Apple took the wraps off a couple of new iPhones fashioned after last year’s iPhone X–the 5.8-inch iPhone Xs and the 6.5-inch iPhone Xs Max. The iPhone Max is the biggest iPhone ever made.
The two new phones both have stainless steel rounded edges, an OLED display that takes up almost the whole front of the phone, and a notch at the top (where various sensors live). There’s no home button–the new phones will use the iPhone’s X’s swipe gestures for returning to the home screen and navigating apps.
The phones use a new faster A12 “Bionic” processor, which Apple says can launch apps 30% faster. The 7-nanometer chip contains 6.9 million transistors. It’s actually a system on a chip containing a 6-core CPU (which can run concurrently), a 4-core GPU, and an 8-core Neural Engine chip for running machine learning computations.
Apple sticks with its dual-camera design for both the Xs and the Xs Max. Both the wide-angle and the telephoto cameras are 12-megapixel. Both cameras use optical image stabilization.
The front-facing camera includes a 7-megapixel RGB camera, an infrared camera used in Apple’s TrueDepth camera system, and FaceID facial recognition for authentication.
Apple has added a feature called Smart HDR that uses machine learning to examine all of the shots taken in burst, then picks the best ones and combines them to form the best shot possible.
That camera effect in the iPhone X that blurs the background is called Bokeh. The camera app used in the new phones adds a new control that adjusts the depth of field so that different layers of the background can be blurred or sharpened.
The video camera can now record video with stereo sound using the phone’s four built-in microphones.
Apple improved the battery life in the new phones so that the Xs adds 30 minutes onto the battery life of the iPhone X, and the larger Xs Max adds an hour and 30 minutes to that of the iPhone X.
The new phones can fit two physical SIM cards in the side. This is important for people who want to keep two phone numbers, or two different plans, or they’d like to travel with a local plan. The phones also include eSIM, which allows for setting up a second line without a physical SIM card. Apple, T-Mobile, Verizon, and other carriers support the new features.
The new models add additional waterproofing (IP86) so that they resist water in 2 meters of water.
Both phones will come in silver, space gray, and a new gold color. They come in 64, 256, and 512 GB versions. The iPhone Xs starts at $999. The iPhone Xs Max starts at $1,099. They’re available for preorder this Friday and will go into general availability on September 21.