Apple Unveils iPhone XS
Apple has updated its iPhone X handset with three more powerful models, two of which are larger than before.
The iPhone XS Max has a 6.5in (16.5cm) display. The iPhone XS has the same 5.8in-sized component as the original. The iPhone XR’s screen is 6.1in but is lower quality.
A new smartwatch was also launched with an added fall-detection function.
There had been concerns that the relatively high £999 entry price of iPhone X would limit its appeal.
But Apple said it had consistently proven more popular than either of the lower-priced iPhone 8 models. Market research firms suggest it also outsold rival companies’ flagship devices.
That helped propel Apple to become the world’s first company with a market capitalisation above $1tn (£768bn).
However, China’s Huawei still managed to overtake it in terms of overall smartphone market share in the April-to-June quarter, putting Apple into third place.
“Huawei was able to overtake it because Apple is not playing in the mid and low ends of the market,” commented Francisco Jeronimo from IDC.
“But Apple is very well positioned in the premium segment, and we don’t expect that to change over the next 18 months.” Apple highlighted that the iPhone XS Max’s display was significantly larger than the 5.5in display of the old iPhone 8 Plus despite the two handsets being similar in size.
“Even if the screen on the iPhone X last year was larger some people who were on the Plus models missed the feel of a larger device which is exactly what the Max is addressing,” said Carolina Milanesi, an analyst at the consultancy Creative Strategies.
The iPhone XR also has a bigger screen but uses LCD (liquid crystal display) rather than the OLED (organic light-emitting diode) technology found in the more expensive models. This will mean black appears less deep and its colours appear to have less contrast.
In addition, its chassis is made from aluminium rather than steel, which means it is likely to be less damage-resistant. However, unlike the more expensive models it comes in different colours.
Analysts suggest the wider range may help encourage iPhone owners who did not upgrade last year to do so this generation.
“Retention has become very high for both Android and iOS – switching is largely a thing of the past,” suggested analysts at UBS.
“Put simply, the replacement for iPhone is iPhone, the only question is when – and the when is driven in large part by form factor, namely the screen.”
The latest phones feature a fresh processor – the firm’s first to feature seven nanometre transistor technology, which should aid energy efficiency and computation speeds.
Apple said that its Face ID system would now work faster than before and it demoed several apps, showing off its augmented reality prowess.
Huawei recently announced it had developed a rival 7nm mobile chip of its own.
Despite rumours that at least one of the new iPhones would feature three rear cameras – like Huawei’s P20 Pro – Apple stuck with two 12 megapixel lenses for the XS and XS Max. The XR only has one rear camera.However, Apple did unveil a new feature that will allow users to alter the depth-of-field of their photos after they have been taken – effectively changing the degree to which the background is blurred.
“Apple will face some inevitable criticism that these products offer only small improvements on prior successes,” said Ben Wood from the consultancy CCS Insight.
“However, the fact that Apple has sold almost two billion iOS devices to date is testament to the success of the iPhone recipe since 2007.”