On Wednesday in Cupertino, Apple officially unveiled the worst-kept secrets in tech: the iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max, and iPhone XR. Apple also announced a new Apple Watch (the Series 4, its best yet), price drops to legacy iPhones (the iPhone 7 now starts at $450), and official release dates for iOS 12 (September 17) and MacOS Mojave (September 24), but let’s talk about new iPhones.
iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max
Available for pre-order this Friday, September 14 — and releasing next Friday, September 21 — the iPhone XS (pronounced “ten S”) and XS Max replace the iPhone X as Apple’s flagship smartphones. The insides of each are roughly the same (more on that in a bit), but the big difference between the two is the screen size.
The iPhone XS has the same screen size as its predecessor (5.8”), while the iPhone XS Max packs a 6.5” screen. For comparison’s sake, the XS Max is essentially the size of an iPhone 8 Plus but with far more screen real estate thanks to its nearly edge-to-edge display. Both phones have 458ppi with OLED (“Super Retina”) displays and both are water-resistant (IP68).
Here’s what’s inside the phones:
- An A12 Bionic chip, which Apple says is 30 percent faster than the iPhone X’s processor
- Improved Face ID technology, which will result in faster phone unlocking
- (Slightly) longer battery life than the iPhone X
- Stereo sound, like the iPhone X, but with a wider stereo field
- Dolby Vision and HDR10
- Dual-camera 12MP wide and telephoto lenses (rear-facing)
- 7MP camera (front-facing)
Those camera specs may seem underwhelming, but Apple says the A12 chip will provide more oomph, as well as the ability to automatically detect faces and bodies. Also cool: anyone who’s taken photos in Portrait Mode will like the fact that the XS and XS Max will let you adjust the depth of a photo taken in this mode to offer control over the blur (the “bokeh” effect).
When it comes to storage, the XS and XS Max can be purchased in 64GB and 256GB models, as well as — for the first time — a 512GB model. These new iPhones won’t come cheap, though. The XS starts at $999 for 64GB ($1,149 for 256GB and $1,349 for 512GB), while the XS Max starts at $1,099 for 64GB ($1,249 for 256GB and $1,449 for 512GB).
Both the XS and XS Max come in silver, space gray, and gold (it’s back!). Speaking of colors…
Good news! You no longer have to spend $1,000 to get an iPhone with Face ID! Starting at $749 (okay, admittedly, not that much more affordable), the iPhone XR is like a cheaper version of the iPhone X. Also: it comes in a bunch of colors (black, white, red, blue, coral, and yellow).
Its 6.1” screen is slightly bigger than the iPhone XS, but the resolution (326ppi, “Retina”) is less sharp than the other new iPhones. While there’s only one rear-facing camera (a 12MP wide-angle lens), the XR can still take photos in Portrait Mode thanks to special software.
If you want to get the more affordable iPhone, you’re going to have to wait a bit. Pre-orders begin Friday, October 19, and the phone goes on sale one week later. There’s no 512GB model, but you can get one in either 64GB ($749), 128GB ($799), or 256GB ($899).
One more thing… there’s still no headphone jack. But the phone does ship with lightning connectable earbuds.
Apple Watch Series 4
Apple’s already winning the wearables market, and the Apple Watch Series 4 is the company’s best smartwatch yet. It’s got a bigger display (30 percent larger), faster processor (a dual-core 64-bit S4), and better health features than any other Apple Watch to date.
Most of the Apple Watch presentation was about the new health features. The device’s accelerometer and gyroscope work together to detect if you’re falling — which is great in the case of an accident, as well as for the elderly — and call emergency services if needed.
The Series 4 also has more comprehensive heart rate monitoring, and monitors your heartbeat for irregularities like atrial fibrillation. You can also use take an electrocardiogram (EKG) by putting your finger on the watch’s digital crown and holding it there for 30 seconds. The Apple Watch Series 4 is the first EKG over-the-counter product for consumers.
That digital crown has been improved, too, and now offers haptic feedback. Apple says this will give you a better experience and more accuracy while using it to scroll within apps.
The Apple Watch Series 4 works with all existing Apple Watch bands, and while the screen is 30 percent larger, the device is thinner than previous models. If you’ve been holding out on buying an Apple Watch (or looking to upgrade an early model), the Series 4 seems like a great device.
Author’s note: This is not a sponsored post. I am the author of this article and it expresses my own opinions. I am not, nor is my company, receiving compensation for it.