A year on from the 10th anniversary of the iPhone we get its successor to the iPhone X in the form of iPhone XS and I take a look at the changes we will get in this iteration.
Two XS models were released, the iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max (Yes Plus is no more). As with previous “S” iterations of the iPhones, there wasn’t too much of a change in the looks keeping the Super Retina OLED display at 5.8 and 6.5 inches. The 6.5inch Max is the biggest iPhone to date and is even bigger than the recently released Samsung Galaxy Note. This is a change from the old Apple going for thinner and lighter devices, now it’s all about screen real estate and with XS Max they definitely achieve that. The notch returns housing all the vital components for Face ID present and of course, the well-loved front-facing selfie camera. The screen is the main way to interact with the iPhone and to make this smoother and efficient it now has 120Hz touch sensing technology coupled with 3D touch. The new models come in three colours Gold, Silver and Space Gray.
The XS comes with upgraded insides to boost performance. The new A12 Bionic chip is the first six-core processing unit to run on 7nm architecture leading to faster more efficient performance. Apple states the XS will be up to 30% faster in performance over their 2017 counterparts.
Both the front and back cameras have had improvements made in the XS. Spec wise the cameras are the same with the front selfie camera retaining 7-megapixel setup whilst the rear comes back with dual 12 megapixels wide and telephoto OIS lens. The wide-angle camera now uses a new sensor with larger pixels allowing the XS to function better in low light conditions. Apple states the improvements will be noticed in the speed of the cameras working with the new A12 chip. The camera’s algorithms detect people’s faces and bodies and kick into instant red-eye reduction. Smart HDR can identify highlights and find shadow detail. You can now adjust the depth of a portrait mode photo after the picture has been captured, giving the user complete control of the blur (Bokeh effect). The improvements to the cameras also lead to quicker Face ID to unlock the device faster. The TrueDepth camera system uses precision depth-sensing technology that goes far beyond the capabilities and security of two-dimensional facial scanners and enables users to unlock iPhone, use Apple Pay, gain access to secure apps and many more features with a simple glance
Both models now also come with a slight boost in water resistance rating now boasting IP68, meaning phones can now be submerged for 30 min in water levels up to 2m.
Battery life is also expected to be boosted with 30 min and 90 min longer life for the XS and XS Max respectively over the iPhone X.
Models and Pricing
The phones will both come in three capacities: 64GB, 256GB, and 512GB. The 64GB configuration of the XS will start at $999 same as last year’s iPhone X and the 64GB XS Max will set you back $1,099. If storage is a vital need then the 512 GB XS Max will mean emptying your pockets to the sound of $1,499.
As with all S models, this is a small spec bump year for Apple and its iPhone. The small spec boost does lead to a better performing and responsive device but is it worth shelling out the money they are retailing at if you own the iPhone X?…. I think not, the iPhone XS is for those who want an upgrade from the iPhone 8 or older models.