After many rumors, lots of speculation, and a name leak hours before the event, Apple has revealed the iPhone XS and Phone XS Max and confirmed their release dates and prices–and they’re quite soon. At its event in Cupertino, California, the company announced its latest product offerings in one of its biggest launches since the iPhone was first released, alongside a new, lower-priced device called the iPhone XR.
The iPhone XS is made of “surgical grade stainless steel” with a gold finish on the front and back. It features a top to bottom, edge to edge screen with curved edges. It delivers 1P68 protection, keeping it safe underwater for 2 meters for 30 mins. The screen is 5.8″ diagonally at a 2436×1125 resolution, which is being called the “Super Retina.”
The 6.5-inch version is called the iPhone XS Max is the largest phone in Apple’s history. Despite the bigger display size, the overall phone is about the same size as the iPhone 8 Plus. You’ll be able to get a split view when looking at the contacts app if the phone is turned sideways, giving owners extra space to work with. The iPhone XS and XS Max also support Dolby Vision and HDR10.
At the heart of the device is the A12 Bionic, a seven nanometer chip featuring 6.9 billion transistors. Its 6-core CPU is designed by Apple with two performance cores that run 15% faster, while the four efficiency cores run at 50% faster. The 4-core GPU is also 50% faster than the A11 Bionic. It also has a Neural Engine with an 8-core design. The upshot is that everything from image signal processing and the depth engine, to the display engine, memory controller, and audio subsystems are significantly better performing. With 512 GB of internal storage, Apple describes it as “the smartest and most powerful chip ever in a smartphone.”
iOS is also getting an update, being fitted with new features such as Siri shortcuts, which let you set reminders and instructions. Augmented reality is also a focus for the new version, and users will be able to use the camera to transform their surroundings with AR.
During the keynote, Bethesda’s Todd Howard appeared on stage to talk about The Elder Scrolls Blades. The iPhone’s OLED screen, Howard noted, pulls out little details in the game’s environment and allows Bethesda to show off advance visual flourishes, the kinds of which were only possible on high-end consoles.
The camera has undergone some improvements for the newest iPhones too, thanks in large part to the A12 Bionic. It has a 12MP wide-angle camera, an improved True Tone flash, and a 12MP telephoto camera on the back. On the front there’s an RGB camera, an IR camera for advance image sensing, and a dot projector. The A12 Bionic’s image signal processor automatically sets exposure, noise reduction, focus, local tone mapping, highlights details. It also does face detection, facial landmarking, and segmentation.
One new feature for the camera is Smart HDR, which captures multiple images so you get the precise moment and merges them together to bring up the highlights. Since there’s no shutter lag, images of things in motion are clearer. Portrait mode lighting has been improved and when you take a picture you can use a slider to adjust the depth of field. The new sensor and the power of the A12 Bionic chip, along with the faster sensor, is also beneficial to video, which now records sound in stereo, autofocuses, highlights shadow details, tone mapping, and improves color, among other things.
The impact all of this has on battery life isn’t significant, with the iPhone XS offering 30 mins more battery than the iPhone X. And the iPhone XS Max providing an extra hour and a half. The XS and XS Mas now has Dual Sim Dual Standby and eSIM technology, which effectively allows owners to have two phone numbers and plans at the same time. Carriers such as EE, AT&T, Verizon, and T-Mobile have already pledged support to eSIM. For China, where eSIM isn’t available, there’s a special version of the phone with space for two physical sims.
iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max will be available in 64 GB, 256 GB, and 512GB starting from $999 and $1099 respectively. Pre-orders begin September 14 and shipping begins September 21.
For more on the new iPhones and Apple’s event head over to CNET to watch the stream and follow their liveblog. Today’s announcements follows some clever reporting by 9to5Mac, which seemed to confirm that new iPhones. There were many other new products revealed at Apple’s event. Here is everything announced today.