Apple has launched three new iPhones to replace the current iPhone X and 8 lineup. We take a look at what the new iPhone XS, XS Max, and XR models have to offer.
The end of summer can leave spirits low as we speed into September and towards the holiday season, but if there’s one thing that can add a little excitement to our lives, it’s the release of a new Apple product. The September, the iPhone update has been a regular feature since the iPhone 5 in 2012, and this year is no exception. On September 12, Tim Cook took to the stage in the Steve Jobs Theater in Cupertino to announce a flurry of new products. Among them are three new phones and a new Apple Watch. Here’s a run-down of what to add to your Christmas list.
iPhone XS and XS Max
The XS (pronounced ten-s) is the direct replacement of the iPhone X and has the same design with a 5.8in OLED screen, while the XS Max is Apple’s biggest (and most expensive) to date, with a 6.5in OLED screen. Both fill the entire front of the device, with a notch to house the front-facing true depth camera system, which remains a 7MP camera but adds video stabilisation. On the glass back of both models is a dual 12MP camera with wide-angle and telephoto lenses. The only real addition to the camera technology is an extended dynamic range for video and stereo recording.
The big difference is a new A12 processor chip, which Apple boasts has 50 percent faster graphics and 50 percent lower power usage. As a result, Face-ID is now even faster to react, and battery life has been improved, offering 30 minutes more standby time than the iPhone X on the XS, and 1.5 hours more on the XS Max. Waterproof capabilities have also been improved, allowing a two-metre depth of up to 30 minutes, compared to a previous one metre – so dropping your phone in the pool is no longer game over.
The XR may be Apple’s low-cost alternative, but it still features much of the same technology as the XS and XS Max. The 6.1in LCD screen is significantly bigger than even the 8 Plus (5.5in) and yet the overall size of the device is smaller, thanks to the bezel-free design. As this is only an LCD rather than an OLED screen, the resolution is not as high (1792x828px) but is still impressive. On the rear, which comes in a choice of six colours, it sports only a single 12MP camera lens, but the power of the A12 processor allows it to still offer much of the portrait mode technology. The XR is also only waterproof-rated down to one metre (like the X). Otherwise this is as much a step up for any iPhone 7 or 8 users.
One small but potentially game changing addition to all of the new models is the dual SIM card slots. While in European and US models this actually means one slot and an e-SIM, here in Hong Kong, and in mainland China (where e-SIMs are not allowed) we get two proper nano-SIM slots, allowing you to run two numbers from the one phone.
Apple Watch Series 4
This is the first major design change for the Apple Watch since it was first launched in 2015. The displays are now 30 percent larger with reduced bezels, while the cases have increased in size from 38mm to 40mm, and 42mm to 44mm. One of the most significant changes though is the new heart monitor. This is a new electrical heart sensor that is able to make more accurate and more detailed heart readings, including ECG, low heart rhythm and low blood flow.
Inside the watch is a new S4 processor, claiming double the speed of previous generations, as well as improved accelerometer and gyroscope readings. This can even detect if you fall and automatically call emergency services if there’s no movement after 60 seconds. There’s also a new digital crown with haptic feedback for more accurate scrolling and 50 percent louder speaker for calls.
As with the Series 3, there are a range of versions from the aluminium and stainless-steel cases, to the special edition Nike and Hermes versions. There’s also the choice of GPS or GPS and Cellular models, the latter allowing full phone call and data capabilities without your phone being present.
iPhone XS comes in 64GB, 256GB, and 512GB capacities from $8,599 (pre order from September 14), www.apple.com
iPhone XS Max comes in 64GB, 256GB, and 512GB capacities from $9,499 (pre order from September 14), iPhone XR comes in 64GB, 128GB, and 256GB capacities from $6,499 (pre order from October 19), www.apple.com
Apple Watch Series 4 from $3,199 for GPS and $3,999 for GPS and Cellular (pre order from September 14), www.apple.com
Read more! Explore the rest of our Tech section on Localiiz.