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Jefferson Graham speaks to students on the campus of the University of Southern California who for the most part see little interest in upgrading to the new iPhones.
USA TODAY

LOS ANGELES — With the biggest, most expensive iPhone set for release, you might think the average 20-something would be eager to be first on the block with a shiny, new iPhone XS Max. 

But when we spoke to a round of students this week at the University of California, we could only find one who expressed any interest in upgrading. And he didn’t even want the Max, the iPhone that starts at $1,099 and maxes out at nearly $1,500. Instead, he was interested in the XR, the budget edition, which will sell for $750 and won’t be available until late October. 

Gulet Isse, from Washington, D.C., is ready to ditch his iPhone 7 for the XR, because of the improved camera, which adds “Portrait Mode,” the ability to blur the background on photos. That feature had only been available on higher-end iPhones. “I think this will be a really good investment,” he says.

USC student Tata Vivas, who currently has an iPhone 7, is in no rush to upgrade to the new iPhone (Photo: Jefferson Graham)

That isn’t to say that Apple won’t sell the new iPhones. The company has consistently sold over 200 million iPhones yearly since the release of the iPhone 6 in 2014 and this new crop could be a winner as well. 

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But we don’t upgrade as often.

Tata Vivas, a student from Boston, also has an iPhone 7, and she’s perfectly happy with keeping it around for quite some time. The new one is “way too expensive,” she says. 

She also isn’t a fan of how large the new phone is — 6.5 inches vs. the 4.7 inch iPhone 7 she currently owns. “When something won’t fit into my pocket that’s really annoying,” she says. 

Fellow student Yasmeen Anand, from Los Angeles, says she’s satisfied with her iPhone 8, which she got last year. “I don’t feel like anything is missing.”

With the new iPhones, Apple has gone all in on the new edge-to-edge design introduced last year with the iPhone X. The new models, the XS, XS Max and XR, all have the same design that ditches the home button, a staple of the iPhone since it was first released in 2007. 

“I don’t want to give up the home button,” says Alexa Weitman, of Los Angeles, who owns an 8 Plus. “I love it.”

And Ashley Adams of Las Vegas expressed a common sentiment heard among the students. “I have the X,” she says. “The new ones seem very similar. I see no point in upgrading.”

The new phones go on sale Friday. 

Follow USA TODAY’s Jefferson Graham (@jeffersongraham) on Twitter, Instagram and YouTube. 

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