The new iPhones are here, have you started looking up kidney prices yet? Apple unveiled their new devices at an event where they promised more than a few “surprises”, only to eventually launch the new iWatch, the new iOS 12, and 3 "new" iPhones, as expected.
Apple’s new iPhone XS will be the successor to the iPhone X. In true Apple fashion, it features incremental upgrades to certain aspects whereas no changes on several others. They even launched an “affordable” version of the iPhone X dubbed the iPhone XR. The main attraction though, was the new iPhone XS Max with a 6.5” super retina display, a giant of a device. The XS Max is basically identical to the XS, just with a bigger battery owing to the larger display.
The iPhone XS models pack Apple's 7nm A12 Bionic chip. The processor consists of a four-core CPU, a six-core GPU, an eight-core neural engine and no sense of overkill. It aims to deliver a performance boost of 15% compared to last year's A11 chip, and may consume 40% less power while providing support for real-time machine learning. As Apple constantly reminded everyone, this is in fact the smallest chip ever used in a smartphone. In short, the A12 chip does everything the A11 chip did, just a little bit better.
These iPhones mimic the design of the iPhone X, with the unavoidable notch on the front of the phone. The Android giants have proudly evolved to a water-drop notch in this aspect. Apple claims its improved glass will add to the water resistance of the phone, by protecting it from immersions of up to 2 meters for up to 30 minutes. But this still doesn’t make it a good scuba companion or an underwater camera option.
The displays on these phones are expected to deliver more dynamic range on HDR content. The durability, scratch resistance and sensitivity of these screens have finally been improved upon. All in all, Apple churns out another upgrade to what was already a pretty great screen. It stands to see if these devices can actually withstand the torment their much capable Android counterparts have been dealing with routinely.
On to photography, the iPhone XS and XS Max pack a dual 12MP camera setup with a larger sensor than the iPhone X and a better TrueTone flash. The improved sensor and the new image processor on the A12 Bionic chip combine to enable what Apple calls "Smart HDR". In a practical sense, this means that photos look smoother across a wider range of contrasts and environments. On the front, you'll find the same 7MP TrueDepth camera as on the last year's model, equipped with a new sensor which Apple claims is 2x faster than before. The camera still seems a notch under the Google Pixel 2, though better than the iPhone X.
The iOS software has long been touting security and optimisation in its competition with Android, though seems to be a step behind Google when it comes to innovative features. Apple’s iOS 12, rather than adding new features tries to focus on polish, some essential additions and improving functionality. It certainly does not sound like the most exciting software update, but maybe the “numerous” benefits ranging from better notifications, a more proactive Siri, faster Face ID, and tools to help you understand your phone usage better, could make it worth the upgrade. Older Apple devices could expect to see a boost in performance after the upgrade as well, however miniscule. The debut of the new Series 4 iWatch reminded everyone of Apple’s integration of technology across its ecosystem of devices.
The iPhone XS starts at Rs.99900 for the base 64GB option, going up to Rs.134900 for the 512 GB version. The larger XS Max retails from Rs.109900 going all the way up to Rs.144900. Android phones of comparable specs and features are undoubtedly available at a fraction of that cost. These phones also add a new “gold” colour variant. The battery on these phones is bumped slightly as well. To finally include customers who own multiple SIM cards, Apple now offers an eSIM alongside the physical SIM tray. Other phones on the market have had dual SIM variants for quite some time.
As is customary of Apple, the iPhone XS and XS Max are incremental, but clear upgrades to the iPhone X, with a newer chip, a better camera and a larger screen. But if this is indeed the landmark leap into the future of mobile technology that Apple promised to deliver, is up for debate. In the near future, rumored devices like the One Plus 6T, the Google Pixel 3 and the Samsung Galaxy S10, should offer heavy competition, at a much…much lower price tag. Once again though, Apple has only slightly nudged the innovation in smartphones ahead. Whether these upgrades are worth the price tag though is quite questionable.
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