“Nothing succeeds like excess,” Oscar Wilde wrote, and it’s a lesson Apple has taken to heart. The company has unveiled its newest iPhones, and one of them is the biggest smartphone (some would say “phablet”) that Apple has ever produced.
First things first, though: The standard new iPhone is the iPhone Xs. No one was expecting a radical redesign of last year’s game-changing iPhone X, and Apple hasn’t delivered one. Rather, this is an iterative upgrade – another iPhone with a screen that takes up almost its whole front face, thanks in large part to Apple’s removal of the home button.
That, of course, means that the new iPhone doesn’t have Apple’s Touch ID fingerprint scanning system. Like the iPhone X, the iPhone Xs has swapped out Touch ID in favor of a facial recognition system based on infrared scanning, and Apple says the new Face ID is faster than it was on the iPhone X. The key takeaway here is that Apple has definitely ditched fingerprint scanning in favor of Face ID. The company hasn’t bothered to include the kind of in-display fingerprint scanning that some of its China-based rivals have pioneered this year; Face ID is good enough.
The Xs also features a 6-core CPU, a 4-core GPU, and an A12 Bionic chip, allowing it to perform five trillion operations per second. What does that mean to the end user? Apps will launch about 30 percent faster.
Apple also highlighted how its processing power and software can help expertly optimize photos taken with the iPhone Xs’s dual 12MP wide-angle and telephoto cameras, even allowing them to adjust depth of field after a picture has been taken.
The plus-sized version of the device, meanwhile, is dubbed the “iPhone Xs Max”. It has a 6.5″ screen, and otherwise appears to sport the same essential specifications as the standard model. And then there’s the iPhone XR, a more budget-friendly (by Apple’s standards) version of the iPhone that features a 6.1″ LCD display instead of an OLED display, and slightly worse specifications than the Xs – IP67 water and dust resistance instead of IP68, and a single rear camera rather than a dual camera system.
In unveiling the new iPhones, Apple placed a heavy emphasis on their Augmented Reality capabilities, particularly with respect to games. It’s a somewhat odd strategy, given that AR is often associated with 3D headsets, an area in which Apple has not yet made a move; but in offering new hardware that would inevitably prove underwhelming in comparison to the big redesign of last year’s iPhone X, Apple is evidently banking on software to get people excited.
The new iPhones are slated to ship at the end of October, with the iPhone Xs starting at $999, the XS Max at $1099, and the XR at $749.