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iPhone 11: Is It for You?

You’ve heard that the new iPhones have been announced and you’re asking yourself, “is it time to upgrade?”

The answer is yes! And no. And maybe. And, honestly, probably not but yes anyway.

Those are all answers for different people, and I’m here to help you figure out which is the right answer for you.

First, let’s clear up the new naming convention. With the iPhone X series, there were two options: a budget “XR” option and the flagship option called the X (available in two sizes). This was an unusual naming convention because the iPhone lineup was the only Apple product that used it. 

Apple has apparently chosen to start moving toward a more consolidated naming approach across their products and changed things up for the iPhone 11 series so that it looks more like their iPad and MacBook lineup. Instead of having an iPhone 11R, we just have the iPhone 11. And instead of some other moniker for the flagship, Apple went with the iPhone 11 Pro. So when we talk about the iPhone 11, we’re talking about the new budget iPhone. If we are talking about the flagship iPhone, it’s the iPhone 11 Pro (available in two sizes).

So what’s the difference between these models? Not much, but kind of a lot. Just like with the iPhone X series actually.

Here’s the breakdown of what’s different:

iPhone 11iPhone 11 ProiPhone 11 Pro Max
Screen size6.1” Liquid Retina LCD5.8” Super Retina XDR OLED6.5” Super Retina XDR OLED
Number of cameras2 (wide & ultra-wide)3 (zoom, wide, & ultra-wide)3 (zoom, wide, & ultra-wide)
Water ResistanceCan withstand 30 minutes under 2m of water (IP68)Can withstand 30 minutes under 4m of water (IP68)Can withstand 30 minutes under 4m of water (IP68)
Material100% recycled aluminumSurgical grade stainless steelSurgical grade stainless steel
ColorsPurple, Yellow, Green, Black, White, Product(Red)Midnight Green, Space Grey, Silver, GoldMidnight Green, Space Grey, Silver, Gold

The biggest differences are in the screen size and the cameras. The iPhone 11 has a slightly larger, lower-resolution screen than the 11 Pro, and only has two cameras to the 11 Pro’s three. Otherwise, the devices are similar enough to say they’re functionally “the same*.” They all have the same software capabilities, the ability to reach the same speeds, and the same network performance. Apple has done a great job of keeping even their ‘budget’ device up with their flagships. Everything “under the hood,” so to speak, is the same.

*The devices have different screen performance as a result of LCD vs OLED technology, weights, and battery life as a result of differing form factors.

This doesn’t really answer the question of whether you should upgrade your iPhone, though. So let’s talk about that.

I’ll start with my favorite topic… talking about myself.

I am not planning to upgrade to the iPhone 11 series this year. Here’s why:

I have an iPhone Xs, and have been using it for about a year. Before my iPhone Xs, I had an iPhone 7 for a little over 2 years. While I find the new cameras to be quite appealing, it’s the only significant difference in the 11 series over the Xs series. Sure, the screens are nicer but even I, a self-proclaimed screen quality junkie, probably won’t notice this very often. The rest of the major upgrades, like the faster FaceID, swipe keyboard, improved slo-mo capture, and  Dark Mode are all coming with the iOS 13 launch later this month, and every hardware improvement, when compared to the Xs, is iterative. You probably won’t notice a difference between the Xs and the 11 Pro unless you’re looking really really hard and have both devices right next to each other.

There’s also one feature that I use quite a lot that the new 11 series doesn’t have—3D Touch. Apple’s analytics show that the feature is rarely used so they quietly nixed the feature that was announced with so much fanfare and pomp with the iPhone 6s. This is a pretty big drawback for me, so if you love 3D Touch, stick with your iPhone 6s, 7, 8, or Xs (the XR doesn’t have the feature either).

If you’re like me, the answer to the question is probably “no.”

So who should upgrade?

I think there are three cases where you should consider upgrading your phone.

1: If you’re still using an iPhone 8 or older, and have been waiting to upgrade for a compelling reason

I can’t say that the iPhone 11 is heads and shoulders better than the X series (it’s a very iterative release after all), but it is probably the best version that’s going to come in this particular form factor. While the rumors for next year’s release are looking really good, we can expect all of the odd issues and bugs that come up with really new form factors and technologies to crop up next year. The iPhone 11 series is a fantastic time to upgrade if you’re coming from the older form factor and want to know that you have a device where the major bugs have been dealt with.

2: If you like to always have the latest and greatest

Sometimes the only thing that matters is that you have the newest device. If this is you, then it’s a simple answer—yes.

3: If your existing phone is failing in some way

If your battery is dying, your touch screen is going crazy, your home button is damaged, or you have water damage that’s making your phone freak out every 10 minutes, then now is the time to upgrade. If you’re thrifty, maybe you go for the XR (starting at $249.99 on the WTIA Phone Plan!) instead of the 11. Regardless, it’s time to upgrade, you know it, and the iPhone 11 or 11 Pro is going to be a huge upgrade for you.

Everyone else, hang tight. The rumors for next year’s release are impressive (2-way wireless charging, Apple Pencil compatibility or a small Pencil a-la the S-Pen on the Galaxy Note, full screen TouchID, and a smaller notch or no notch at all, among other things) and if even just a few are true, it’s going to be a really great release. While the 11 series is still a fantastic lineup, there’s no real need to upgrade if you’re happy with what you have.

If you’d like to learn more about the WTIA Phone Plan, let us know!


  • Joshua Dolim

    As the Phone Plan Operations manager, Joshua is responsible for managing and maintaining the WTIA Verizon account that serves all of our WTIA Member companies and employees.

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