Apple takes it up a notch or two
It may seem unbalanced to dedicate this column to a single manufacturer but the numbers don’t lie. According to data from tech analyst Telsyte, Australians bought an estimated 4.3 million smartphones in the first half of this year. Most of us, it turns out, use Android, which controls 53% of the market (shared between numerous smartphone makers such as Samsung, Huawei and so on).
But one company enjoys the other 47% all to itself. You guessed it – Apple, thanks to the decade-long success of the iPhone. So given almost half of you will probably own one of these new iPhones at some point, it seems reasonable to spotlight them here.
This year Apple has doubled-down on the all-screen facade introduced by last year's iPhone X. All of the company’s three new devices eschew the traditional home button and embrace the controversial “notch”, which houses the front-facing camera. Not everybody likes that but luckily there are other things about these phones to like.
Probably not the prices, though. iPhones now start at $1229 and stop at $2369. “Sheesh!” is a definite understatement.
What is it? iPhone XS How much? From $1629
Pros: Apple changed things up a bit last year with the iPhone X, introducing not only a new device but a new naming system. The XS is, however, the standard “S” style upgrade of yore – the same body but with improved internals, such as its camera system, faster and more powerful processors and innumerable new software capabilities.
Cons: The XR offers similar specs for much less money if you don’t mind giving up some of the XS’s premium touches. apple.com/au
What is it? iPhone XS Max How much? From $1799
Pros: Bigger iPhones used to be called Plus. Now meet Max. This chunky big brother to the XS is, in effect, the same device on the inside but you get a massive 6.5in display (compared with a 5.8in display on the XS). Battery life is also improved, thanks to the bigger chassis.
Cons: The same caveats as with the iPhone XS. Basically, if you’re an iPhone buyer the cheaper but comparable XR offers considerable competition. apple.com/au
What is it? iPhone XR How much? From $1229
Pros: At $1229 you couldn’t call the iPhone XR “budget” but it’s definitely the cost-conscious model of these three. The display is 6.1in and is LCD, not OLED (like the XS/XS Max) and the resolution isn’t quite as fine. The body is aluminium (not stainless steel), and you don’t get dual rear-facing cameras or 3D Touch. But apart from that, you’re basically getting the same cutting-edge internals and performance.
Cons: Sacrifices, sure, but will you notice? apple.com/au