Smartphones on display at a crowded convention.Enlarge / New iPhone fashions on the Steve Jobs Theater in Cupertino, CA.

CUPERTINO, Calif.—The iPhone X is the brand new default iPhone. Positive, the new iPhone XS, XS Max, and XR all have Apple’s new, 7nm A12 Bionic chip, and two of them come in numerous sizes or completely different supplies from earlier than. However these telephones are very a lot the subsequent iteration of the brand new imaginative and prescient for the iPhone that Apple launched on precisely the identical day final 12 months.

Which means a heavy emphasis on TrueDepth, the Kinect-like augmented actuality sensor array that powers Face ID, which is a brand new means of authenticating with telephones with simply your face. Apple believes TrueDepth’s greatest days are forward of it and its watershed second when it comes to third-party app assist has but to occur. (Apple additionally believes that about augmented actuality extra usually.)

The brand new telephones’ similarities to the iPhone X additionally embrace a practically edge-to-edge show with rounded corners and a notch on the prime. Regardless of being initially mocked, that notch has now turn out to be ubiquitous within the trade. Additionally they sport glass backs that look pretty and allow wi-fi charging, even when they elevate considerations about sturdiness.

TrueDepth and augmented actuality promise a future iPhone expertise that simply is not a actuality but for most individuals, although. That is as a result of they have not taken off with third-party app and sport builders but. However by shifting the complete new iPhone line towards these options, Apple is encouraging extra of its shoppers to purchase into the expertise, and that would spark curiosity from builders in flip. And the brand new iPhone XR (which I am going to speak extra about very shortly) brings the worth down to some extent the place the set up base builders want could possibly be achievable.

The brand new iPhones are supposed to drive Apple’s three largest focus factors right now: augmented actuality, machine studying, and companies like Apple Music, Apple TV, and the App Retailer. They’re meant to put the groundwork for brand spanking new experiences sooner or later and for a really completely different sort of Apple.

However that is the longer term—possibly. What about right now? I spent a while with all three new telephones at Apple’s occasion on the Steve Jobs Theater in Cupertino; let’s go over them one after the other.

iPhone XS: The brand new default iPhone

The iPhone XS and XS Max.


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The iPhone XS and XS Max from the again, within the new gold end.


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You possibly can see the end a little bit higher right here—the lighting was intense on the present ground.


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Stacking the telephones on prime of one another, you possibly can see that they’ve the identical depth.


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The iPhone XS Max helps the iPhone Plus-style panorama views for sure apps.


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Adjusting the bokeh impact on the brand new iPhone.


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Enjoying The Elder Scrolls: Blades on the iPhone XS Max.


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Viewing video captured on the iPhone XS Max.


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Viewing pictures taken on the iPhone XS Max.


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The lock display screen on the iPhone XS.


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The house display screen on the iPhone XS.


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The again of the iPhone XS.


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Did you just like the iPhone X? You will just like the iPhone XS. In the event you did not, properly, robust luck. That is what iPhones are actually.

I spent about 15 minutes dealing with the XS, and if it weren’t for the brand new, gold end, I would not have been in a position to let you know whether or not it was the X or a brand new cellphone with out wanting into the settings or digging deep to seek out the handful of small new options. The exception was after I was viewing pictures, movies, or video games: the brand new HDR OLED display screen is noticeably extra vibrant than its predecessor. An Apple consultant instructed me it could actually attain 600 nits of brightness, however we’ll check that declare within the overview.

Achieved properly, OLED shows are attractive—final 12 months, I known as the iPhone X’s one of the best cellphone show I had ever seen. That remained true till I noticed the iPhone XS and XS Max right now. In the event you play video games or usually watch motion pictures or TV in your cellphone, you could not choose a greater cellphone. Apple gives arguably one of the best library on the planet of digitally obtainable HDR motion pictures to look at on this system.

I performed Bethesda Video games Studios’ The Elder Scrolls Blades on the system. I had performed it on an iPhone X at E3, and it was spectacular, however it was extra spectacular on this new cellphone. It seemed higher than the sport’s PC and console predecessor (The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim) did on high-end PCs a couple of years in the past.

I attempted the brand new bokeh digicam impact, which will be utilized to a photograph and adjusted after the photograph is taken—identical to the portrait lighting mode added in final 12 months’s telephones. It will not idiot knowledgeable photographer, however amateurs will like it.

The XS appeared speedy and responsive, however then once more, so did the X. And the exterior design is similar. All that’s to say that the iPhone XS is mainly simply an iPhone X with a quicker and extra environment friendly CPU, some digicam enhancements, and a reasonably higher display screen—and ostensibly, quicker Face ID, although we did not get to check that right now. We’ll discover that final one in our overview.

The XS is without doubt one of the most conservative cellphone upgrades Apple has ever achieved. Apart from the synthetic bokeh, it does not introduce any new options of be aware in comparison with its now-deprecated predecessor. The 7nm A12 chip is a promising improvement, however its benefits might be delicate for many customers.

The iPhone XS is an improved model of an already nice—albeit costly—cellphone. However the different two telephones are the larger story.

iPhone XS Max: The ever-expanding cellphone

Apple opted to call the 6.5-inch system it simply unveiled the “iPhone XS Max,” as a result of it is even larger than telephones the corporate has utilized the “Plus” label to previously.

The XS Max is gigantic. Whereas the OLED show on the iPhone XS appears nice, the elevated measurement helped me discover these exceptional particulars much more.

I turned the cellphone into panorama orientation to see if it helps the particular panorama app layouts that iPhone Plus customers have loved for the previous few years. It does. (Just like the iPhone X, the iPhone XS doesn’t assist these layouts.)

And video games seemed nice. The iPhone XS Max has a bigger show than any earlier iPhone, the PlayStation Vita, the Nintendo 3DS, and even the Nintendo Swap. With triple-A video games like Fortnite and The Elder Scrolls Blades hitting the platform, and with Apple emphasizing builders that make subscription-based apps-and-games-as-a-service over free-to-play within the coming months, that is shaping as much as be a gorgeous gaming system. And the AR video games market is just simply taking off.

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