Apple Unveils Latest iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max and iPhone XR

Apple on Sept. 12 introduced a new iPhones and an update of its Apple Watch with some improvements for its processing chip (A12 now) and its iOS operating system. Among the next generation of iPhones, one is by far the largest yet—the iPhone Xs Max, whose 6.5-inch screen is larger (but not wider) than any of its predecessors and all the Samsung Galaxy models. Samsung’s new Note 9 has a 6.4-inch screen; one has to wonder if Apple added the extra 1/10th of an inch just for bragging rights.

The iPhone Xs Max, (whose pricing starts at a whopping $1,099 for 64GB storage) is a full inch longer than the iPhone 8 Plus, which measures a mere 5.5 inches. The other two new models, the iPhone Xs (5.8 inches, starting at $999 for 64GB) and iPhone XR (6.1 inches, $749 for 64 GB), offer easier pricing options. You can also pay extra to get 256GB or 512GB of storage for any of these models. 512GB is a new tier of storage for Apple.

As in previous iPhone rollouts, this year’s trio is defined by camera, display, processor, audio and app upgrades. That includes a display with better dynamic range, wider stereo sound from the speakers, and speed increases to Face ID. The company said that water resistance (also against tea and beer, Apple said with a virtual smile) has been improved on all models.

The A12 Bionic processor ostensibly is much faster, but a faster chip is table stakes each year. This is a six-core chip that is among the first in the industry to use a 7nm fabrication process.

Apple is facing legitimate pressure from Samsung over the continued improvement in smartphone cameras. Since the Galaxy 8, Samsung’s have been exemplary. Apple has retaliated with a new method called Smart HDR, which is similar to what Google does with its Pixel; it enables the user to take numerous photos and then lay them out into a collage, then send to friends if need be.

Both cameras on the new iPhones are legitimately improved. The top one is a 12-megapixel wide-angle camera, with optical image stabilization, an all-new sensor, a 6-element lens and focus pixels; the lower one is a 12MP telephoto camera with most of the same features plus a 2X optical zoom lens. This saves users from having to buy addition telephoto lenses that often don’t work nearly as well as advertised (been there, done that).

Photo manipulation software has been upgraded, too, making one wonder why any non-professional photo taker would bother to invest in a third-party imaging (onboard or cloud-based) application anymore.

Here’s a schedule of release dates for the new products:
  • iPhone Xs and Xs Max pre-orders start Sept. 14 and ship on Sept. 21.
  • iPhone Xr will be available for pre-order on Oct. 19and ship on Oct. 26.
  • iOS 12 will be released on Sept. 17.
  • HomePod and tvOS software updates also come out Sept. 17.
  • macOS Mojave will come out on Sept. 24

Apple Watch 4
The new Apple Watch includes a built-in EKG sensor and a new larger face--the Series 4 screens are more than 30 percent larger than earlier devices. Apple redesigned the watchOS interface to incorporate more information on those larger displays, such as travel plans, weather , sports scores and weather information. Preferences are all set by the user. The Series 4 also features haptic feedback and louder audio.

The device has new artificial intelligence included; if the Watch detects that the user has fallen, it will immediately call emergency services if the wearer doesn’t stop the call within five seconds.

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