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iPhone XR name inspired by 'extra special' sports cars, says Phil Schiller

Prior to the availability of the iPhone XR and after the pre-orders started, Apple's Senior Vice President of Worldwide Marketing Phil Schiller had an interview to talk about the road to the device, and why Apple made it so soon after the technology behind it debuted in the iPhone X.

iPhone X was in the works for many years

"We had this technology we were working on for many years to be the future of the iPhone," Schiller said to Engadget in an interview published on Monday. "It was a huge ask of the engineering team to get it to market last year, and they did. ... We knew that if we could bring that to market and it was successful very quickly after that, we needed to grow the line and make it available to more people."

And then, Tim Cook and Phil Schiller asked the engineering team to push the technology further, in only a year.

"If we're going to push the upper boundaries with XS and XS Max to make something the best, how do we make something that's more affordable for a larger audience, to make the overall iPhone audience even larger," asked Schiller. "What choices can we make and still make it a phone that people can hold and say, 'I have the best too'?"

Asked why the iPhone XR is this year and not last, or next, Schiller simply said that it was because the technology is ready now.

iPhone XR, iPhone XS and sports cars

Apple's "S" branding that has been in place since the iPhone 4S apparently derives from Schiller's love of race cars. When it was time to expand the iPhone lineup naming, Schiller tapped into that love even further.

"I love cars and things that go fast," said Schiller. "R and S are both letters used to denote sport cars that are really extra special."

Retina, OLED, and LCD

The iPhone XR has already taken some heat for not having a display quite as high-resolution as the iPhone X does. Schiller doesn't care about the echo chamber that seems to be developing surrounding it, saying that "the only way to judge a display is to look at it."

"If you can't see the pixels, at some point the numbers don't mean anything," said Schiller. "They're fairly arbitrary."

Schiller on product marketing

Schiller denies that Apple tries to shoehorn products into market segments, and rather builds a product and lets the consumers sort it out for themselves.

"We don't think about categories," he said. "We think the iPhone X technology and experience is something really wonderful, and we want to get it to as many people as possible, and we want to do it in a way that still makes it the best phone."

The $749 iPhone XR is powered by an A12 Bionic chip with newly updated Neural Engine. The chassis is made from 7000 series aluminum instead of surgical grade stainless steel, although both front and back are covered by glass panels.

It has an edge-to-edge screen, just like the iPhone XS, except instead of a Super Retina OLED, the iPhone XR includes a 6.1-inch Liquid Retina Display, which is an advanced LCD display. It also features Apple's updated Face ID, just like the iPhone X and iPhone XS, and comes packing the same wide-angle camera.

AppleInsider will be at the fall "There's more in the making" event, where we expect new iPad Pros, and maybe even new Macs! Keep up with our coverage by downloading the AppleInsider app for iOS, and follow us on YouTube, Twitter @appleinsider and Facebook for live, late-breaking coverage. You can also check out our official Instagram account for exclusive photos.