Thursday 13 September 2018
Apple CEO Tim Cook speaks at the unveiling of the new iPhone Xs. Photo: Justin Sullivan/AFP

Apple is betting big on the iPhone X. And we mean big.

The company announced on Wednesday its largest smartphone ever: the 6.5-inch iPhone XS Max (US$1,099). It’s also the most expensive iPhone to date.

The Max has a larger display than the usual Plus size phones but a similar body.

Apple also showed off a 5.8-inch iPhone XS ($999), and did away with its fingerprint scanner Touch ID in favor of Face ID on both devices.

apple-iphone-xs-AFP - apple
The hotly anticipated iPhone Xs models. Photo: Noah Berger/AFP

The cameras on the phones are, as usual, “better than ever before,” said Apple exec Phil Schiller, who has uttered the same words at previous events. The new 12 megapixel cameras have bigger sensors and an improved HDR mode.

The new smartphones have a longer battery life than the original iPhone X. The iPhone XS will have 30 more minutes of battery life, and the iPhone XS Max will last up to an hour and a half longer.

apple-iphone-xr-AFP - apple
The new Apple iPhone XR comes in a range of colours. Photo: Justin Sullivan/AFP

Apple surprised with a third smartphone, the ‘lower-end’ iPhone XR (US$749). The 6.1-inch features a bright LCD screen and comes in a variety of colours, including white, black, blue, coral and red. It’s also missing a home button and is activated by swiping up.

The device only has one camera – a 12 pixel wide-angle camera – but Apple added a similar portrait feature found in its dual camera devices, which blurs the background. The device kills the 3D touch feature but added some haptic feedback, so the screen vibrates a bit in response to touch.

The phones have faster networking support. Travellers will be happy to hear they’ll have more bands for better roaming and dual SIM capabilities to support multiple plans and two phone numbers on one device.

The iPhone X line also packs augmented reality tools to have more realistic graphics and object reflections.

apple-watch-4-tim-cook-AFP - apple
CEO of Apple, Tim Cook, speaks during an event at the Steve Jobs Theater at Apple Park on September 12, 2018 in Cupertino, California. Photo: Justin Sullivan/AFP

In addition, the company unveiled an upgraded Apple Watch. The Series 4 has a 30% larger edge-to-edge display and is thinner. It has more reliable reception and is two times faster. The new watch also has greater focus on health. It can predict when you fall and send that data to an emergency contact.

It also comes with a built-in (and FDA-approved) EKG to help diagnose heart diseases and other conditions, making it the first EKG device available over the counter, according to Apple.

Pricing and availability

The iPhone XS Max – with 512 GB of storage – will be the most expensive iPhone ever. Meanwhile, the iPhone XS will cost the same as last year’s iPhone X (US$999). The original iPhone X is now US$200 cheaper.

Apple will continue to sell the iPhone 7 and iPhone 8 in regular and Plus sizes. The cheapest phone in the iPhone line up is the iPhone 7, starting at US$449. The iPhone 8 starts at US$599.

The iPhone XS and XS Max will be available to pre-order on Friday September 14, and ship Friday September 21 in the US and other countries.

You’ll be able to pre-order the iPhone XR beginning Friday, October 19, and it will hit stores on Friday, October 26, in more than 50 countries.

The Apple Watch Series 4 will cost $499 for built-in connectivity and $399 for a standard model. It will be available for pre-order starting Friday and ship Friday September 21.

Source: Heather Kelly and Kaya Yurieff/CNN-Wire