I went to buy an iPhone XS and the Apple store employee said don't do it


Is it the one?


Bits of my bezel have fallen away.

Well, not mine, but my iPhone 6‘s. First the screen cracked, then it fell on the floor yet again — of its own accord, of course — and created a shatter pattern and a hole.

It was time, then, to upgrade to a new iPhone. So off I went to a distant Bay Area Apple store to be sold on which one.

I like to go to different Apple stores for, you know, the scenery.

A greeter immediately intercepted me. Is it me, or are they getting a touch more aggressive these days?

She quickly pointed me to the iPhone XS table, but didn’t try to persuade me to part with excess cash.

When I asked her what was so good about the XS, she immediately referenced the screen and the camera.

“I’m sorry, but I’m the greeter today. Would you like to talk to a sales specialist?” she quickly added.

How could I not?

Within around 45 seconds a specialist — let’s call her Augusta — had introduced herself. Within 10 more, I explained that I didn’t know whether to get the XS or the XR, which Apple had omitted to launch last month with the other two.

“Let’s go over to a computer,” she said, with the sort of voice I’d last heard saying: “Let’s just slide this needle into here. You won’t feel a thing.”

The Hard Sell? Or the Soft Sell?

On a beautiful wide screen, she brought up the comparative specs, while I brought up what’s been bothering me: “Why didn’t Apple bring out the XR and the XS at the same time?”

“They want to keep you guessing,” she said, with a touch of irritation. At Apple, not at me. (Come on, this was a good day. I’m relatively charming on those.)


My iPhone 6 is a mess.

Priscilla Martinez-Matyszczyk

She then proceeded to offer an utterly disarming and frank appraisal of the two phones, using the specs as props.

She started with the screen, but didn’t seem too bothered about the difference between the XR’s Liquid Retina and the XS’s Super Retina.

“They’re both real good,” she said.

She went on to size — the XR is bigger — and then discussed the camera.

“See, the XS has dual wide-angled and telephoto cameras. Do you know what that means?” she asked.

I stared.

“Nah, neither do I,” she continued. “All these cameras are really good.”

“But the problem is that I can’t compare by holding each of them, can I?” I said.

“Uh-huh,” she agreed.

“Have you tried the XR?”

“Nope. We get them the day they come out. They keep us guessing too.”

“But what do you think? Which one is better?”

Time For An Honest Appraisal.

That’s when we began chatting about her phones. Yes, phones.

“One’s my iPod,” she explained. She keeps it in the car to listen to music. “Well, it’s a 5S and I couldn’t have got any money for it if I’d sold it.”

The other one was a 7. She’s happy with it, but, as I began to realize, she too was wondering whether to upgrade to an XS or an XR.

She didn’t bother with selling me on 3D Touch — which the XS has and the XR doesn’t — and only cursorily mentioned that the XR is less water-resistant than the XS.

“Bottom line, don’t throw you phone down the toilet,” she summated.

She began to scroll along to the pricing, while we chatted about the sorts of customers who go to that store.

The worst, apparently, are “ladies who lunch.” Augusta explained that it can be hard to deal with expensively-dressed types after three too many Chardonnays.

I looked over and espied a couple of women who were leaning toward the garish and gregarious. Augusta raised her eyebrows and nodded.

To Buy Or Not To Buy?

Now, the pricing.

In essence, the 256GB XR would cost me $899, while the 256GB XS would set me back $1,149.

“Is the XS worth the extra $250?” I asked.

“I don’t know,” she replied. “With a phone, you’ve got to feel it and I can’t tell you if the aluminum of the XR feels better than the stainless steel of the XS. I can’t tell you if the size of the XR will suit you better than the size of the XS. So don’t buy the XS, until you’ve compared, like, right here.”

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What? She wasn’t going to try and talk me into buying today, right now, this minute? She wasn’t even going to talk me into pre-ordering the XR on October 19?

What has happened to the sales industry? Has it become human?

“Come back on the 26th,” she told me. “I’ll be here.” This was true customer service, something that I’ve often experienced in Apple stores.

As she walked me out, she dropped a couple of joyous tidbits.

She said that on the day of the XS launch, the store began to run out of certain models. Three days later, they had every model of both phones. They still do.

She also let slip that sales of the XS and XS Max have been very similar, unlike the trend suggested by analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, who insisted that the Max was outselling the XS four times over.

But the most in-depth revelation was that everyone, but everyone refers to the phones as Eks-S and Eks-S Max.

And for all that she tried, she couldn’t help doing it herself.

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