The iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max and iPhone XR, Apple’s new iPhones for 2018, are officially here. While the iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max have virtually the same guts, just in two different sizes, the iPhone XR introduces a profound shift in Apple’s strategy by folding its “bargain” phone into the premium iPhone mix.
Apple has dabbled in cheaper iPhones before, with theand , but their designs stood apart from the mainstream iPhones, and didn’t last. Here, the cheaper iPhone XR shares the design and many of the same specs as the top-tier iPhones. It comes in bright colors and has some slimmed-down features, like a smaller battery than the new iPhone XSes. The pricing is the most attractive for iPhone loyalists. Although there’s nothing “budget” about the iPhone XR’s $749 starting price, people looking for a new iPhone this year could easily gravitate to the relatively cheaper, more colorful XR.
iPhone XS and XS Max quick specifications
- Two sizes: 5.8-inch (458 ppi) and 6.5-inch (458 ppi), with OLED HDR screen (Super Retina displays)
- Colors: Gold, silver and space gray finishes
- Dual camera: 12-megapixel wide and telephoto lenses
- Front-facing cameras: 7-megapixel camera will bring depth to portrait mode photos
- A12 Bionic chip: 7-nanometer processor promises to launch apps 30 percent faster than 2017 iPhones
- Storage options: 64GB, 128GB, 512GB
- IP68 water-resistance rating (2 meters depth; up to 30 minutes in water)
- Battery life: iPhone XS should last 30 minutes longer than iPhone X; iPhone XS Max claims 1.5 hours longer than the iPhone X
- Dual-SIM card support through eSIM technology
- Face ID promises to work faster at unlocking the phones
- 3D Touch pressure-sensitivite screen
- Stereo sound with a wider stereo field than 2017 iPhones
- iOS 12 software
- Pricing: Starts at $999 (£999, AU$1,629) for 64GB iPhone XS
Apple iPhone Xs and Xs Max
The iPhone Xs is the first new iPhone to launch, and it’s the sequel to 2017’s iPhone X, which means it has an almost bezel-less 5.8-inch screen with a notch at the top. It has a Super Retina, OLED screen that measures 5.8 inches and has a 2436 x 1125 pixel resolution, for a 458 pixel-per-inch (PPI) density.
iPhone XS and XS Max cameras
The iPhone Xs and Xs Max have new cameras. The main six-element lens has a new 12-megapixel, wide-angle sensor with an f/1.8 aperture, optical image stabilization, and a 1.4nm pixel size. The second telephoto lens also has 12 megapixels with OIS, a 2x optical zoom, and an f/2.4 aperture. The front camera has a new 7-megapixel RGB sensor with an f/2.2 aperture, plus an IR camera and a structured light transmitter for Face ID and animojis. For video, the front camera shoots 1080p at 60fps with video stabilization.
The camera’s algorithms detect people’s faces and bodies, and kick into instant red-eye reduction. Smart HDR can identify highlights and find shadow detail.
Even more interesting, you can now adjust the depth of a portrait mode photo (called the bokeh effect) after you take the photo, which gives you complete control over the blur. All editing happens in the Photos app through a slider.
iPhone XS and XS Max Battery & Other features
Apple has boosted the iPhone Xs battery life. You’ll get 30 minutes more time from the iPhone X on the iPhone Xs, and 90 minutes more from the iPhone Xs Max. Apple has not disclosed the capacity of the batteries at this time. Apple also says it has improved the wireless charging but has not gone into detail about how.
Other features include Gigabit-class LTE and dual-SIM with dual-standby technology. This uses eSIM, just like the iPad and Apple Watch, so there is no need to put in an extra physical SIM. In China, the eSIM option won’t be offered; instead, a traditional dual-SIM phone will be sold. The phones will also have Bluetooth 5.0, wider stereo sound from the speakers and stereo recording for video.
The iPhone XS and XS Max will be available with a choice of 64GB, 256GB, 512GB of storage, and in Gold and Silver, Space Grey colour options.
Apple iPhone XR
iPhone XR specs: Apple’s cheaper iPhone
- 6.1-inch LCD screen with 1,792×828-pixel resolution and 326ppi (Retina display)
- Aluminum body with glass back
- Single camera: 12-megapixel wide-angle lens, with OIS (same as iPhone XS)
- Storage options: 64GB, 128GB, 256GB
- Portrait mode photos through software
- FaceID with same True-Depth camera system as iPhone XS
- A12 Bionic chip
- Battery life claim: 1.5 hours more per day than the iPhone 8 Plus
- IP67 water resistance
- No 3D Touch on iPhone XR. Instead, you get haptic touch, like a trackpad
- iOS 12 software
- Colors: Blue, coral (pink), yellow, white, black, Product Red
- Price: Starts at $749 (£749, AU$1,229)
The iPhone XR also offers dual SIM support with one physical card slot and a digital eSIM and, in terms of battery life, Apple claims you’ll get an hour and a half more than the iPhone 8 Plus.
The iPhone XR will be available in 64GB, 128GB and 256GB configurations and white, black, blue, coral, red and yellow colour options.
Price and release date
The iPhone Xs and iPhone Xs Max will be available for pre-order on September 14, and go on sale September 21, through Apple stores and other retailers. The iPhone Xs starts at $1,000 and the iPhone Xs Max at $1,100. Expect to pay considerably more for the biggest 512GB versions. The iPhone Xr comes in October and starts at $750. Apple will continue selling the $450 iPhone 7 and $600 iPhone 8.
iPhone XR, XS, XS Max US pricing
|iPhone XS Max||$1,099||N/A||$1,249||$1,449|
New iPhone XR, XS, XS Max starting prices
|iPhone XR||iPhone XS||iPhone XS Max|
|US||$749 (64GB)||$999 (64GB)||$1,099 (64GB)|
|UK||£749 (64GB)||£999 (64GB)||£1,049 (64GB)|
|Australia||AU$1,229 (64GB)||AU$1,629 (64GB)||AU$1,799 (64GB)|