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The iPhone 11 Is Here But Is It Worth the Upgrade?

The iPhone 11 — the newest version of Apple’s renowned smartphone — is now available in digital and physical stores worldwide. Keeping with tradition, Apple released the iPhone 11 on the heels its predecessor, the iPhone XS, with only a year separating their debuts.

Like its predecessor, the iPhone 11 is available in two models:

    • The entry-level iPhone 11 (starts at $699)
    • The premium iPhone 11 Pro Max (starts at $1,099)

Many iPhone owners, though, are hesitant about switching to one of these newer models. A question on many of their minds is whether the enhancements in the iPhone 11 are worth the cost of an upgrade.

To answer this question, it helps to know what has and hasn’t changed between the three iPhone 11 models released in 2019 (iPhone 11, and iPhone 11 Pro Max) and the three iPhone XS models released in 2018 (iPhone XR, iPhone XS, and iPhone XS Max). Toward that end, Table 1 compares key features in these six models.

What Hasn’t Changed

When looking at Table 1, it becomes evident that some elements have not changed in iPhone 11. Elements that have largely stayed the same include:

    • Screen type and resolution. The screen type and resolution are basically the same between the comparable models in the 2018 and 2019 releases. The standard and premium models have organic light-emitting diode (OLED) screens, while the entry-level models have liquid-crystal display (LCD) screens. Because the entry level models have LCD screens, the resolution of their displays is not high as that in the standard and premium models.
    • Screen size. The amount of screen real estate has not changed between the comparable 2019 and 2018 models. Interestingly, the entry-level models have a larger screen than the standard models.
    • Operating system. All six models run Apple’s iOS operating system. Although the 2019 models come with a higher version (iOS 13) than the 2018 models (iOS 12), you can easily upgrade the operating system in the 2018 models to the most recent version.
    • Face ID authentication. All six models offer Face ID authentication. Thanks to this feature, you can use your face instead of a password to unlock your iPhone and log in to apps.
What Has Changed

Table 1 highlights some important differences between the iPhone 2019 models and their 2018 counterparts. The most noteworthy changes were made to:

    • The chip. The new A13 Bionic chip in the iPhone 11 models contains 8.5 billion transistors (the A12 Bionic chip has only 6.6 billion) and has been optimized for machine learning. As a result, the A13 Bionic chip’s two high-performance cores are 20% faster and consume 30% less power than the high-performance cores used previously, according to Apple. Plus, the chip’s four high-efficiency cores are 20% faster and consume 40% less power than previous high-efficiency cores.
    • Battery life. Improvements made to the lithium-ion batteries and the phones’ systems have resulted in longer battery life in the iPhone 11 models. According to Apple, the iPhone 11 Pro Max’s battery lasts up to five hours longer than the battery in the iPhone XS Max. Similarly, the iPhone 11 Pro’s battery lasts up to four hours longer than the one in the iPhone XS. The iPhone 11’s battery, though, lasts only one hour longer than the one in the iPhone XR.
    • Camera and video systems. Apple added an ultra-wide 12-megapixel (MP) camera to the backside of the iPhone 11 models. This means that the iPhone 11 Pro and iPhone 11 Pro Max have four cameras (one in front and three in back) and the iPhone 11 has three cameras (one in front and two in back). Plus, Apple included new features such as the Night mode for taking photos in low-light conditions and the ability to take “slofies” (slow-motion selfie videos). While the jury is still out on how useful the slofies feature will be, the Night mode is already receiving good reviews.
A Personal Decision

The iPhone 11 offers some notable enhancements. However, whether the enhancements are worth the cost of an upgrade is a personal decision each iPhone owner will need to make. We can, though, explain the enhancements in more depth so you can make an informed choice.