Kicked off with a high intensity, Mission Impossible-inspired video, Apple’s annual product launch from the Steve Jobs Theater in Cupertino, California on September 12, built on that early excitement and kept the energy level high with a range of exciting announcements. A new, feature packed Apple Watch Series 4 was an early favorite, but the stars of the show were three new phones: the iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max, and iPhone XR.
Taking the place of last year’s marquee launch, the iPhone X, in Apple’s lineup, the iPhone XS features an edge-to-edge 5.8” Super Retina OLED display packed within a noticeably smaller and easier to hold device. For those seeking a larger screen, the iPhone XS Max boasts the biggest display ever in an iPhone, an impressive 6.5” Super Retina OLED in a handset that is physically the same size as the iPhone 8 Plus despite the substantially larger screen. Encased in what Apple calls the most durable glass ever in a smartphone, both surgical-grade stainless steel phones are available in a bold new gold finish, as well as silver and space gray finishes. Both tout gigabit class LTE, wider stereo sound and sound recording, Bluetooth 5.0, improved wireless charging, faster Face ID, and an incredible IP68 rating, providing water resistance up two meters for 30 minutes. And ushering in a new era of photography, each phone comes with highly advanced 12mp dual-lens/dual OIS bokeh-quality cameras and 4K video capabilities, including a smart HDR feature. Available with up to a staggering 512 GB of storage, the battery in the XS lasts 30 minutes longer than the iPhone X, while the XS Max’s battery is advertised to last a whopping 90 minutes longer. To top it all off, both phones’ low carbon footprint manufacturing processes and materials make them eco-friendly and highly recyclable.
What truly sets these phones apart from the rest is the A12 Bionic chip that powers them. As the first 7-nanometer chip incorporated into a smartphone, the A12 can process 5 trillion operations per second, providing 30x faster task and app launching. Integrating more seamlessly with third-party apps, the A12 is set to drive new experiences and more immersive, transportive gaming. And the next-generation neural engine along with new iOS 12 operating system unlocks the power of real-time machine learning crucial to the advanced camera features, computational intense Animojis, highly immersive AR experiences, new Siri Shortcuts that allow for effortless task management, and more, with a Core ML that is not only 9x faster but runs at 1/10 the energy. Further, Apple has incorporated DSDS (Dual Sim Dual Standby) and eSim technology that allows the segregation of two phone numbers within one device, a capability that is has earned support from carriers worldwide. The iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max will be available for pre-order on September 14 and will begin shipping September 21.
While the XS and XS Max are priced starting at around $1000, the iPhone XR comes in at a price point that can please the masses—around $750. This new aerospace-grade aluminum model also houses the A12 Bionic chip for faster algorithms and securer enclave and features the most advanced 6.1“ LCD screen ever in a smartphone–dubbed a Liquid Retina Display by Apple. The iPhone XR includes a battery that lasts an hour and a half longer than the iPhone 8, an IP67 water and dust resistant rating, and a single lens camera that still boasts the advanced bokeh/depth control and smart HDR like the XS and XS Max. The XR also features Face ID, comes with either 64GB, 128GB, or 256GB of storage, and is available in an array of trendy colors, including yellow, coral, blue, black, white and red. The iPhone XR is available for pre-order on October 9 and will ship October 26.
To wrap up the launch event, Apple also announced some improvements that have been made to the $349 HomePod smart speaker. Upgrades now allow users to search for songs using lyrics, make and get calls, “ping” other Apple devices around the house to help locate them, set multiple timers at once, and with a potential for the integration of Siri Shortcuts, greater home speaker customization will be possible by allowing various apps to run simultaneously. Also, by pairing two HomePod smart speakers, users can create an impressively wide and immersive sound stage that must be heard to be believed.