Later sale date: While the iPhone XS devices go on sale September 21 (preorders start September 14), you won't be able to buy the iPhone XR until October 26 (preorders start October 19). Its normal route is to dock the price of previous year's models by $US100 and continue selling them, which is what it did for the iPhone 8 and iPhone 7 this year. $999 is what the iPhone X cost last year and no one really expected it to be any different this year.
The first one is about the iPhone XS, XS Max and XR and showcases all the important features of the handsets - displays, cameras and design. Beavis believes this is where most of the cost saving has been generated for the model. It has a lower-resolution 6.1-inch LCD screen and a single rear-facing camera, but otherwise delivers on the specifications of the Xs series.
Gareth does note though that the camera system also supports Smart HDR, which allows the iPhone XR to "really capture the high-end elements of a photo, fusing the light and dark elements well", and that the pictures he took were clear, sharp and colourful. If you want a 2018 iPhone (and not the iPhone 8, 8 Plus or iPhone 7), you can keep a little more money in the bank.
Both of these factors might explain Apple's thinking. The XR has a 6.1-inch screen, which lands it right between the XS and XS Max in terms of size.
Gareth does warn though that "we've been burned by iPhones not lasting as well as we'd like in the past", and reiterates that proper testing will be needed to evaluate how good the iPhone XR's battery is. But hey, if you're only spending $749 on the iPhone XR, maybe you can afford to splurge on a matching pair.