The new phones squeeze larger screens into similar size bodies as their predecessors, now packing the biggest screens found on any iPhone to date. But the 5.8- and 6.5in screens are not just a lot bigger, but also infinitely better.
Marketed as 'Super Retina Displays', these are OLED panels with super-high resolutions (2.7m pixels XS; 3.3m pixels XS Max) and crystal-clear 458ppi density. They have 60 percent higher dynamic range than the iPhone X, 1m:1 contrast ratio, HDR10, Dolby Vision, 120Hz touch sensing and 3D Touch.
The new iPhones are also protected with the most durable glass used in any smartphone, and now support IP68 waterproofing, able to endure up to 2m of water for up to 30 minutes.
Nicely complementing the redesigned screen for multimedia and gaming is the implementation of improved stereo speakers for wider stereo sound.
As expected performance has also seen a bump, but it's more of a push than a bump. The A12 Bionic SOC is, according to Apple, the world's first 7nm chip (we'll just forget about Huawei's latest Kirin chip then). It is faster and more powerful than any of the competition, says the company.
The SOC builds in 6.9 billion transistors, and as before comprises a CPU, GPU and neural engine. Each of these components has been enhanced, with the two-performance cores of the six-core CPU running 15 percent faster and 40 percent more efficient than in the A11, the quad-core GPU an amazing 50 percent faster than in the A11, and the octa-core neural engine now able to process 5 trillion operations per second (up from 600 billion).
Cameras have also been upgraded, with the iPhone XS fitted with a dual-camera at the rear that has two 12Mp lenses and dual optical image stabilisation. The wide-angle camera has a six-element lens, 1.4um pixels and an f/1.8 aperture. There's also a telephoto camera with f/2.4 aperture and 2x optical zoom, and an improved True Tone flash.
Round at the front there's a 7Mp selfie camera, with a faster sensor and f/2.2 aperture, an IR camera and dot projector.
Battery life has improved too, and the iPhone XS lasts 30 minutes longer than the iPhone X, while the XS Max can last a whole hour and a half longer.
iPhone XS price & release date
The iPhone XS is available in 64GB, 256GB and 512GB capacities, starting at £999/US$999. Available in the same capacities, the XS Max will start at £1099/$1099. See Best iPhone XS deals.
Here's the full pricing:
- 64GB iPhone XS: £999/$999
- 256GB iPhone XS: £1149/$1149
- 512GB iPhone XS: £1349/$1349
- 64GB iPhone XS Max: £1099/$1099
- 128GB iPhone XS Max: £1249/$1249
- 512GB iPhone XS Max: £1449/$1449
Pre-orders started on 14 September, with the new iPhones officially on sale on 21 September. Click here to buy the new iPhone XS.
There will also finally be a dual-SIM version of iPhone XS and XS Max available in China, but elsewhere there will be both single-SIM and E-SIM versions.
iPhone XS specs
- 5.8in Super Retina HD OLED Display (2436x1125, 458ppi)
- Apple A12 Bionic six-core processor
- 4GB RAM
- 64/256/512GB storage
- 12Mp, f/1.8 + 12Mp f/2.4 dual-camera, dual optical image stabilisation, 4K video
- 7Mp, f/2.2 selfie camera
- Face ID
- A-GPS, GLONASS
- 20 hours talk time, 14 hours video playback
- Qi wireless charging
- IP68 waterproofing
iPhone XS Max specs
As above but:
- 6.5in Super Retina HD OLED Display (2688x1242, 458ppi)
- 25 hours talk time, 15 hours video playback
Read next: Best new phones coming in 2018 & beyond