Since my humans have been out-and-about more, I’ve had a lot more time to paw around (I mean…delicately use) the tablet and computer devices in our house. This past month has been especially thrilling as I’ve been keeping tabs on all the new updates for the Apple iPhone that have been released. Featuring three new versions of the smartphone that started it all, Apple has certainly outdone itself once again—or has it?
Last September, Apple released the iPhone X with features that did not disappoint, like the “Super Retina” OLED Smart HDR (High Dynamic Range) screen display, removal of the home button, complete edge-to-edge screen; Face ID for security, stronger materials with greater water resistance and 4K video streaming, to name a few. This year, Apple has further developed these capabilities into three new models: iPhone Xs, iPhone Xs Max and iPhone XR (I’m still confused on whether it’s pronounced, “ex-ess” or “ex-ten”). While the iPhone Xs and iPhone Xs Max are already available in stores (as of Sept. 21) the iPhone XR is slated to go on sale on Oct. 26.
Here’s the skinny on these skinny new smartphones:
Upgrades to iPhone Xs, iPhone Xs Max and iPhone XR:
While there are differences between the three smartphones, Apple made some big upgrades across the board. For instance, the front screens and phone backs of all three devices are made of even more durable glass, which also means faster wireless charging. Face ID now works even faster, too—using the upgraded ‘TrueDepth’ camera system comprising of a 30,000 dot projector to build a more accurate facial map, and a flood illuminator for better processing of your face, even in low-light.
What does this all mean? Apart from the obvious greatness of having a device that charges faster, and being able to worry less about broken screens (Clawdia has said I’m all paws when it comes to handling things…); the updated Face ID system allows for stronger security and faster times unlocking your phone, logging in to apps and using Apple Pay®.
Apple updates its operating system regularly, but the new A12 Bionic 8-Core Neural Engine that powers the iPhone Xs, iPhone Xs Max and iPhone XR (also available for upgrade on the iPhone X) is truly magnificent. Apple is calling it “the smartest, most powerful chip in a smartphone,” and I have to agree. The processor not only runs nine times faster than the prior system, it uses real-time machine learning to recognize patterns, make predictions on your use and learn from how you use the machine to perform better. In fact, this tiny chip is able to perform up to five trillion (yes, you read that right!) operations per second.
As the highest-capacity iPhone yet, at 4GB of RAM and handling up to 512GB of storage and promising superfast download speeds; it should come as no surprise that the developers at Apple also upped the performance and efficiency across all three of these devices. In fact, you can expect graphics and videos to be more fluid, and download up to 50% faster (hello, gamers!), daily tasks like alarms, music and calls to use about half the power as they did previously (saving even more battery life), and heavier tasks like augmented reality programs to be completed up to 15% faster. As for speakers, get ready for wider stereo playback that gives you a better, fuller sound.
All three models also have upgraded camera systems. For the iPhone Xs and iPhone Xs Max, it’s the same dual wide-lens and telephoto-lens 12MP rear cameras of the iPhone X, but with a faster sensor (iPhone XR only has one rear, wide-lens camera—but with the same 12MP upgraded capabilities as its ‘siblings’). With a refined depth engine and larger pixels, these break-through rear camera sensors work with the enhanced image signal processor (ISP) and the 8-Core Neural Engine to provide extraordinary detail in all your photos and videos. Say hello to more highlights and shadows—even in low-light shots! And, portrait mode now has a sophisticated blur for the background as well as ability to adjust the depth of field, all accessible in editing! As for the front camera, you can expect better auto-focus and stabilization (say cheese to crisper selfies!). All of these updates mean better, crisper, truer pictures and videos to capture life’s precious moments.
Upgrades to iPhone Xs and iPhone Xs Max:
For our water-sports friends (I do love a good doggie-paddle), you may want to opt for the iPhone Xs or iPhone Xs Max—because the new, stronger glass is also sealed and precision-fitted around the edges with a surgical-grade stainless steel band. This means it won’t break if it goes underwater up to a depth of two meters (about six and a half feet), or for a time of 30 minutes. (The iPhone XR still has the same seal, precision-fitting and surgical-grade stainless steel band, but can only be submerged up to one meter.)
And, for both the iPhone Xs and iPhone Xs Max, the developers added a new PVD (physical vapor deposition) color process to the glass tempering, with the end result of a new gold color option for these devices (as well as the existing space gray and silver).
For all my tech-spec aficionados, here’s how the two smartphones compare:
- Priced at $999 if paid in full, or starting at $49.91/mo
- 2436 x 1125 resolution
- 8-inch screen
- 79-inch width
- 24oz weight
iPhone Xs Max:
- Priced at $1099 if paid in full, or starting at $54.08/mo
- 2688 x 1242 resolution
- 5-inch screen (AKA the largest display ever for an iPhone)
- 05-inch width
- 34oz weight
Upgrades to the iPhone XR
It seems like Apple has jumped on the budget-bandwagon, which is why they are offering three versions of smartphones with similar capabilities but with some distinct differences (and price points). However, the range is simply to appeal to all smartphone users where they want the most features.
The iPhone XR screen is not the “Super Retina” but is still extremely sharp with a Liquid Retina LCD display. Its screen also includes the True Tone feature and wide color gamut, guaranteeing better color accuracy. Picture it like the iPhone 8 screen, but now available edge-to-edge and with brighter colors and deeper contrast.
Apart from its lesser cost than the iPhone Xs and iPhone Xs Max, this smartphone is most appealing for its exclusive range of colors. The iPhone XR glass (again, the same quality as the iPhone Xs and iPhone Xs Max), is tempered with a seven-layer color process. This means only the iPhone XR alone comes in six color finishes: yellow, coral, white, black, blue and red.
And let’s not forget the still-awesome tech-specs that make this smartphone the middle-child of the trio:
- Priced at $749 if paid in full, or starting at $37.41/mo
- 1792 x 828 resolution
- 326 pixels per inch
- 1-inch screen
- 98-inch width
- 84oz weight
With all these upgrades, it can be forgiven that currently the only issue being reported for the iPhone Xs and iPhone Xs Max is the WiFi connectivity; which could be a result of Apple’s move from Qualcome to Intel for modems and will likely be corrected in the next iOS update.
As for whether these advances are worth updating your smartphone, I would say you likely won’t feel or experience a magnified difference in operations and performance if you already have the iPhone X. But! If you have iPhone 8 or earlier versions, making the jump to one of these new iPhone X devices is definitely going to be worth it.
So there you have it. I sniffed out all I could find on the new iPhones, and I hope this information helps you (unless you’re an Android user—stay tuned for an update just on Androids)!
Your pawsitively pawesome pal Cache