From the Editor's Desk: Why I'm coming around on Apple rebranding the iPhone "Pro"

iPhone 11
iPhone 11 (Image credit: iMore)

Months ago, when we first got wind of Apple's new naming scheme for the iPhone lineup, I was disappointed to think that Apple might be "tricking" us by calling, what was at the time, the entry-level iPhone, the new standard and then rebranding what was the current standard as a "pro-level" device. Basically, the iPhone XR becomes the new iPhone while the iPhone XS becomes some new elite iPhone.

When Apple officially announced the new iPhone11, iPhone 11 Pro, and iPhone 11 Pro Max, my first thought was, indeed, disappointment. I wasn't on-board for this rebranding thing.

Price-wise, the iPhone 11 Pro stayed the same even though it received a very big upgrade (much longer battery life along with the new triple-lens system). To me, this fits what Apple does every year; improve the standard. Why was this now a "Pro?"

What really threw me for a loop, however, is just how fantastic the iPhone 11 became. This is the model I previously considered the entry-level model. Though the iPhone 11 has an LCD screen instead of an OLED screen, and a dual-lens camera system instead of triple-lens, those are pretty much the only things that keep it from being the same specs as the Pro models, at least where it matters.

iPhone 11 in purple

iPhone 11 Lilac (Image credit: iMore)

It runs the same A13 Bionic chip, two out of three of the same camera lenses (wide and ultra-wide), almost the exact same video recording specs (minus the zoom differences, which also relates to two lenses instead of three), and the exact same TrueDepth camera (front-facing) specs.

There's no more 3D Touch to make one phone special over others. The iPhone 11 also has almost all the same camera features as the Pro models, including Night mode and Portrait mode for pets (or "Petrait mode," as Rene likes to call it).

There are a few other nerdy spec differences, like LTE and Wi-Fi support, but most people won't notice the difference and the iPhone 11 is for most people.

All of this and Apple actually dropped the price to $50 below what the entry-level iPhone XR launched at last year.

By buffing up the iPhone 11 to the most powerful technology can allow it to be, Apple has made the iPhone 11 the new standard, and I get that. This is not an entry-level iPhone. It's the iPhone everyone should get. Leave the Pros to the pros.

What did you think of Apple's rebranding the iPhone to a pro? Do you think the iPhone 11 is the new standard? Let me know your thoughts!

Lory Gil

Lory is a renaissance woman, writing news, reviews, and how-to guides for iMore. She also fancies herself a bit of a rock star in her town and spends too much time reading comic books.  If she's not typing away at her keyboard, you can probably find her at Disneyland or watching Star Wars (or both).

5 Comments
  • Lori I'm not sure your article makes much sense. You state the phones are nearly identical but that one is definitely Pro. Why is it Pro again? Does an OLED Screen and a third lens make it Pro? Your article is a complete contradiction of itself because you are basically stating that the regular 11 IS Pro, but let's leave the iPhone 11 Pro to the Pro's. Doesn't make a lick of sense. I bought the Pro, but understand that its purely a marketing term and nothing more. Don't try and make it more than that. And FYI, the base model on the iPhone 11 is completely useless and is taking advantage of people who don't understand storage (think the older iPhone buyer) who constantly wonder why their phone says they are out of space.
  • The 64GB iPhone may be completely useless for your particular use cases, but it is often completely adequate for people who primarily use streaming/cloud services such as Apple Music and iCloud, and as a corporate/employer-owned device. Apple isn't stupid - while an obvious business reason for the 64GB model is to lure in prospective customers with a lower price and then upsell them to a more expensive model, a significant subset of users (streamers/cloud users, casual users, users of employer-supplied devices) will actually be fine with a 64GB phone. As iMore pointed out, if you rely on a computer for long-term data storage (e.g. photos and video) it can further reduce the need for storage on the phone.
  • That's absolutely ridiculous. The corporate user isn't a robot who doesn't care about storage. Trust me, I live in the corporate world. People want to carry one phone now and what's the point of having a phone with a great camera that isn't going to be able to store hardly any photos or videos? Its a useless device and Apple is ripping people off with it and should make 128GB the standard base model. There is no justifying the 64GB model outside of the fact that Apple makes fortune off of it because a lot of people don't know any better.
  • Apple knows many customers now store photos/videos in the cloud, people have 4G data almost anywhere, and if you're in an area where you haven't got coverage temporarily, are you going to be that worried about not being able to access photos? Basically, 64GB is plenty for many people still, and I'm certainly more than happy with 64GB, I've got tons of photos/videos but they're in the cloud, and with the optimizations in iOS 13 apps are smaller so there's more space than there was before
  • I have no issue with a Pro branding as long as it's warranted & I don't think it is in the case of the iPhone. An extra camera lens & a Super Retina XDR oled display does not make it a pro device over the iPhone 11. Given that those are essentially the two biggest features that differentiate the two models, I think an iPhone 11 Plus branding is more apt. So you have: iPhone 11 (6.1")
    iPhone Plus (5.8" / 6.4")