The five iPhone XS fea­tures that mat­ter most

The iPhone XS of­fers enough to catch the eye of those who skipped last year’s iPhone X, writes Ja­son Cross

Macworld - - CONTENTS -

At its ‘Gather Round’ event, Ap­ple an­nounced its lat­est high-end premium phone: the iPhone XS. As the name im­plies, it’s some­thing of an up­grade to the iPhone X, with a hand­ful of im­prove­ments but the same over­all de­sign and fea­tures. That doesn’t mean it’s a bore. Quite the con­trary: for those who found last year’s

iPhone X just a lit­tle too ex­pen­sive for what you get, this year’s im­prove­ments might be enough to win you over. Here are the five ways the iPhone XS re­ally dif­fers from the iPhone X.

1. It comes in two sizes

The iPhone X only came in one size: 5.8 inches. That sounds big, but the taller, nar­rower as­pect ra­tio en­abled by the slim-bezel de­sign and re­moval of the Home but­ton makes the phone con­sid­er­ably nar­rower than the 5.5in Plus-sized iPhone mod­els.

The iPhone XS comes in two sizes: the reg­u­lar 5.8in model, with the same size and res­o­lu­tion as the iPhone X (2,436x1,125), and the new 6.5in iPhone XS Max, which has a res­o­lu­tion of 2,688x1,242. That’s the same 458 pix­els per inch den­sity, ex­panded out to the largest size dis­play ever in an iPhone.

That iPhone XS Max is about the same size as the iPhone 7 Plus or 8 Plus, only with a much big­ger edge-to-edge dis­play. In other words, if you love big phones, you now have a big phone iPhone X.

2. The prices are still sky high

The iPhone X started at a whop­ping £999. It was a new high wa­ter mark for premium phone prices, and that’s just the en­try-level 64GB ver­sion.

The same-sized iPhone XS with 64GB is still £999, and the new larger Max model starts at £100 more: £1,099.

But those are just the start­ing prices. The iPhone X was also avail­able with a 256GB stor­age

op­tion that cost £150 more. The new iPhone XS mod­els have that op­tion as well, for £1,149 (5.8in) and £1,249 (6.5in). How­ever, Ap­ple’s also adding a new 512GB stor­age tier, and you’ll pay a pretty penny for that. Opt­ing for a half-ter­abyte of stor­age will cost you £1,349 for the 5.8in iPhone XS or £1,449 for the 6.5in Max model.

3. It comes in gold

The iPhone X came in two colours: Sil­ver and Space Grey. The former is more of a white with a shiny stain­less steel band around the edges, while the lat­ter is nearly black, with a match­ing steel band.

The iPhone XS mod­els main­tain these two colours and add a third: Gold. This isn’t the pink­ish ‘rose gold’ of pre­vi­ous iPhone mod­els, it’s a very gold gold. The steel band around the edges has a gold hue, and the back looks ex­trav­a­gant.

4. The A12 Bionic chip is faster and more ef­fi­cient

The A11 Bionic in the iPhone X and iPhone 8 was the fastest mo­bile pro­ces­sor on the planet when it was in­tro­duced last year. It was so fast, it still out­paces the lat­est high-end An­droid phones. Now Ap­ple has upped the ante with the A12 Bionic.

Made us­ing ad­vanced 7nm man­u­fac­tur­ing process tech­nol­ogy, Ap­ple claims the high­per­for­mance cores on the A12 are up to 15 per­cent faster than the A11 Bionic while us­ing up to 40 per­cent less power. The high-ef­fi­ciency cores use up to 50 per­cent less power. And GPU per­for­mance is up to 50 per­cent faster.

Those im­prove­ments pale in com­par­i­son to the se­ri­ously beefed-up Neu­ral En­gine (for ma­chine learn­ing tasks). It is now ca­pa­ble of a whop­ping five tril­lion op­er­a­tions per sec­ond, up from 600 bil­lion in the A11.

Ap­ple’s also got faster wire­less with gi­ga­bit LTE and bet­ter world­wide com­pat­i­bil­ity, a bet­ter im­age pro­ces­sor, faster stor­age con­troller, and lots of other tweaks and im­prove­ments.

In other words, the iPhone X is still one of the fastest phones on the planet, even after a year on the mar­ket. And now the new XS is faster.

5. The cam­era is even bet­ter

Though the com­pe­ti­tion is re­ally stiff, each new iPhone can rightly claim to have one of the best (and most con­sis­tent) cam­eras on the mar­ket. Ap­ple shows no sign of slow­ing down with the

iPhone XS. It still has dual rear cam­eras, one wide-an­gle and one tele­photo. But the widean­gle cam­era uses a new sen­sor that has larger and deeper pix­els that make it twice as fast. That should re­ally help in low-light sit­u­a­tions, as well as tak­ing mul­ti­ple ex­po­sures for HDR.

Speak­ing of HDR, there’s a new Smart HDR sys­tem that takes even more ex­po­sures than be­fore and com­bines them us­ing the Neu­ral En­gine, per­form­ing over a tril­lion op­er­a­tions on each pho­to­graph. Ap­ple says it means that you’ll see bet­ter de­tails in dark ar­eas, fewer blown-out high­lights, truer colour, and even bet­ter bokeh in Por­trait Mode.

Por­trait Mode is promised to bet­ter de­tect edges, es­pe­cially in tricky ar­eas such as frizzy hair. And you’ll get to ad­just the level of depth from f/1.4 to f/14 even after you take the shot.

The front-fac­ing cam­era gets a boost, too. It’s still 7Mp, but is now twice as fast, and can record 1080p video at 60 frames per sec­ond (up from 30fps on the iPhone X).

The im­proved cam­era ex­tends over to video record­ing, which prom­ises even bet­ter im­age qual­ity and, for the first time, the abil­ity to record stereo sound.

Ap­ple has added a third colour: Gold. Not Rose Gold, just Gold

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