapixel cameras capable of shooting slow motion video in 4K and taking photos that rival DSLR cameras. The iPhone XR, however, has a single lens camera com­pa­rable to the cheapest iPhone 7, released in 2016, which had a starting price of $549.

The iPhone XR has no prac­tical upgrades save a few system dif­fer­ences. It has a new and improved A12 Bionic Chip, wireless charging, and a larger screen com­pared to all pre­vious models (except for the iPhone X released in 2017).

One benefit of the iPhone XR is its longer battery life, according to Apple sta­tistics. Com­pared to the XS and XS Max, the battery in the XR out­per­forms in every sta­tis­tical cat­egory. Talk time, audio and video playback time, and internet usage time are all sub­stan­tially longer with the iPhone XR, all for $250 less than the baseline XS and $350 less than the XS Max. The longer battery life in the XR proves that either Apple is capable of cre­ating a better phone for a lesser price, or the XS and XS Max are so incredibly pow­erful that the battery drains faster than that of the cheaper phone. Knowing Apple, it’s probably the former.

Apple was recently in hot-water with con­sumers regarding a claim that they “slowed down users’ phones without their knowledge or per­mission,” according to CNN. Once it was revealed that older models were slowing down, Apple admitted they pur­pose­fully slowed down older phones because the older models couldn’t handle newer software updates at a normal speed. It is true, however, that slowing down phones forces iPhone users to upgrade to the ver­sions that actually work how they are sup­posed to. Apple is making its new phones more and more nec­essary.

Regardless, the simple fact of the matter is that Apple creates products that appeal to users’ brand loyalty and name pop­u­larity. I have been an iPhone user for years and don’t plan on switching to another brand any time soon. Although the company may hold back tech­nology to jack up prices, they con­tinue to create the most acces­sible, user-friendly, aes­thet­i­cally pleasing, and pow­erful products year after year.

Liam Bredberg is a sophomore studying the liberal arts.