Apple just tricked everyone into thinking the new iPhone costs $300 less than last year's iPhone - it doesn't

Apple iPhone event 2019Apple

Apple's newest flagship iPhone was announced on Tuesday: the iPhone 11, and it's beefier siblings the iPhone 11 Pro and Pro Max.

Like so many iPhone models before it, the iPhone 11 has a more powerful chip at its core and better cameras than last year's model. It's the same iPhone you already know and love, but slightly better than the previous one.

There's one huge difference between 2018's iPhone XS and 2019's iPhone 11: $300.

iPhone 11Apple

That's right - the new iPhone 11 costs $700, which represents a major price cut from the $1,000 iPhone XS. We're talking about 300 big ones! That's a lot of cash!

But it's not the right comparison, unfortunately. The iPhone 11 is actually a replacement for last year's "budget" iPhone, the iPhone XR, which cost $750 when it launched in 2018 alongside the $1,000 iPhone XS.

Read more: These are Apple's new iPhones: the iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro, and iPhone 11 Pro Max

In reality, the $700 price of the iPhone 11 is a much smaller price cut than it appears - just $50.

It's a trick of marketing: The name "iPhone 11" makes it sound like it's the new flagship, but it isn't.

The iPhone 11 Pro is the new flagship, and it costs the same $1,000 that last year's flagship iPhone cost. Here's the 2019 iPhone lineup, with the "budget" phone on the left at $700 and the flagship "Pro" models in the center and on the right:

iPhone 11 ProApple

If you look closely at the specs of the iPhone XR and the specs of the iPhone 11, you'll quickly realize that the iPhone 11 is the successor to last year's budget iPhone.

For starters, they have the same type of screen ("Liquid Retina HD") and it's the same size (6.1-inches). The iPhone 11 camera has two camera sensors compared to the iPhone 11 Pro's three, just like the iPhone XR featured a single camera sensor compared to the iPhone XS' dual-sensor setup.

And then there's the build materials: The iPhone 11 is made of glass and aluminum, just like the iPhone XR was, while the iPhone 11 Pro is made of stainless steel, just like the iPhone XS was.

Notably, there is no new version of the iPhone XR - and that's because the iPhone 11 is exactly that, albeit without the "budget" branding the iPhone XR carried. It's a brilliant move for Apple that re-positions its "budget" phone as its main flagship.

But make no mistake: If you buy the iPhone 11, you're getting the "budget" iPhone of 2019.

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