Apple bolstered its iPhone X line up with three new devices, offering consumers the option of larger screens, more power and a cheaper price point, as well as unveiling its new Apple Watch Series 4 which puts a bigger focus on health.
At its traditional annual iPhone reveal, CEO Tim Cook outlined from the start this year’s event would focus on two of the company’s “most personal products”, the iPhone and the Apple Watch, and “how we are going to take them further”. This meant there was no updates on Apple’s other products including its headphones, Mac range or its wireless charging pad, which was unveiled in 2017 but still hasn’t been released.
iPhone XS and XS Max
Building on the launch of iPhone X in 2017, which Cook proclaimed as the world’s most popular smartphone today, the 5.8-inch iPhone XS and 6.5-inch iPhone XS Max retain much of the same design as the original, but differentiate mainly through processing power.
Both devices use Apple’s A12 Bionic chip with next-generation Neural Engine, which it said is the first use of 7nm silicon in a smartphone. Rival Huawei recently said it has also developed a similar chip, although it is likely to be first introduced on the Mate 20, due to be unveiled in October.
The A12 Bionic chip is expected to help with both speed and energy efficiency, with the battery tipped to last 30 minutes longer on iPhone XS than iPhone X.
In a bid to expand its appeal, Apple also introduced dual SIM capability on both devices through the use of a nano-SIM and digital eSIM. Phil Schiller, SVP of worldwide marketing, told the audience Apple will offer a device that can accommodate two physical SIM cards in China, where eSIMS are not used, as part of a bid to “reach as many customers as we can”.
Other features include a “super retina display” with a custom OLED design and an improved 12MP dual camera system.
The iPhone XS is priced $999 for the 64GB model (the same as the original iPhone X) and $1,349 for a 512GB version. Prices for iPhone XS Max are even higher, starting at $1099 for a 64GB version and going up to $1499 for 512GB. The fees mean the device now holds the title of being the company’s most expensive smartphone.
Apple noted the screen of the XS Max, at 6.5-inches, was significantly larger than the iPhone 8 Plus (5.5-inches) launched in 2017, despite being similar in total size. The new model also packs the “biggest battery in an iPhone”, delivering an hour-and-a-half more battery life.
In a tweet, Ben Wood, mobile analyst at CCS Insight said that with the iPhone XS Max, “Apple continues to break the rules on consumer electronics pricing ” noting the vendor is raising the price of its flagship at a time when rivals like Samsung are under huge pressure: “Confirms the premium that people are prepared to pay for Apple products.”
Both devices will be available later this month.
With a starting price of $749, the lower-end iPhone XR will be released in October and represents a push by the company to attract consumers not prepared to pay $1000 or more for the higher-priced range.
The XR could therefore prove an attractive option, as the device also features the same processing power as the iPhone XS and XS Max, and packs a bigger screen than the former, at-6.1 inches. It, however, uses LCD rather than OLED screen technology, affecting image quality, and features an aluminum design over steel.
The XR comes with a choice of six colours and the same storage options.
It also features Face ID, first introduced on the iPhone X, as do the iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max: Apple said the feature had been developed to work faster.
All three new iPhones, therefore, do away with fingerprint ID in favour of the Face ID system, meaning none have a home button. The trio will also run the new iOS12 system and feature a 7MP front camera.
Apple Watch Series 4
Last but not least, Apple said its updated Watch not only represented a redesign, but something more “evolutionary”.
In terms of design, it increased the display size by more than 30 per cent over the previous Watch, integrated in a smaller case, while a new interface provides users with more information on the home screen.
Most eye-catching from the update includes a range of new health capabilities, including a new accelerometer and gyroscope which are able to detect if a user falls, along with an electric heart rate sensor which can take assess users’ health via an electrocardiogram (ECG) app.
The capabilities have been enabled by electrodes built into the devices’s Digital Crown, with the heart rate sensor in the back.
Apple said the device’s stereo is 50 per cent louder, while the microphone is relocated to improve performance.
The GPS version of the device starts at $399 and GPS with cellular $499, both up from the $329 and $399 price tag on 2017 models.Subscribe to our daily newsletter