It’s official, Apple has a new range of iPhone models for 2018, and it’s announcing them during a special event held at its futuristic Apple Campus in Cupertino, California. Rumors galore gathered ahead of the event, telling us we should expect three new phones, and a new Apple Watch, too.
The event is unfolding right now, but here’s what you need to know.
Apple iPhone Xs and Xs Max
The iPhone Xs is the first new iPhone to launch, and it’s the sequel to 2017’s iPhone X, which means it has an almost bezel-less 5.8-inch screen with a notch at the top. It has a Super Retina, OLED screen which measures 5.8-inches and has a 2436 x 1125 pixel resolution, for a 458 pixel-per-inch (PPI) density.
It’s joined by a model with a 6.5-inch Super Retina OLED screen, which Apple calls the iPhone Xs Max. The resolution is increased to 2,688 x 1,242 pixels and matches the iPhone Xs’s 458ppi density. The new models come in gold, silver, and space grey color, and the body has an IP68 water-resistance rating. The glass is also new, with a higher durability rating. Like the iPhone X, Apple calls this the iPhone 10, with the X being a Roman numeral.
Each is powered by a new version of Apple’s A-series processor — the A12 Bionic. The company says it’s the first mobile processor built using a 7 nanometer (nm) process, beating the Huawei Kirin 980, which has been announced but not released yet. It contains a dizzying 6.9 billion transistors, can process 5 trillion operations each second, and has up to 512GB of storage memory. The A12 Bionic is a six-core CPU with two dedicated to high-performance tasks, and is 15 percent faster and 40 percent lower power consumption than the previous generation. The four remaining cores are for efficiency and consume 50 percent less power.
iPhone Xs and Xs Max cameras
The iPhone Xs and Xs Max have new cameras. The main six-element lens has a new 12-megapixel, wide-angle sensor with an f/1.8 aperture, optical image stabilization, and a 1.4nm pixel size. The second telephoto lens also has 12 megapixels with OIS, a 2x optical zoom, and an f/2.4 aperture. The front camera has a new 7-megapixel RGB sensor with an f/2.2 aperture, plus an IR camera and a structured light transmitter for Face ID and animojis. For video, the front camera shoots 1080p at 60fps with video stabilization.
Smart HDR is a new camera feature, four images are captured with no lag, and inter-frames at a different exposure and shadows, then merges them into one photo for the best results. It has also been improving the bokeh blurred background effect, helped by the A12 Bionic chip, and there is a new depth setting to change the level of blur in the background. This is activated using a slider in the camera app.
Apple has boosted the iPhone Xs battery life. You’ll get 30 minutes more time from the iPhone X on the iPhone Xs, and 90 minutes more from the iPhone Xs Max. Apple has not disclosed the capacity of the batteries at this time. Apple also says it has improved the wireless charging but has not gone into detail about how.
Other features include Gigabit-class LTE and dual-SIM with dual-standby technology. This uses eSIM, just like the iPad and Apple Watch, so there is no need to put in an extra physical SIM. In China, the eSIM option won’t be offered, instead, a traditional dual-SIM phone will be sold. The phones will also have Bluetooth 5.0, wider stereo sound from the speakers and stereo recording for video.
How about the rest?
The event is ongoing, and the news is coming at a furious rate. What’s still to come? A new low-cost iPhone potentially called the iPhone Xr or iPhone Xc is also on the list of devices still to come. It will replace the old iPhone SE, and not feature an OLED screen to lower the cost. The screen is expected to look the same as the iPhone X range and have a notch at the top but will measure 6.1 inches.
Apple started the event with a new Apple Watch. The Apple Watch Series 4 has a larger, thinner case and a larger screen — either 40mm or 44mm — and a more than 30 percent bigger display compared to the Series 3 watch. This means the screen will show more information, and have more space for complications and data. It also has new sensors to take an ECG measurement, new heart rate monitors, and a fall alert system.
We still don’t have an actual release date for the phones, but we believe that date will likely be September 21 — a week after pre-orders begin. While we hope to see all of the 2018 iPhone devices hit store shelves simultaneously, there is a chance that the iPhone Xr model will be delayed for several weeks.
This is a developing story, and we’re at the Apple event updating this article live, meaning you should check back often for more details as they become available.
Updated on September 12: Added first news from the Apple event.