Apple has launched its latest iPhones tonight with iOS 12 but didn't deliver many surprises. Nevertheless, it is good to get the details from the horse's mouth, plus confirmation of precise specs, availability and pricing. To sum up, there were indeed three new iPhones unveiled tonight; the 'standard' iPhone XS (from $999) which inherits the 5.8-inch OLED screen from last year's flagship, the iPhone XS Max (from $1099) with an expansive 6.5-inch OLED screen, and the colourful but more affordable iPhone XR (from $749) with a 6.1-inch LCD screen.
All these new iPhone X models build upon the iPhone X design of last year and are based around Apple's impressive sounding new 7nm A12 Bionic SoC. This new SoC is claimed to be up to 15 per cent faster than the A11 Bionic and use 50 per cent less power for CPU tasks, and it is up to 50 per cent faster than the A11 Bionic in GPU tasks. Meanwhile the Apple designed Neural Engine introduced in the A11 Bionic has grown from 2 to 8-cores and Core ML runs up to 9x faster, crunching up to 5 trillion operations per second (the A11 Bionic could process 600 billion operations per second, said Apple.) The new Neural Engine works alongside an enhanced ISP to deliver imaging features such as smart HDR, expressive Memoji, and front and rear camera AR experiences.
iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max
These two premium iPhone models come with very similar specs, only varying by the screen size and thus knock-on specs such as the size and weight. Considering these differences first, the iPhone XS has a 5.8-inch OLED screen and measures 143.6 x 70.9 x 7.7mm and weighs 177g. Its Super Retina HDR True Tone screen with 3D Touch and 1m:1 contrast ratio, wields 2436‑by-1125‑pixel resolution at 458 ppi. The larger iPhone XS Max measures 157.5 x 77.4 x 7.7mm, and weighs 208g. It offers a 6.5-inch OLED screen with the same quality but with a 2688‑by-1242‑pixel resolution at 458 ppi.
Cameras are often very important to premium smartphone buyers and both these models offer a dual-12MP rear camera system with dual-OIS, Smart HDR, Bokeh and depth controls, enhanced portrait modes, larger pixel sensors for improved low-light photos, zero shutter lag, 4K video recording and wide stereo. Important tech specs for the cameras are the Wide-angle: ƒ/1.8 aperture, and Telephoto: ƒ/2.4 aperture (2x optical zoom). These back cameras use six-element lenses, quad-tone flash units, and sapphire lens covers. Max video quality is 4K at 60fps. Round the front is a 7MP camera with f/2.2 aperture and portrait mode for advanced Bokeh and depth control.
Both modes are said to come with batteries that (slightly) improve on the iPhone X stamina. They are rated IP68 (maximum depth of 2 meters up to 30 minutes). One other thing I noted was that these mobiles utilise Apple's Lightning connector but I'd seen rumours that Apple would shift to USB Type-C. Wireless charging is supported.
iPhone XS starts at $999, iPhone Xs Max starts at $1099. Both are available in 64GB, 256GB, or 512GB capacities. Pre orders open on 14th September, shipments start on 21st September in primary markets. Colours available are silver, gold and space grey.
Apple seems to have designed this mobile to a price but it still uses many of the components leveraged by the above iPhone XS and XS Max. Starting with the most obvious spec cut, this phone comes with a 6.1-inch LCD 'Liquid Retina' technology screen. It is still a 'True Tone' display with a wide colour gamut and features 1792-by-828-pixel resolution at 326 ppi and 1400:1 contrast ratio. Largely due to this edge to edge display the XR measures 150.9 x 75.7 x 8.3mm and weighs 194g.
Another obvious snip is the single rear camera equipped. This 12MP unit still leverages the Neural Engine and new ISP smarts. It uses an f/1.8 lens, features a '2x faster' sensor, includes OIS, and can record up to 4K video at 60fps. The front camera sound just like the 7MP one on the XS/Max. Water and dust resistance is a little less thorough than the premium pairing with this mobile being IP67 rated.
Apple highlighted the range of colours that the new iPhone XR is available in: white, black, blue, coral, yellow and Product RED. iPhone XR (64GB, 128GB, 256GB) orders start on 19th October and ship from 26th October. The older iPhone 7 and iPhone 8 models remain in the Apple smartphone lineup for now.