After significantly leaking this morning and for the past nine months, Apple has finally unveiled its new iPhone Xs and Xs Max (pronounced ten-ess and ten-ess max), the successors to last year’s iPhone X. The devices feature nearly identical design and specs but come in two new sizes, with the latter device being one of the biggest phones we’ve ever seen.
The Xs and Xs Max both feature all-glass designs similar to the iPhone X with stainless steel rails. The former ships with a 5.8-inch OLED display while the latter packs a huge 6.5-inch display. Because of its massive size, it wouldn’t be right to just mimic the Xs’ software. Therefore, Apple designed iOS 12 to allow for landscape UIs and more that take advantage of the Max’s bigger display.
The screens are also sharper this time around. Apple says while the 5.8-inch Xs packs a 2436×1125 panel, the Xs Max includes a resolution of 2688×1242, the sharpest display ever on an iPhone. The phones support HDR playback, Dolby Vision, True Tone, and deep, inky blacks thanks to OLED.
I’d also like to note the inclusion of 120Hz refresh rates on both the iPhone Xs and Xs Max. That means these things are gonna suuuper smooth to scroll on.
Also new with the Xs and Xs Max are improved stereo speakers. I’m not sure how much the Xs has improved over the X, but Apple says the Xs Max gets a wider stereo field thanks to its larger size so it’ll surely sound even better than before.
Face ID is also getting an upgrade. While its accuracy will remain the same, it should recognize your face faster thanks to Apple upgrading the processors the technology depends on to determine whether it’s looking at your face.
Powering the Xs and Xs Max is the new A12 Bionic processor, the very first 7-nanometer processor in a smartphone. The company uses a 6-core CPU and a 4-core GPU for improved performance. It also uses an upgraded neural engine to process up to 5 trillion processes per second which is pure insanity. And, of course, the entire chip acts as a system-on-chip (or SoC) so it controls the rest of the device without the need for additional processors.
Storage wise, Apple says the Xs and Xs Max get up to 512GB of storage thanks to the A12. Of course, you also get either 64GB or 256GB of storage if 512GB is too much.
As is the case for many a new phone, Apple has upgraded the cameras on the iPhone Xs and Xs Max. There are dual 12MP cameras on the back of both devices, with the main shooter getting a new sensor with an f/1.8 aperture. Meanwhile, the secondary 12MP lens gets an f/2.6 aperture. Both feature OIS. There’s also a 7MP selfie camera with an f/2.2 aperture.
According to Apple, the A12 Bionic enables Smart HDR with the Xs’ cameras that allows the sensors to capture more detail, light, and other information better than before through a few different processes. Now, shooting photos directly at the sun shouldn’t blow out your photos like before, but we’ll have to test this in the real world to determine whether it’s true. Apple also says portrait mode is further improved with these devices.
There’s also a pretty cool new feature exclusive to the Xs and Xs Max that lets you select an aperture after you take a photo to achieve a better bokeh effect. For instance, you can choose anywhere between f/1.4 to f/16 depending on how blurry you want the background.
In addition, Apple says the new iPhones support 4K video at 60 frames per second and stereo audio.
As far as battery life, Apple says the Xs Max can last you an hour and a half more than the X could last year. The Xs should just get you better battery life in general, I suppose.
Apple is also enabling dual SIM support for the iPhone Xs and Xs Max thanks to one physical SIM slot and an eSIM within the device. The company says it’s working with carriers like AT&T, T-Mobile, Verizon, and Bell to enable eSIM support so you can operate on two different networks and access two different phone numbers at once. In China, where eSIM technology isn’t supported, special versions of the devices will come with a SIM slot that supports two physical cards on either side.
“iPhone Xs is packed with next-generation technologies and is a huge step forward for the future of the smartphone. Everything is state of the art including the industry-first 7-nanometer A12 Bionic chip with 8-core Neural Engine, faster Face ID and an advanced dual camera system that shoots Portrait mode photos with Smart HDR and dynamic depth of field,” said Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing. “iPhone Xs is not one, but two new iPhone models, and iPhone Xs Max offers the biggest display ever in an iPhone with the biggest battery ever in an iPhone, delivering up to an hour and a half more battery life in your day.”
Apple says the new iPhone Xs starts at $999, while the Xs Max will start at $1099. Preorders start September 14th and they launch on September 21st.
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