Apple unveiled their highly anticipated new line of iPhones this Wednesday — helpfully making those of us out there still clinging to our cracked-screened iPhones of yesterday feel all the more insecure. The release, from the Steve Jobs Theater at their Cupertino headquarters, included three new models – The iPhone XS, XS Max, and XR. They’re, as you might expect, very very pretty. Which means if you also suspect that their extra cosmetic polish is going to cost you, you’re definitely on to something.
It’s easy to see how great these phones look. But understanding why these models are different technically than previous versions is less so (especially when navigating on Apple’s cryptic website). So we’re here to do a deep dive into the new features (and cost) of the phones we kind of can’t live without at this point.
But before we start breaking them apart and comparing, let’s address some commonalities between the three.
The Xs, Xs Max, and Xr all make use of Apple’s new A12 bionic chip and advance face ID recognition for unlocking your phone, logging into your favorite apps, and paying for stuff. All three iPhones also have glass-backs that enable wireless charging. Under the hood, the three iPhones aren’t all that different, but the Xs and Xs Max have some camera features that may end up making your decision for you.
Onward! But be warned, there are many “X’s” to come.
The iPhone XS and XS Max
These two iPhones are the top-of-the-line. Both phones contain OLED displays that deliver accurate colors, HDR, and true blacks. The XS Max is the largest iPhone display measuring at 6.5″ diagonally, and the smaller XS model measures 5.8″. The XS and XS Max come in Silver, Gold, and Space-Gray with stainless steel bands. The capacity runs the gamut from 64gb, 256gb, and 512gb and will cost from $999-$1,349 for the Xs and $1,099-$1,449 for the bigger XR.
You’re going to want one of these for their picture-taking ability alone. The camera specs are truly impressive, with a rear 12-megapixel dual-lens camera, and the Xs and Xr are capable of taking photos through a wide-angle f/ 1.8 lens or an f/ 2.4 telephoto lens giving you the flexibility needed to mimic professional level portraits or record video at 4k 60fps. The front-facing selfie-camera has a single f/ 2.2 wide angle lens and is capable of capturing 1080p video at 60fps — which is pretty damn impressive for a selfie camera. The enhanced bokeh-effect allows for background blur to make your portraits look more picturesque and the iPhones have flexible depth of field adjustments, allowing you to achieve some seriously dramatic-ass pictures.
Preorders for the iPhone XS and XS Max can be made on September 14th, with the new phones hitting stores September 21st.
The iPhone XR
The “cheaper” iPhone XR has a 6.1″ liquid retina HD display and comes in six colors: blue, white, black, yellow, coral, and red. Similarly to the XS model, the rear-facing camera is a beautiful 12 megapixels with the selfie cam coming in at 7mp. The XR has a glass body with aluminum bands which aren’t as shimmery as their more-expensive siblings (but, honestly, the regular iPhone already reflects enough sunlight into our eyes while we drive). On the capacity end, the XR comes in 64gb, 128gb, and 256gb and will cost around $749, $799, and $899 respectively (Practically a bargain! Or your rent! One or the other!).
The enhanced bokeh effect is present here, allowing for beautifully blurred backgrounds and smart HDR. The rear camera comes with a beautiful f/ 1.8 wide-angle lens with 4k video support, and the selfie camera has the f 2.2 wide-angle lens, similar to the XS models. But if you feel the iPhone XR is the right phone for you, you’ll have to wait a little longer as the pre-order dates aren’t until October 19th with a release date of October 26th. So save the date if you’re partial to a specific color! Or just rob a bank to buy one of the more expensive models if you absolutely can’t wait for those better selfies. We get it, we have dating profiles to maintain too.
All three models are capable of taking beautiful photos if that’s what you’re after, but the pricier XS and XS Max have a definite edge due to their increased flexibility. And finally, if you’re still bitter at Apple for ditching the headphone jack two generations back, you’re sure to be infuriated once we tell you that the free dongle is no longer being packaged with the new models. Dongle, what a word.