Apple iPhone XS, XS Max and XR specs, release date, news and features
Apple’s 2018 iPhone launch has seen three iPhone X replacements announced – the iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max and the iPhone XR.
The iPhone XS is an upgraded model of the iPhone X, the iPhone XS Max is a larger version and the iPhone XR is a cheaper aluminium-based version of the iPhone X design, succeeding though not replacing the iPhone 8 models.
Here is everything you need to know about Apple’s new iPhones.
Apple iPhone XS, XS Max and XR design
- Touch ID and the home button ditched completely
- iPhone X-style design on all 2018 models
- Stainless steel frame remains for all but XR model
Apple made some big design changes to the iPhone with the iPhone X. It moved away from what has defined the iPhone for the last decade by removing the Touch ID home button on the front and replacing it with a notch at the top of the display, housing a technology called Face ID.
The iPhone X design takes precedent for all 2018 iPhone models. Apple’s CEO Tim Cook said the iPhone X laid the foundations for the next 10 years of the iPhone and so it’s no surprise to see the X design across all three new iPhones.
Apple iPhone XS and XS Max design
The iPhone XS follows the same design as the current iPhone X, while the iPhone XS Max is a larger version that same design. This means they both offer a combination of stainless steel and glass, with all features, ports and buttons in the same positions as the 2017 iPhone X.
The iPhone XS measures 143.6 x 70.9 x 7.7mm and weighs 177g. The iPhone XS Max measures 157.5 x 77.4 x 7.7mm and weighs 208g.
The iPhone XS and XS Max are IP68 water and dust resistant and they are available in Gold, Silver and Space Grey finish options. The Gold is new for the XS and XS Max compared to the 2017 iPhone X.
Apple iPhone XR design
The cheaper iPhone meanwhile, known as the iPhone XR, is the phone with the most differences both from the iPhone 8 it replaces and from the iPhone X.
The iPhone XR has an aluminium core rather than stainless steel, allowing Apple to cut costs, but like the XS and XS Plus, glass is the material of choice for the front and rear. It measures 150.9 x 75.7 x 8.3mm and weighs 194g.
The iPhone XR is IP67 water and dust resistant and it will be available in black, white, blue, red, yellow and coral options, offering a wider colour choice than the XS and XS Max, as well as the iPhone 8 models.
Apple iPhone XS, XS Max and XR displays
- Three models
- Sizes ranging from 5.8-inches to 6.5-inches
- 19.5:9 aspect ratio on all
Apple made a move to OLED with the iPhone X so it comes as no surprise that the company is continuing to offer OLED options in 2018. There is a 6.5-inch OLED model, a 5.8-inch OLED model and a 6.1-inch LCD model.
The 6.1-inch LCD model, also known as the iPhone XR, has a footprint between 2017’s iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus despite the larger screen, which is possible thanks to the adoption of the 19.5:9 aspect ratio of the iPhone X. The 6.5-inch OLED model, also known as the iPhone XS Max, offers a footprint similar to the iPhone 8 Plus.
All three iPhones feature the P3 wide colour gamut and Apple’s True Tone technology. Only the iPhone XS and XS Max have 3D Touch though, while the iPhone XR has something called Haptic Touch.
Apple iPhone XS and XS Max displays
The Apple iPhone XS is the smallest of the three new iPhones with its 5.8-inch Super Retina OLED display, while the iPhone XS Max is the largest with its 6.5-inch Super Retina OLED screen.
In terms of resolution, the iPhone XS or the 5.8-inch model offers 458ppi, which is the same as the 2017 iPhone X, meaning a resolution of 2436 x 1125 pixels. The 6.5-inch model also offers a pixel density of 458ppi with a resolution of 2688 x 1242 pixels.
The iPhone XS and XS Max both offer Dolby Vision and HDR support like the iPhone X, but it is claimed they offer 60 per cent wider dynamic range than the 2017 X model.
Apple iPhone XR display
The Apple iPhone XR meanwhile, has a 6.1-inch LCD display that Apple is calling a Liquid Retina display. The LCD panel allows Apple to keep costs down, like the aluminium core.
The 6.1-inch screen has a resolution of 1792 x 828 pixels, which results in a pixel density of 326ppi, which is the same as the iPhone 8. Unlike the iPhone XS and XS Max, the iPhone XR does not offer HDR support.
Apple iPhone XS, XS Max and XR cameras
- New TrueDepth camera
- Advanced FaceID on all three models
- XR offers singular rear camera, XS and XS Max have dual
Apple has introduced a second-generation TrueDepth camera system to all three 2018 iPhones. The TrueDepth camera is the element of the iPhone X responsible for FaceID and Animojis, meaning the XS, XS Max and XR have both these features on board.
FaceID has been improved compared to the iPhone X however, with the new models featuring faster algorithms and a faster secure enclave for a more advanced system.
The second-generation TrueDepth camera is a 7-megapixel RGB sensor with a f/2.2 aperture. It is capable of 1080p video at 60fps and it offers video stabilisation too.
Apple iPhone XS and XS Max cameras
The Apple iPhone XS and XS Max both offer a dual-lens setup on the rear. This is made up of a 12-megapixel f/1.8 wide-angle camera and a 12-megapixel f/2.4 telephoto camera with dual optical image stabilisation. The wide-angle lens is an all new sensor compared to the iPhone X however, offering 1.4µm pixels and larger Focus Pixels. There is also an improved True Tone flash with an advanced flicker detect system.
The iPhone XS and XS Max both feature Portrait mode and Portrait Lighting, Live Photos with stabilisation, tap to focus and wide colour capture for photos, as the 2017 iPhone X device offers. They add something called Smart HDR and Portrait Mode with Depth Control however, the latter of which allows you to adjust the depth of field after a shot has been taken.
Apple iPhone XR camera
Despite the iPhone XR featuring the same TrueDepth front camera as the iPhone XS and XS Max, there is only a singular lens on the rear of the XR.
It’s the same all-new 12-megapixel f/1.8 wide-angle sensor as in the XS and XS Max but you don’t get the additional 12-megapixel telephoto lens. The iPhone XR will still offer many of the same features as the XS and XS Max however, including Portrait Mode with Depth Control, advanced bokeh and Smart HDR.
Apple iPhone XS, XS Max and XR hardware
- New A12 chip
- Battery improvements
- Storage starts from 64GB
- eSIM enabled
The three new iPhones all have the same chip, which is the new A12 Bionic chip. It’s a 7nm processor, which is made up of a neural engine, a 4-core GPU and 6-core CPU and it offers significant improvements over the previous A11 chip, as you would expect.
Apple says the CPU is 15 per cent faster than the A11 and 40 per cent more efficient, while the GPU is said to be 50 per cent faster than the A11. The neural engine is claimed to be capable of five trillion tasks per second compared to 600 billion on the A11’s neural engine. Battery life is improved too with Apple claiming the iPhone XS offers 30 minutes extra life compared to the iPhone X, while the XS Max offers 1.5 hours extra. The iPhone XR is claimed to deliver 1.5 hours more than the iPhone 8 Plus.
The iPhone XS and XS Max come in storage options of 64GB, 256GB and a top-end storage capacity of 512GB. The iPhone XR meanwhile, is available in 64GB, 128GB and 256GB options.
None of the 2018 models feature microSD for storage expansion as Apple devices never have done, though they are now dual-SIM capable with eSIM, allowing users to have two numbers or two plans. In China, the models will be dual-SIM as eSIM is not available.
All the iPhone 2018 models will also support gigabit LTE data transmission speeds and 4×4 MIMO standards, something several devices already support. Expect faster speeds and the potential of improved coverage in low coverage areas.
Apple iPhone XS, XS Max and XR software
- iOS 12
All three devices launch on iOS 12, which brings enhancements to Photos, Siri and ARKit to name but a few. Apps also open faster, too.
You can read all about iOS 12 in our first impressions for a full run down of the software experience you can expect on the new iPhones.
Apple iPhone XS, XS Max and XR release date and price
- 12 September announcement
- XS/XS Max: Pre-orders from 14 September, availability from 21 September
- XR: Pre-orders from 19 October, availability from 26 October
- Prices starting from $749/£749
Apple announced the iPhone XS, XS Max and iPhone XR on 12 September during an event that took place at the Steve Jobs Theatre on the Apple Park Campus in Cupertino, California.
The iPhone XS and XS Max will be available to pre-order from 14 September, with availability starting on 21 September. The iPhone XR will be available to pre-order from 19 October, with availability from 26 October.
The iPhone XS will start at £999/$999, the XS Max will start at £1099/$1099 and the iPhone XR will start at £749/$749.