Today, Apple unveiled its new 2018 iPhone lineup, headlined by the iPhone XS, XS Max, and XR. Bad names aside, the new lineup brings major structural changes to the once stagnant iPhone lineup.
In addition to the announced changes, Apple made some smaller changes today that weren’t shown off on stage.
Here’s everything you need to know about the new iPhone lineup, and our first thoughts.
iPhone XS (pronounced iPhone Ten-Es), is the direct successor to last years breakthrough iPhone X. It features the same 5.8-inch Super Retina OLED display, stainless steel bezels, and Face ID authentication system.
In fact, the XS is less a year-to-year upgrade and more a minor refresh with this year’s specs. The device does come in a new Gold finish for the first time and also features the new A12 Bionic chip, which Apple says will allow for some computationally complex things in AR and photography. It also has approximately 30 more minutes of battery life.
The camera also received some nice improvements.
While the sensors are similar to last year’s iPhone X, the A12 chip allows for 2 particularly cool new camera modes.
The first is Smart HDR, which essentially allows the camera to take multiple shots of the same photo at different conditions and combine them with a better picture. This effect looks particularly nice in situations that photos typically wouldn’t, such as in the wind or in direct sunlight.
The second and arguably coolest new photo trick Depth Control, which builds upon the Portrait mode first introduced in iPhone 7.
The new features allow users to adjust the blur aperture of photos after the fact, meaning that after taking a Portrait photo, you can adjust the effect, so it looks best.
iPhone XS still starts at $999 for 64GB and goes all the way up to $1349 for the new 512GB configuration.
Considering the lack of notable upgrades, we’d recommend against users on the X going up to the XS.
iPhone XS Max
The newly announced XS Max is in almost all ways identical to the XS, except for two things: the screen and battery life.
The screen is a ginormous 6.5-inches, far bigger than any previous iPhone. The battery life is also an hour and a half longer than the iPhone X.
Aside from that, the Ma is identical to the XS, with the same camera features, internals, and color options. Price wise, the device starts at a staggering $1099 with 64GB of storage and goes up to $1449 for 512GB of storage.
iPhone XR is a new, third entry into the iPhone lineup that attempts to bridge the gap between the traditional iPhone lineup and the new, high-end X lineup.
It features a less advanced 6.1-inch LCD display, which Apple calls the Liquid Display, with a resolution of 1792×828. It features an aluminum bezel, as opposed to the stainless steel of the X, and a single-camera system instead of the dual-camera system.
However, it does feature the edge-to-edge design of the X, as well as Face ID. It comes in a variety of colors-Product RED, Yellow, White, Coral, Black, and Blue- and features a glass back.
It also includes the same A12 chip as the XS and even supports Portrait mode and Depth Control.
The phone starts at $749, cheaper than the outgoing iPhone 8 Plus, and comes in 64GB, 128GB, and 256GB configurations. It will be available for pre-order on October 19.
Dual SIM, Theft Protection, and iPhone 7 & 8
In addition to the new iPhone, Apple made some smaller announcements today as well:
- Dual SIM: As rumored, iPhone XS, XS Max, and XR support dual-SIM, however, not exactly as we were expecting. The actual sim tray on the new iPhone only has room for one SIM card. However, the iPhone now ships with a secondary embedded SIM. This SIM, known as an eSIM, is the same as the one found in the iPad and Apple Watch and allows for users to create or sign-into a cellular account without the need for a chip. Users can easily receive phone calls on two numbers with the new technology with clear delineation of the source.
- Theft Protection: Apple has introduced new Apple Care plans that include theft protection. The new plans cost an additional amount (about $4.17 a month over a two year period) but include coverage for up to 2 incidents of theft, loss, or damage. There is a deductible, $269 per incident, but the traditional plan remains available at the lower price.
- iPhone 7 & 8: Apple has kept the iPhone 7 and 8 in the lineup at new low price points, with the 7 now starting at $449 and the 8 at $599.
- iPhone SE and 6s: are no longer available for purchase.
Overall, the new iPhone lineup seems targeted at people who haven’t already bought into the iPhone X.
While it is sure to be a monetary success for Apple over the next year, users who bought in last year are being left in the dark for the time being.