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iPhone XS and XS Max: The Post Grand Era

image from Apple

Apple has announced three new iPhones today. Two of which are the iPhone XS and XS Max. These two iPhones are the top of the line and start at a ridiculous starting price of $999 for the 64GB variant. Although the Samsung Note 9 also starts at this price tag. It is when you get to the largest storage size when the price gets mind-boggling. For the 512GB XS you are looking at $1349 and the 512GB XS Max $1449. (The 512GB variant of the Note 9 is $1250.) With mid-range phones getting better and better, let’s see what exactly you get for the grand.

A Faster CPU

Both the iPhone XS and the XS Max comes with the new A12 Bionic chip. The A12 Bionic chip is the first 7mm chip on the market and is one of the fastest mobile CPUs on the market. Its already been blowing the Snapdragon 845 out of the water in terms of benchmarks. Although, in terms of real world performance, I have not seen Apple use the chip in a way that revolutionizes the mobile experience. What you will actually experience with the new A12 chip is faster face ID unlocking and some minor improvements in responsiveness.

Better waterproofing

Waterproofing has been upgraded from IP67 (up to 1m for 30 mins) to IP68 (up to 2m for 30 mins). Don’t expect too much change in day to day use with regards to this. I still would not recommend anyone dip their iPhone in the pool (due to chlorine) or take a dunk at the Beach (sand and salt water is very bad for your phone)

Cameras has been upgraded

image from Apple

Coupled with the new A12 Bionic chip, there is improved image processing with improved HDR, better noise reduction, and better low light. An improved Portrait mode now allows you to change the bokeh blur post shot (Depth Control). Most of this seems to be a software improvement and there may be a possibility that it may also work on the iPhone X.

Slightly better battery life

Apple has also said to expect better battery life on the XS and XS Max compared to the X. Not too sure how much of this battery improvements is due to the new CPU and software rather than an actual increase in battery capacity. I suspect the XS Max will at least have the battery capacity increased to handle the larger screen size.

The XS Max

image from Apple

The XS Max is identical to the XS except for being a larger device. The XS Max bumps the screen size from 5.8 inches to 6.5 inches. The price also increases due to the screen size.

New Gold Color

image from Apple

The only way you will know that someone has the new iPhone XS vs the iPhone X is if they have the new Gold color. The iPhone X looks identical to the iPhone XS.

Ridiculous Price

image from Apple

What started last year as the thousand dollar smartphone trend, has now broken a new ceiling. The highest configuration iPhone now costs a whopping $1449. Let us bring some context into this. The iPhone XS Max 512GB cost nearly as much as a Macbook Pro 256GB. You can get almost three OnePlus 6 and almost five Poco F1.

image from Apple

I think the pricing scheme of Apple’s iPhone has gotten a bit out of hand. Even with the enormous amount of R&D Apple is putting into developing their own chip. The iPhone XS and XS Max do not provide enough value to warrant their price tags.

iPhone XR looks more reasonable

I’m just going to straight up and say it. Based on what we know so far, the iPhone XS and XS Max are not good values. I don’t see any compelling reason to upgrade from the iPhone X to the XS or XS Max. Even for those who are still using the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus or below, the iPhone XR is probably a greater value for your money.