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Following months of speculation and build up Apple have finally announced their latest smartphones. This year we have a trio of phones and the budget option now costs the same as most flagship Android phones.

The XS models are essentially identical but with different sized OLED screens, while the “budget” XR model has a 6.1″ LCD display. In defence of the XR pricing, it is almost the same as the high-end models, just a different display, so this is not the same as the Mate 20 lite vs Mate 20 Pro for example.

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The other main differences with the XR include IP67 water and dust protection, instead of the improved IP68 rating and also no 3D Touch — instead, Apple is offering a new Haptic touch system, that offers similar feedback to the buttonless MacBook Pro trackpad.

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XR Colour options
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XS Colour options

The 6.1-inch display of the XR is classed as Liquid Retina, a typical Apple marketing term, in reality, it is a 1792 x 828 resolution display at 326 PPI, featuring Apple’s True Tone technology.

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The XS and XS max models use an OLED panel and are touted as Super Retina. The OLED panel allows the phones to offer a million-to-one contrast ratio with remarkable brightness and true blacks while showing 60 per cent greater dynamic range in HDR photos. iPhone Xs Max delivers a more immersive experience with over 3 million pixels for videos, movies and games, offering the largest display ever in an iPhone in a footprint similar to iPhone 8 Plus.

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Both the XS and XS Max have the same resolution of 2436×1125 with the XS being 5.8-inches and the Max being a behemoth 6.5-inch which makes it one of the largest phones on the market. It is an interesting move considering Apple stuck with the small form factor for so long while Android phones got constantly bigger.

A12 Bionic SoC

As usual, this year sees a new SoC, Apple develop their own rather than use Qualcomm or HiSilicon and they have had a public falling out with Qualcomm so they seem to be making a point of how great this chip is.

The new chip is the industry’s first 7nm SoC to ship, whereas the Kirin 980 was the first 7nm to be announced. Details of the SoC are a little slim but it is a 6-core SoC with 2 big cores and 4 little, in comparison the Kirin 980 has 2 big, 2 medium and 4 little. Apple claims a 15% increase in the performance and a 40% reduction in power on the performance cores and 50% on the low-power cores.

The latest GPU is a 4 core design, up from 3 cores in the A11 with Apple is saying it is up to 50% faster than the A11’s GPU.

Similar to the Kirin chips apple have a dedicated AI processor.  The latest neural engine is described as an 8-core design, up from 2 cores for the A11. In turn, peak performance has jumped from 600 GigaOPS to 5 TeraOPS, an increase of over 8x.


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The XS models use a dual rear camera set up with 12MP sensors for each the standard (wide-angle) and telephoto lenses, with an f/1.8 and f/2.4 aperture. Apple is now using a 1.4µm pixel pitch sensor – up from 1.22 µm on the iPhone X which will give you improved light per pixel.

The XR drops a lens but remains largely the same as the rest of the features.

Pricing and Availability.

Pre-order 19.10 Available 26.10

The XR

64GB – £749

128GB – £799

256GB -£849

The XS:

64GB – £999

256GB – £1149

512GB -£1349

The XS Max:

64GB – £1099

256GB – £1249

512GB -£1449





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