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The Home button is dead – Apple reveals the 2018 iPhones – XS, XS Max and XR

It’s that time of year and the hype is real, Apple has this morning announced their 2018 iPhone lineup at their September event in the Steve Jobs Theatre on the Apple Park campus.

Fitting in with almost every rumour, we’ve got three new iPhones, none of which feature the trademark Apple “Home button” for the first time since the iPhone launched over a decade ago.

Instead of the circle Home button at the bottom of each phone all new iPhone models feature the full-screen gesture controlled style of the iPhone X introduced one year ago.

The iPhone X was the most expensive iPhone ever sold, this year that title goes to the larger sibling in the range, the iPhone XS Max – we’ll have Aussie pricing shortly.

So this year, three new models.

iPhone XS & iPhone XS Max

This year’s follow up to the iPhone X comes in new colours (Gold, Silver and Space Grey), and is IP68 rated, so it can really hit the bottom of the pool with no issue.

“So what do you call a phone that’s as big as the old “Plus” phones, but has a bigger screen?”  This is the iPhone XS Max say Apple.

It has all the features of the XS, but with a bigger screen – a 6.5 inch screen which is enormous for an iPhone.

FaceID has been improved, to be faster, and Apple now claim it to be the most secure facial authentication ever on a smartphone.

The processor is a 7 nanometer A12 Bionic chip.  Apple call that an industry first – perhaps a reason why Huawei announced their next chip at IFA – though Apple will seemingly be the first to include 7nm in a phone that goes on sale.

It’s faster by lengths – Apple say apps will launch up to 30% faster, but the “Neural Engine” is where Apple are most excited. An 8 core “dedicated machine learning” system.  The A12 can process 5 trillion operations per second, smart cookie.

It even has HEVC encoding and decoding built into the processor.

Storage is huge, boosted to 512GB – which was only touched on in the keynote, but is a real buried lede – that’s huge storage from Apple.

The Camera gets a boost – the 12MP wide and 12MP telephoto now have an improved flash and sensor.  The power of the sensor, the processor combined with the lens technology have allowed for enhancements to HDR and depth of field.

While the crowd in the Steve Jobs Theatre were overwhelmed – it’s not a mobile first.  Huawei, and Samsung among others have had this feature for some time – but – it is remarkable, and it’s about time Apple brought it to iPhone.  Adjusting the f-stop after you’ve taken the photo has been a revolution in mobile photography that now comes to iPhone.

Videos also now record Stereo sound, making for a more realistic playback for larger format videography.  A lot of enhancements for those who love their iPhone videos.

Cellular speeds are now “Gigabit LTE”, but the real scoop here is Dual SIM capabilities. How this plays out in Australia where the Telcos have never ranged a Dual-SIM phone before is yet to be seen, but if anyone can twist their arm – it’s Apple.

One physical SIM card, and the second as an eSim – allowing you to “choose” an eSIM plan on the device, while inserting whatever other SIM you want.  Again, stand by – don’t hold your breath yet – we hope it comes to Australia.

The battery is bigger, they say over an hour of extra battery life over last year’s model.

All of that – while without doubt the flagship devices – was a precursor to “One more iPhone”.

iPhone XR

No, it’s not a blast from the past, it’s not a 1966 Ford Falcon, it’s the new iPhone – the “affordable” one.

LCD edge to edge display to emulate the OLED screen design of the iPhone X and XS.  1792×828 resolution.  A bigger display than the iPhone 8 Plus, but the device size is between the 8 and 8 Plus.

It comes in a staggering six colours, White, Black, Blue,  Coral,  Yellow,  Product [red].

It does not have 3D Touch, but a haptic touch.

FaceID is built in, so it has face unlock, and face recognition for Apple Pay.

It’s essentially an iPhone X without the screen and dual camera.

A single camera 12MP camera, the same wide angle camera that’s in the new XS, but just the single lens.  But it does have Portrait mode.  Something we’ve seen other smartphone single lens cameras do, but now on the iPhone XR

Frankly, at a glance, this looks like the phone to have.  Great colours, design, FaceID and camera – with a Battery life that is an hour and a half longer than the larger iPhone 8 Plus

It’s also the cheapest iPhone this year. Though with the Aussie dollar, it’s not a good year for Aussie pricing

Pricing

Brace yourselves folks, this is the most expensive iPhone range ever.  The cheapest iPhone launched this year is $1229 – Apple are relying on sales of the iPhone 7 and 8 to continue to grow their lower end sales, these “future of smartphone” devices don’t come cheap.

They top out at $2,369 – yep, over $2,000!!

iPhone XS

  • 64GB – $1629
  • 256GB – $1879
  • 512GB – $2199

iPhone XS Max

  • 64GB – $1799
  • 256GB – $2049
  • 512GB – $2369

iPhone XR

  • 64GB – $1229
  • 128GB – $1299
  • 256GB – $1479

For the iPhone XR, pre orders start October 19 it’s available October 26th.

For the XS & XS Max pre orders start September 14, shipping from Sept 21st

iOS 12 will be available to all iPhones and iPads from September 17

 

Trevor Long travelled to Cupertino as a guest of Apple Australia

Trev is a Technology Commentator, Dad, Speaker and Rev Head.

He produces and hosts two popular podcasts, EFTM and Two Blokes Talking Tech. He also appears on over 50 radio stations across Australia weekly, and is the resident Tech Expert on Channel 9’s Today Show each day and appears regularly on A Current Affair.

Father of three, he is often found down in his Man Cave.

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The Home button is dead – Apple reveals the 2018 iPhones – XS, XS Max and XR
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