iPhone Xs, Xs Max and Xr: Everything new about Apple's 2018 line-up of iPhones

Apart from being the most powerful iPhones, these are also the most expensive smartphones from Apple.

 |  7-minute read |   13-09-2018
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Last night, at a glittering event in Cupertino, California, arguably the world's biggest tech giant, Apple, officially announced its new range of smartphones to its legions of fans across the globe.

The successor to last year's iPhone X, 2018's lineup of smartphones – iPhone Xs, iPhone Xs Max and the iPhone Xr – are now the latest and the greatest that Apple has to offer in terms of smartphones. 

Though seemingly created using the same blueprint as the iPhone X, the new smartphones were repeatedly described as “next level” and “the best yet” during the launch event. Along with an all-screen design, and FaceID, these three phones bring with them a number of enhancements and new features.

Let's take a look at all that's new. 

iphone-xs-copy_091318012753.jpgThe iPhone Xs Max brings with it the largest display on an iPhone – 6.5-inch. (Photo: Javed Anwer/ India Today Tech)

Better performance

When the iPhone X was announced last year, it was launched as the fastest iPhone ever. Fitted with Apple's very own A11 Bionic SoC, the iPhone X brought with it more than enough for not just the average user, but also the enthusiasts and power users. 

However, with the 2018 line-up of phones, Apple has now done one better and brought to the table better performance courtesy the A12 Bionic SoC which, Apple claims, is "the smartest and most powerful chip ever in a smartphone".

But is there any truth to such claims? The answer is, yes. 

For starters, Apple claims it's the first chipset in the industry to have been created using the 7nm manufacturing process – a claim that Huawei may contest as it recently announced the Kirin 980 last month. With the smaller node chipset, the new processor will automatically be able to provide better efficiency in terms of performance. 

A deeper look at the specs also reveals how the A12 Bionic is better than last year's offering. It has a six-core CPU (with two “performance” cores and four “efficiency” cores), a four-core GPU (which is up to 50 percent faster than the A11s), and an updated Neural Engine – a part of the chipset designed to handle AI tasks – with dedicated eight cores. In comparison, last year's A11 Bionic's Neural Engine could only leverage the power of two cores for its processes. 

In terms of operations, the old Neural Engine could crunch through 600 billion operations per second, but 2018's Neural Engine can handle a staggering 5 trillion operations per second.

iphone-xs2-copy_091318013250.jpgThese are the fastest iPhones ever. (Photo: Javed Anwer/ India Today Tech)

Better optics

The use of the A12 Bionic also helps the iPhone produce better images. The SoC includes a new image signal processor (ISP) which, Apple claims, is central to the many photographic improvements with the new iPhones.

However, apart from processing enhancements, two of the three new smartphones – the iPhone Xs and Xs Max – also bring with them better cameras set-ups.

Like the iPhone X before it, the Xs has a 12-megapixel wide-angle lens and a 12-MP telephoto shooter, while the 7-MP TrueDepth camera up front handles selfies. But, with the size of the sensors going up from 1.2 to 1.4 microns on the iPhone Xs and Xs Max, the two smartphones should see a "50 improvement" in capturing light, thus improving low light photography on the phones. 

There are also new software tweaks that allow the Xs and Xs Max to adjust a portrait's depth of field effect after you've taken the shot. 

iphone_xs1-copy_091318013609.jpegIts the iPhone Xs which is most in line with last year's iPhone X as it brings with it a 5.8-inch OLED display. (Photo: Javed Anwer/ India Today Tech)

Design and displays

Though all three phones largely maintain the design scheme that Apple introduced with the iPhone X, the new line-up also brings with it slight changes to design and the display. 

Of the three, it's the iPhone Xs which is most in line with the iPhone X as it brings with it a 5.8-inch OLED display and glass back held together by a stainless steel frame in the middle. There is now a larger, phablet iPhone with a 6.5-inch OLED display that is being called the iPhone Xs Max. However, because of this device sporting an edge-to-edge display, its overall size doesn't exceed that of the iPhone 8 Plus despite accommodating the largest display found on an iPhone yet. 

Last, but not least, is the iPhone Xr which has a 6.1-inch display and an aluminum frame instead of a steel body sandwiched between the sheets of glass on the front and back.

iphone_xs_quick_revi_091318013750.jpgApple claims that the iPhone Xs and Xs Max have the “most durable glass on a Smartphone”. (Photo: Javed Anwer/ India Today Tech)

More durable

The new iPhones are the most expensive ones that Apple has ever released. However, for all those who are thinking of spending their hard-earned money on the device, it'll be nice to know that this year's iPhones are also the most durable ever. 

Apple claims that the iPhone Xs and Xs Max have the “most durable glass on a smartphone” and will as such be less prone to screens cracking as a result of accidental falls.

But that's not all. 

As per Apple, the new phones are also the most dust and water-resistant phones that the smartphone maker has created to date. With an IP68 rating, the iPhone Xs and Xs Max can be survive being submerged under two meters of water for upto 30 minutes. Even the most affordable of the lot – the iPhone Xr comes with IP67 rating that makes it better than the iPhone 8 and as good as iPhone X when it comes to water and dust-resistance. 

Better battery performance

As always, Apple shied away from disclosing the size of the battery pack on its new iPhones. However, what it did announce was that the new phones would give better battery life than the iPhone X from last year. It claims that the Xs will last half an hour longer on a single charge than last year's offering, while its beefier cousin, the Xs Max, will be able to give more than 90 minutes of run time over what the iPhone X provided. 

To be honest, these numbers aren't too impressive, considering Apple has moved to 7nm process SoCs with the 2018 line-up of iPhones. Our guess is that the improved battery life is a result of the new A12 Bionic being paired with iOS 12's energy efficiency enhancements, rather than an actual upgrade over the battery pack used on last year's iPhone X.

iphone-xr-copy_091318013001.jpgThe affordable iPhone Xr starts at Rs 76,900 for the 64GB storage variant. (Photo: Javed Anwer/ India Today Tech)

Most expensive ever

Another new thing about the new phones – and arguably the most important one – is their price tags.

For what it's worth, the 2018 lineup, without doubt, features the most expensive iPhones ever announced by Apple.

Not like the iPhones were ever cheap, but with the top of the line, 512GB variant of the iPhone Xs Max, Apple has managed to hit a new high – or low? I'm confused – by slapping a price tag on the device which will make many a kidney hide in fear. 

Starting at Rs 1,09,900, for the 64GB device, the 512GB variant of the Xs Max will be available for Rs 1,44,900 Only. Available in multiple variants, the Xs too starts at Rs 99,900 for its 64GB variant and goes up to Rs 1,34,900 for the top of the line 512GB storage one.

And if you thought the affordable iPhone Xr – Apple's new iPhone for the masses – will bring some respite, then you're in for a treat. To afford this affordable phone, you will have to shell out Rs 76,900 for the 64GB variant and Rs 91,900 if you choose to go for the highest 256GB version. 

Well, at this point, I'd just like to wish Apple all the luck in the world. 

After all, they'll need it – and then, some more – while trying to sell the LCD display and single lens camera sporting iPhone Xr for upwards of 90k in India. 

Also read: The phone and its art - How the smartphone is in fact the modern day painting


Sushant Talwar Sushant Talwar @sushanttalwar

Tech journalist, DailyO

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