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iPhone XS sticker shock: Two reasons business pros should consider Apple's cheaper iPhones

Business pros and IT departments may choose the cheaper iPhones expected to be announced at Apple's Sept 12 event over iPhone XS models.

iPhones have always been expensive, and with the iPhone X, Apple crossed the $1,000 mark for a base model phone. Apple has reported extremely strong iPhone X sales, but are business professionals growing tired of paying a premium for Apple's latest iPhones? In a one-on-one interview, Jason Hiner, Global Editor in Chief of TechRepublic, shared his insights on why business professionals and, more importantly cost-conscious IT departments, might eschew the top-end iPhone XS or iPhone XS Plus and opt for one of the rumored cheaper models. The following is an edited transcript of the interview.

Bill Detwiler: Jason, you're a longtime iPhone fan and user. You talk to people all over the world. How can Apple get business professionals to continue paying $1,000 for the top-tier iPhone?

Jason Hiner: Yeah, I mean the biggest thing is these devices are used by so many business professionals. They're such a key part of our every day lives now for communications, but also for alerts and notifications and that's a big part of what people need them for in their work, and we've seen that all over the world.

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Also, with Android users as well, and Androids have been the leaders in notifications, but these devices are so critical and so central to what people do in the work that they do, that, that's the biggest pitch that Apple has to get people to keep upgrading. If you can get a faster device with more performance with longer battery life and in this case moving from this device with the edge to edge screen to a form factor like this, where you're gonna have more screen to work with, then potentially you're getting closer to a laptop, to a tablet, to something where you have more room to work, easier to type, those kinds of things. That's the biggest sale.

But now that it's getting over $1,000 of course, it's becoming a much bigger issue that people have to think about in terms of cost and you have to expect that, that price tag is gonna push more people to longer upgrade cycles, especially not that these devices are no longer being subsidized by the carriers, which most people still get their devices through, but they're often leasing these devices form the carriers or from Apple directly. So that limits your choices sometimes and your options in terms of upgrading, so as that price tag pushes higher, you have to expect more people are going to wait longer and people waiting longer is also probably what's pushing that price tag a little higher as well, because Apple wants to make a bigger pop off of each of the sales.

Bill Detwiler: So you definitely have cost-conscious IT departments that may be opting for less expensive models, or they might be pushing out their upgrade cycles, right?

Jason Hiner: Yeah.

Bill Detwiler: What about productivity? How does that come into the equation, especially for enterprise users?

Jason Hiner: Yeah, productivity certainly matters. Having the ability to work faster, get more work done, be more productive with these devices is always one of the things that IT is focused on, that business is focused on and that whether subconsciously or consciously users are focused on as well.

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There is the one caveat with this device, the iPhone X, and we expect with the iPhone XS, the new model that's about to be released, that effects this, and that is the switch from Touch ID in this device, the 8 Plus and the 8. The Touch ID, people are very familiar with, they like a lot, very usable, fast, has gotten much, much better. The iPhone X of course, does not have that and Face ID has its good points. When it works it can often be fast, as fast or faster than Touch ID, but there are a lot of cases where it doesn't work, where you have to really look straight at the device, where you're at night, or at dark places. In those cases it is less productive, it is less convenient and it is less usable and that's a big issue for many users, professionals and of course for businesses in IT as well, but you mentioned IT.

The one thing that we're expecting is a device somewhere between the two sizes of these, which could be the LCD based device that has a less of a high end screen than the iPhone 10 of last year, and the new iPhone 10S of this year, and that device is expected to be a couple hundred dollars cheaper. Now a couple hundred dollars cheaper might not be that big of a deal to some people, especially if you're leasing the phone and paying per month. It's gonna be a big deal to the enterprise where you're purchasing hundreds, or thousands of these devices. So you and I've talked before. We expect that, that device could be the most popular among companies that are still handing these things out in the hundreds and thousands. So we'll see how that goes.

They're also expected to be supply issues with that device, so they may not be available till later, and they might be in smaller quantities. Now a lot of IT departments, they aren't going for the latest and greatest right away anyway. So a month, two month lag really wouldn't be that big of an issue to them. So those are the thinks to look for in the device. People are gonna probably like the higher productivity of a 6.5-inch screen which we're expecting in the bigger version of the iPhone XS. They're probably not gonna like and be as happy with face ID. We've seen a lot of that already, but the enterprise, likely be very happy with the idea of paying less for handing out hundreds or thousands of these.

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Image: 9to5Mac

About Jason Hiner

Jason Hiner is Global Editor in Chief of TechRepublic and Global Long Form Editor of ZDNet. He's co-author of the book, Follow the Geeks.

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