The Apple storm has hit. And it hit hard! Apple’s ‘Gather Around’ keynote kicked off with the next gen, futuristic AF Apple Watch Series 4 and moved on to much awaited iPhone X variants – iPhone Xs, iPhone Xs Max and iPhone Xr (seriously Apple! these are the best names you could come up with?). Deep breaths … guided by the Apple Watch face, of course! Now, for those of you who weren’t lucky enough to be able to catch the festivities in Cupertino, we got ya fam! So, ‘Gather Around’.
iPhone Xs and iPhone Xs Max: The BIG Daddy
The iPhone Xs (pronounced “ten s”, not excess!) models are very much the ‘S’ updates of last year’s iPhone X. In other words, they are an incremental upgrade instead of a radical new change, with the expectation of the gigantic size of iPhone Xs Max. Here’s a rundown of all things major about the shiny new toys:
Biggest and Best Displays
The new iPhone duo looks almost identical to the last year’s iPhone X except for the screen size. iPhone Xs comes with a 5.8-inch Super Retina display while the iPhone Xs Max, at 6.5-inch, is the largest iPhone display ever. Huge, ain’t it? Seems like Apple’s well and truly on board the phablets train now. Oh, that ugly notch is still here.
Thanks to edge-to-edge designs, even the bigger iPhone Xs Max is smaller in size than the previous Plus models. So, these are the biggest displays ever on iPhone, not the biggest iPhones ever!
Gold Colour and Better Materials
Apple added a new Gold colour option to the existing Space Gray and Silver variations of iPhone X. The screen is more durable and the metal has been upgraded to surgical grade stainless steel. Team Apple spent a long time describing other technical improvements to the materials but we’ll spare you the jargons and summarise it in real word lingo – It’s shinier and more durable.
We are quite embarrassed to report this as a ‘flagship feature’. It’s 2018 and the world’s biggest tech company’s top executives were spending stage time explaining how dual SIM works. A 10-year-old kid on the street knows it, guys!
Anyway, Dual SIM is coming to the new iPhones. It’s actually one ‘real’ SIM and one ‘virtual’ SIM. But Indian carriers like Airtel and Jio were already listed in partner companies, so they’ll be supporting Apple’s dual SIM style.
Following the footsteps of its predecessor, both iPhone XS and the 6.5-inch iPhone XS Max feature a TrueDepth camera for FaceID and dual rear cameras. The cameras have new and upgraded sensors over the iPhone X last year, and Apple claims it will click pictures with greater detail and sharpness.
The 7MP selfie cam is back on the iPhone Xs and iPhone Xs Max and comes with an f2.2 aperture that can record 1080p videos. You can even tweak the depth of a Portrait Mode picture via Photo app. Another feature that made us go gaga was the Smart HDR, a new feature that allows the camera’s algorithms to detect people’s faces and bodies, and kick into red-eye reduction, identify highlights and find shadow detail. Pretty slick, right?
Other Improvements – Face ID, A12 Bionic Chip
Although A12 Bionic Chip is a big improvement over its predecessor, we are clubbing it in the others category because yearly processor performance improvements are pretty much the norm. There are no surprises here.
Face ID has also been improved to deliver faster and more stable performance. Again, expected.
India Prices and Launch Date
This is where your dreams will be shattered! Thanks to the all-time high Dollar to INR prices and Apple’s insistence on charging an unreasonable premium in India, the new iPhone Xs starts at a laughable Rs. 99,900 for the base model. The bigger iPhone Xs Max is Rs. 10,000 more expensive, with a starting price of Rs. 1,09,000. These are the prices for the 64GB model, if you have even more spare cash, you can opt for 256GB or 512GB models.
iPhone Xs will be launching in the US on Sep 21 and it will be coming to India just a week later on Sep 28.
Hey wait! That’s not the end of the iPhone story … picture abhi baaki hai mere dost …
iPhone Xr: The Real Star
If iPhone Xs is like the seasoned over-achiever who does everything perfectly, iPhone Xr is the cool new kid who might have some limitations but is much more fun and exciting. Here’s why:
LCD, but the Best Ever
Arguably the biggest difference between the two new iPhone models is the display technology. While the iPhone Xs variants carry forward the OLED screen from iPhone X, iPhone Xr is an evolution of the LCD technology used in iPhone 8 and 8 Plus models.
But don’t be mistaken, the LCD screen is also pretty darn good. In fact, unless you are a purist, you’ll be more than happy with the quality of iPhone Xr screen. It’s almost the biggest LCD screen on an iPhone ever.
The Perfect Size
If you fall in the ‘bigger the bigger’ screen size camp then you’ll be thrilled to learn that Apple has managed to squeeze in a 6.1-inch display within the form factor of an iPhone 8 Plus. So bigger screen without a bigger phone!
The screen size of the iPhone Xr also sits nicely between the two sizes of iPhone Xs models. So it’s a great option if you want an ‘in-between’ display size.
Colours! Colours! Colours!
Our favourite thing about the iPhone Xr is a bunch of lively new colours. It comes in 6 colour variations, including blue, coral and red. It’s a throwback to the good old days of iPhone 5C and we couldn’t be happier about it. Finally, there are some more ‘real’ colours to choose from, other than the Product RED iPhone 8 models.
DUAL SIM, A12 Bionic Chip and Other Similarities with iPhone Xs
Another masterstroke by Apple is that they didn’t treat iPhone Xr as the poor cousin of iPhone Xs. Yes, they compromised on the screen technology to bring the cost down, but they didn’t discriminate when it came to the processor, Face ID and even Dual SIM support.
iPhone Xr comes with a single lens camera (like iPhone 8) but it matches most of the new features and functionalities of the iPhone Xs cameras. It’s an excellent smartphone camera without doubt.
India Prices and Launch Date
iPhone Xr will come in 64GB, 128GB and 256 versions. Its starting price in India is Rs. 76,900. Yes, it’s still expensive, but at least it’s not over a lac! Pre-orders for this model will begin on Oct 19 and you can buy starting Oct 26.
BONUS: iOS 12 (and other OS updates)
For mere mortals like us, who don’t have the money or the heart to spend over a lac on a smartphone upgrade, the most exciting news of the night was the confirmation of the release dates of iOS 12. At least our old iPhones will be newish (Sigh!). Here are the release dates of all new operating systems:
iOS 12: September 17
watchOS 5: September 17
tvOS 12: September 17
macOS Mojave: September 24