Do You Need One of the New iPhones?

By Tracey Dowdy

Apple unveiled its annual updated iPhones last week and, like every upgrade, they have their shares of pros and cons.

There are three new models – the iPhone XR, XS and the XS Max. The iPhone X is gone, as are older iPhones that required a headphone jack. The iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max are basically the same, just in two different sizes, and the XR is Apple’s version of their “budget” iPhone but, at $749, consumers may not see it as such a bargain.

Let’s break each down with a quick overview:

The iPhone XR comes with a 6.1-inch “Liquid Retina” LCD, has either 64GB, 128GB or 256GB of storage, and is equipped with an A12 Bionic chip, which Phil Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of worldwide marketing, calls “the smartest, most powerful chip ever in a smartphone.” It’s available in six colors: red, yellow, white, coral, black, and blue finishes. It features a 12MP wide-angle camera and a 7MP front-facing “TrueDepth” camera. ($749 to $899).

The iPhone XS features a smaller 5.8-inch OLED display, a choice of 64GB, 256GB or 512GB storage, the same A12 Bionic chip, and a12MP wide-angle and telephoto cameras alongside the 7MP front-facing “TrueDepth” camera. It comes in three finishes: gold, space gray, and silver. ($999 to $1,349).

The only difference between the iPhone XS and the iPhone XS Max is the screen. The XS Max features a larger, 6.5-inch OLED display. ($1,099 to $1,449).

This isn’t the first time Apple has offered a “budget” version of their high-end models but they’ve learned from past mistakes. Previous models like the iPhone SE and iPhone 5C were less successful than their counterparts, so Apple kept many of the features and cut corners on areas like battery size and casing.

The XS and XS Max cameras are generating a lot of buzz. Using algorithms, the cameras can detect faces and bodies and feature instant red-eye reduction. Its smart HDR feature can identify highlights and find shadow detail. Also, the new camera allows users to adjust the depth of a portrait mode photo after you take the picture, giving users control over the blur. All editing happens in the Photos app through a slider.

Pre-orders for the iPhone XS and XS Max started Friday, September 14th and the phones will be in stores beginning Friday, September 21st. iPhone XR pre-orders start October 19th and will be on sale in stores beginning October 26th.

Tracey Dowdy is a freelance writer based just outside Washington DC. After years working for non-profits and charities, she now freelances, edits and researches on subjects ranging from family and education to history and trends in technology. Follow Tracey on Twitter.

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