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The biggest announcements from Apple's iPhone Xs event

Engadget logo Engadget 9/13/2018 Mat Smith
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As we all awake from the haze that follows an Apple event, we've collected together of all the major announcements, new products and conspicuously absent devices that came from 2018's big iPhone briefing.

a close up of a cell phone © Engadget

Say hello to the gigantic-screened iPhone Xs Max

a close up of a black device

© Engadget

The iPhone X is simply what iPhones look like now. At the Apple event, Phil Schiller took center stage with the new iPhone Xs and the Xs Max, phones that are differentiated only by the size of their screens (a 5.8-inch OLED screen with 2.7 million pixels versus a 6.5-inch OLED screen with 3.3 million pixels) and predicted battery life.

What's notable here is that the iPhone Xs Max, with its long, corner to corner display, inches close the screen real estate size of Samsung's latest Galaxy Note 9. (The phablet just clinches it for now, though.)

Cameras are largely unchanged from last year's iPhone X, although a new Portrait mode includes an adjustable aperture setting after you've taken your photo, allowing you to change the bokeh to your suiting. The camera team has also worked to make the phone smarter at dealing with your shots, using the iPhone itself to better process HDR shots (which is on-by-default). It's chasing the likes of Google's Pixel 2 phones, which have inched ahead when it comes to smartphone photography. With the iPhone Xs, the phone keeps a frame buffer going, ensuring (essentially) zero shutter lag when you hit the button.

These new tricks are aided by Apple's latest mobile chip, the A12 bionic. The company says it is the first seven nanometer chip to be used in a smartphone and can run five trillion operations per second compared — compare that to last year's chip, the the A11 bionic and its meager 600 billion. There's a six-core CPU, four-core GPU and an eight-core neural engine all packaged inside.

That 7nm chip also means there are power savings to be had. Compared to the iPhone X Apple believes that the iPhone Xs will eke out a 30-minute longer battery life and the Xs Max will last for up to an hour and half longer. Other notable changes? Support for dual SIMs and phones that are made of more renewable materials.

Perhaps the biggest talking point was pricing. In true iPhone X style, these new phones will not be cheap. The iPhone XS will be available to pre-order from September 14th, launching in earnest on September 21st. Prices will start from $999. The iPhone XS Max is $100 more expensive: the smallest-capacity 64GB model will cost $1,099.

The reasonably priced iPhone Xr

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Arguably the most notable new product: the iPhone Xr delivers iPhone X style with a price cut and some caveats. It has a lower-resolution 6.1-inch LCD screen and a single rear-facing camera, but otherwise delivers on the specifications of the Xs series. There's the same A12 bionic chip, Face ID with the front-facing TrueDepth camera as well as a bunch more color options (yellow, coral, white, black and blue).

We got to test the phone out in person, and reckon the display (which lands right in the middle, size-wise, of the iPhone Xs and Xs Max) might not reach the dizzying heights of OLED, but it remains a beautiful smartphone display in its own right.

The bigger question is whether you consider the iPhone XR's $750 a reasonable price for a new iPhone that isn't its top flagship. The iPhone Xr is coming later than the other devices, and will be available to pre-order from October 19th, with the phone arriving a week after on October 26th.

The quiet end of headphone jacks and iPhones

a close up of a music player: H3YAM6 Golden iPhone 7 Plus(on top) and pink 6 Plus(bottom) the headphones jack missing on the new 7 Plus © Alamy Stock Photo H3YAM6 Golden iPhone 7 Plus(on top) and pink 6 Plus(bottom) the headphones jack missing on the new 7 Plus

iPhone owner? Spent a lot on the latest wired headphones? You're going to be annoyed with Apple's latest phones. The company has now killed the last holdouts of the iPhone headphone jack (the iPhone SE and the iPhone 6S) and will not be bundling a lightning-headphone adapter with the iPhone Xs, Xs Max and Xr.

Your software update is nearly here

So maybe you're not upgrading, but you want your gosh-darned Memojis and something resembling a digital wellness initiative? Tim Cook announced iOS 12 will be available to download on September 17th which is even supposed to improve performance on older devices. On the same day, Apple TV owners will get an update adding Dolby Atmos audio, while the HomePod will be able to make phone calls, search music by lyrics and more. Last but not least is your humble MacBooks: macOS Mojave will make its debut on September 24th.

The Apple Watch has a bigger screen, thinner body and is potentially life-saving

a close up of a black device © Engadget

Apple's Watch Series 4 represents the first change in screen size since the smartwatch debuted, with 40mm and 44mm models incoming on Friday 21st September. Because 2018, they're both packing larger displays (35 percent and 32 percent, respectively) with much less bezel. But if the bigger size sounds off-putting, at least the device is thinner. There are more customization options for watch faces, and, crucially, Apple has managed to bake in an FDA-approved electrocardiogram (ECG), and thanks to a new accelerometer and gyroscope, the wearable can detect when you slip or fall. Prices have bumped up slightly since Series 3: It will cost $399 (£399) for GPS models and $499 (£499) for the 4G versions. Preorders open this Friday 14th September.


Headphone socket aside, Apple is halting sales of the Apple Watch Edition (the fancy ceramic iteration), wasn't ready to reveal its next-generation AirPods (even if they made an appearance in the preview reel before Apple's showcase kicked off). It also had nothing to say about its much-hyped wireless charging mat, AirPower, and struggled with the fact that the company's boardrooms look nothing like its advertisements.

Follow all the latest news from Apple's 2018 iPhone event here!


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