Which iPhone 11 Should I Buy?

Image from Apple

Image from Apple

“Which iPhone 11 should I buy” is a question a lot of people are going to be asking themselves as we quickly approach Apple’s early Friday morning September 13th pre-ordering date. Here are my thoughts and what I plan to do:

The big choice most people are thinking they have is choosing between an iPhone 11 and an iPhone 11 Pro. I currently have an iPhone X and I got it through Apple’s iPhone Upgrade program. You might be thinking, if I am part of Apple’s Upgrade program then why don’t I have an iPhone XS. After all, it was a free upgrade for me last year. I didn’t upgrade because there wasn’t anything all that compelling in the XS over the X. By NOT upgrading I now have a paid off iPhone X that Apple will give me $400 for in trade-in towards a new iPhone. So I can buy either the iPhone 11 or 11 Pro with cash and only have to pay a few hundred dollars (no more monthly payments). Both the iPhone 11 and the 11 Pro are an upgrade for me from my current iPhone X, so which one should I get?

The iPhone 11 is basically just an upgraded iPhone XR, but that’s not a bad thing. In my opinion, the iPhone XR is the best iPhone (from a value perspective) that Apple has released in quite a few years. I’ll even go one step further...for a lot of people the iPhone XR is still the best choice. The reason I say this is that most of the upgraded features you get with the iPhone 11 vs last year’s iPhone XR won’t make a difference for most users. If the extra $100 doesn’t bother you then I do suggest getting the iPhone 11 over the XR just because you get longer battery life, slightly better waterproofing protection, a second camera and a primary camera upgrade. I am getting the iPhone 11. However, my daughter just bought her first iPhone with her own money and she bought an iPhone XR. The features I just listed aren’t a big deal for her and the extra $100 cost is. So her choice was pretty easy...she got her iPhone XR on Tuesday and it is a very impressive phone. It feels great in the hand, has an amazing looking screen, and is even faster than my iPhone X at a fraction of the cost.

But what about the iPhone 11? I’ll be honest, if I wouldn’t be so ashamed of myself for spending the extra money I would be springing for the new green iPhone 11 Pro (that color is pretty sweet). But I really don’t need the features the iPhone 11 Pro has over the iPhone 11, which is:

  • Longer battery life
  • Better waterproofing
  • 3rd camera (and a bunch of very high-end camera upgrades that truly make this a pro machine)
  • An LCD screen vs the OLED on the iPhone 11
  • Stainless steel case vs the aluminum case on the iPhone 11 If you are just taking photos and videos of your family then the “Pro” camera upgrades and the 3rd camera in the iPhone 11 Pro is most likely not something you really need. Would they be nice? Yes, but I personally wouldn’t pay an extra $300 for them.

I’ve actually been making a concerted effort to spend less time with my iPhone (read my GeekDad article about Kicking Your iPhone Addiction) and when I balance the limited time I spend using my iPhone on a daily basis with the additional features of the iPhone 11 Pro it just doesn’t make sense to spend the extra $300. I suspect if you really look at what you use your iPhone for today you will find the same thing...the extra features you are paying for with the iPhone 11 Pro aren’t worth the extra money.

Apple Pay: 0-60 in About 5-Years

The Pony Express Barn and Museum in Marysville, Kansas

The Pony Express Barn and Museum in Marysville, Kansas

There is a lot of internet buzz about the all new Apple Credit Card that just came out. But people forget that Apple Pay has been out for nearly 5 years now (Apple Pay first started in the United States on October 20th 2014). When I go overseas on travel I am always amazed at just how prevalent contactless payment is over there. You can use Apple Pay virtually anywhere in the major cities across the UK (specifically in the London area where I have made several trips). Compare that to the US and I still can’t use Apple Pay to pay for my groceries and up until very recently it was very hard to find a gas station that would accept it either. Very few of my normal haunts allow me to use Apple Pay. Why is the US so far behind?

Our lack of progress here in the US was really driven home to me last month while I was on vacation in Kansas. I went to Marysville, Kansas to visit the Pony Express barn and museum. I walked into the 150 year-old barn and was able to use my Apple Watch (via Apple Pay) to pay for admission to the museum and buy a few books. Seriously?!? Come on, if I can use Apple Pay in a 150 year-old Pony Express barn why is it so blasted hard to get contactless payments in a major grocery store chain and at gas stations? In less than 2 months the Pony Express went from ZERO to operational back in the 1860s. Fast forward to 2019 and even after 5 years we can’t get contactless payments into many of our chain stores. Some of our current day retailers have a lot to learn from the folks that started the Pony Express about how to rapidly set something up. But the lesson should probably end there because the Pony Express only lasted about 18-months and I like my local grocery store chain (despite their draconian payment methods).

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