The 2018 iPhone XS and iPhone XR lineup was wonky. Price and iPhone price perception was one thing, but even on technical specs, the 2018 iPhones clashed with each other. The cheapest phone could be more appealing to a hypothetical consumer with unlimited budget because of the battery life. The XR summarily trounced the iPhone XS in longevity. With the iPhone XS, and iPhone X before it, you would have to baby the phone to get you through the day. In comparison, the XR was a care-free vacation of unrestraint. The XS Max was close to XR battery, but the Max is out of the question for a lot of people because it is simply too big.
What this meant was that even tech journalists would migrate to the iPhone XR and not the high-end XS line. The benefits of ‘unlimited’ battery dominated the draws of a slighter nicer screen and a second rear lens. There is clearly a problem in the product line when the most dedicated, most technically-minded, portion of the user base are not attracted to the top models. The XR was not complementary, it was cannibalistic.
So, with the iPhone 11 and iPhone 11 Pro, this imbalance has been rectified. In fact, all three phones are advertised as getting better battery life than the XR. And it’s a clean straight line as you would expect. Based on Apple’s reported video playback durations, the iPhone XR gets 16 hours — that’s the baseline. The 11 beats it by an hour, the Pro beats it by 2 hours and the Pro Max extends the gap further for a monstrous 20 hour battery life.
If you have an effective unlimited budget, there is no way you are picking the $699 iPhone 11. The discounted XR doesn’t have a chance to win either. Now, your choice is a simple matter of ergonomic preference: iPhone 11 Pro, or iPhone 11 Pro Max.