Apple follows the size trend, announces the 5.8-inch iPhone Xs and behemoth 6.5-inch iPhone Xs Max
Let’s get the design out of the way first; the iPhone Xs and iPhone Xs Max are gorgeous near-full-screen devices that look a lot like last year’s iPhone X. Unfortunately, Apple is marketing these as an ‘All-screen design,’ and is using a wallpaper that conveniently has a whole lot of black across the top. This could lead some people to think there isn’t a notch here, even though there is.
iOS 12 comes installed out of the box with more augmented reality (AR), information to help monitor excessive usage (screen time), improvements to how apps can interact with Siri (Siri shortcuts), and privacy features to reduce online tracking.
Apple is claiming that the iPhone Xs and iPhone Xs Max have the ‘best and biggest’ displays ever used on an iPhone. We will have to reserve judgment on the quality of the screen until after we’ve had a chance to run these models through our testing process. It isn’t often that a manufacturer decides to use a worse display than on the previous model, so it should be at least as good as the iPhone X. When it comes to the new iPhone Xs Max, though, it has a gargantuan 6.5-inch panel that easily trumps the 5.8-inch iPhone X and 5.5-inch iPhone 8 Plus from last year. As with other phones around that size, you’re giving up any real one-handed use and pocketability for the extra screen real-estate.
The iPhone Xs marks a fairly significant change in the camera department. There are the usual tweaks to software processing and there is an upgraded neural engine (think AI) that is meant to assist with smart HDR and calculating depth-of-field in portrait/bokeh mode. But the biggest change is that the pattern of reserving dual lenses for the larger models has been broken. Both the iPhone Xs and iPhone Xs Max feature dual lenses, so consumers aren’t required to buy the 6.5-inch behemoth just to get the better camera experience.
Among the other changes is the improved A12 Bionic with fusion cores and neural processor (we will discuss the performance and efficiency improvements in another article). FaceID has been tweaked to be slightly faster than before while still maintaining accuracy. For the first time ever, Apple is releasing dual-sim phones (nano-SIM + eSim) along with gigabit LTE. Dual SIM functionality will be popular with frequent travelers or those who juggle two cards locally, such as using one carrier for better calling rates with family and another due to better data prices.
- SoC: A12 Bionic.
- Storage: 64/256/512 GB.
- Screen: 5.8-inch 2436 x 1125 OLED (iPhone Xs), 6.5-inch 2688 x 1242 OLED (iPhone Xs Max). True tone, HDR, 458 ppi, 3D touch, P3 color gamut, 625 cd/m2 max brightness.
- Rear cameras: 12 MP wide angle f/1.8 + 12 MP 2x telephoto f/2.4
- Front camera: 7 MP f/2.2
- Colors: Space grey, silver, gold.
- IP68 water and dust resistant.
MSRP for the iPhone Xs and iPhone Xs Max are US$999 and US$1099 respectively. Pre-orders begin on 14 September with availability from 21 September for the 30 launch countries, or 28 September for an additional 25 countries.