Apple touts its largest screens, cheaper models in iPhone revamp

Donna Miller
September 14, 2018

The high-end iPhone X is getting an upgrade and new size options: a 5.8-inch iPhone XS ($999) and the 6.5-inch iPhone XS Max ($1,099).

"Given the importance of the battery life for the Apple Watch, it would have been a nice way to sell accessories to consumers who own multiple Apple devices and create a continuum of experiences across the product portfolio", he said. But maybe you're thinking, all I really want is to keep using my phone a little longer without the battery dying. I do miss narrower phones a bit.

With the XR's notable features and specifications out of the way, let's talk pricing. The least expensive phone in Apple's lineup now is the iPhone 7, which starts at $450. While we still don't know what the R stands for (Regular, Rookie, Rad?), it's obvious this is the iPhone for Apple fans with a smaller budget, with a design that isn't quite as flashy, a single 12-megapixel camera and a 6.1in LCD display.

The flying elephant of the new lot is the iPhone Xs Max, which sounds like it could be a new flavor of Mountain Dew, or perhaps an extreme sport. Instead of using stainless steel like the iPhone X and XS, the XR uses 7000 series aluminium for its metal frame.

The other thing that jumps out is the back: The colours are terrific.

The idea is simple: you'll be able to talk directly with other Apple Watch users just by speaking into your wrist. The iPhone XR comes in white, black, blue, yellow, coral, and Product Red.

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Last year's notch also returns, and remains loaded with all the tech needed for Face ID facial recognition, which is a pretty slick and seamless system at this point. Customers can adjust the depth of field after they take the picture.

The XR has dual speakers, one on the bottom and one at the top of the phone. The iPhone XR might be another story, but we'll come to that in another hands-on...

Then there's the Xs Max with a 6.5-inch display. The original version featured a heart-rate sensor that fed data into fitness and workout apps so they could suggest new goals and offer digital "rewards" for fitness accomplishments.

There's still some mystery around the XR's modem. The phone doesn't have gigabit LTE like the XS does, although it does support T-Mobile's new rural Band 71.

Apple hasn't compromised on the XR's defense against the elements, though. Shortly afterward it was confirmed that Apple had bought a wireless-charging company, PowerbyProxi, to "help create a wireless future", according to Apple's senior vice president of hardware engineering, Dan Riccio. It will be available for pre-order from October 19 and be on full sale from October 26. However, the XR loses out on 3D Touch and relies on Taptic Feedback for launching the camera or the flashlight.

While the iPhone has made Apple the world's most valuable company, worth more than $1 trillion, it has slipped to third place among smartphone makers as Chinese-based Huawei has grabbed the number two spot behind Samsung.

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