Here’s a very nice piece from Harry McCracken (my longtime counterpart when he was editor of PCWorld) about the strange new iPhone lineup:
For all their similarities, the new phones don’t line up into a digestible good/better/best matrix. The cheapest model, the $749 XR, is the midrange model in terms of size and has a nifty twist—six different color options to choose from—which is unavailable on the XS and XS Max. But if you covet a bright-red iPhone in an intermediate size, you’ll have to decide whether the stuff the XR doesn’t have is an issue. And while some of what’s missing is obvious—the XR has only one rear camera—other omissions are somewhat arcane, like the fact it can withstand being submerged for 30 minutes in only one meter of water vs. two meters for the XS and XS Max.
Harry’s analysis seems dead on to me, including the fact that Apple’s all-in on large screens. (Motivated, I suspect, by its excellent knowledge of the desires of the global smartphone market.)