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iPhone XS, XR, XS Max: Apple's three new iPhones replace the iPhone X

They start at $749, $999 and $1,099.

James Martin/CNET

Yesterday, Apple announced the iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max and iPhone XR. These three new iPhones for 2018 officially replace the iPhone X, which Apple pulled from its store after the announcement. So if you're looking for a new "IPhone X" this year, one of these three will have to be it. While the iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max have virtually the same guts, just in two different sizes, the iPhone XR is a cheaper, more colorful phone with a few compromises. The XR introduces a profound shift in Apple's strategy by folding its "bargain" phone into the premium iPhone mix.

The iPhone XR starts at $749 for the lowest storage capacity, the iPhone XS starts at $999 -- like last year's iPhone X -- and the XS Max's 64GB model costs $1,099. The prices rise from there with each jump in internal storage. Instead of Apple's most advanced phone breaking the $1,000 ceiling, two of these new iPhones now start at a grand or more. This is Apple's way of testing people's willingness to splurge on a high-end phone.

Read also: iPhone X specs vs. iPhone XS, iPhone XR and iPhone XS Max

Apple has dabbled in cheaper iPhones before, with the iPhone SE and iPhone 5C, but their designs stood apart from the mainstream iPhones, and they didn't last. Here, the cheaper iPhone XR shares the design and many of the same specs as the top-tier iPhones. It comes in bright colors and has some slimmed-down features, like a smaller battery than the new iPhone XSes. The pricing is the most attractive for iPhone loyalists. Although there's nothing "budget" about the iPhone XR's $749 starting price, people looking for a new iPhone this year could easily gravitate to the relatively cheaper XR.

This reveal of Apple's 2018-2019 lineup is a big moment for the tech giant, which shook up its iPhone range in 2017 when it introduced the iPhone X, iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus, effectively killing any chance of a future iPhone 9 and turning its whole iPhone naming scheme on its head

At a time when phones are becoming more and more expensive, Apple's decision to embrace the new "X" family is important because it cements a new strategy for Apple, one that will continue to set the pace for phone makers as we move toward 2019.

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These new iPhones for 2018 will need to impress buyers if Apple has any desire to nudge Chinese brand Huawei -- which outsold iPhones last quarter -- and regain its seat as the world's second-largest phone maker, after No. 1 Samsung.

Keep reading for all the new iPhone specs. In the meantime, preorders for the iPhone XS and XS Max begin this Friday, Sept. 14, with the phones going on sale next Friday, Sept. 21. The iPhone XR preorders begin Oct. 19 and it goes on sale Oct. 26.

Read also: iPhone XS, XR, XS Max: What's the difference?

Editors note: This story originally posted Sept. 12, 2018; it updated most recently on Sept. 13 at 10:44 a.m. PT.

iPhone XR, XS, XS Max US pricing


64GB 128GB 256GB 512GB
iPhone XR $749 $799 $899 N/A
iPhone XS $999 N/A $1,149 $1,349
iPhone XS Max $1,099 N/A $1,249 $1,449

New iPhone XR, XS, XS Max starting prices


iPhone XR iPhone XS iPhone XS Max
US $749 (64GB) $999 (64GB) $1,099 (64GB)
UK £749 (64GB) £999 (64GB) £1,049 (64GB)
Australia AU$1,229 (64GB) AU$1,629 (64GB) AU$1,799 (64GB)
Now playing: Watch this: Apple iPhone XR: Cheapest new iPhone priced at $749
3:07

iPhone XS and XS Max quick specs

  • Two sizes: 5.8-inch (458 ppi) and 6.5-inch (458 ppi), with OLED HDR screen (Super Retina displays)
  • Colors: Gold, silver and space gray finishes
  • Dual camera: 12-megapixel wide and telephoto lenses
  • Front-facing cameras: 7-megapixel camera will bring depth to portrait mode photos
  • A12 Bionic chip: 7-nanometer processor promises to launch apps 30 percent faster than 2017 iPhones
  • Storage options: 64GB, 128GB, 512GB
  • IP68 water-resistance rating (2 meters depth; up to 30 minutes in water)
  • Battery life: iPhone XS should last 30 minutes longer than iPhone X; iPhone XS Max claims 1.5 hours longer than the iPhone X
  • Dual-SIM card support through eSIM technology
  • Face ID promises to work faster at unlocking the phones
  • 3D Touch pressure-sensitive screen
  • Stereo sound with a wider stereo field than 2017 iPhones
  • iOS 12 software
  • Pricing: Starts at $999 (£999, AU$1,629) for 64GB iPhone XS
2018-09-12-11-11-11

Apple demonstrates camera improvements in the iPhone XS and XS Max.

Screenshot by Jessica Dolcourt/CNET

iPhone XS and XS Max cameras

The iPhone XS and XS Max cameras share the same specs (see above), but don't be dismayed. Apple promises you'll get more from the camera than you did with the iPhone X, specifically because of the power of the A12 Bionic chip inside.

The camera's algorithms detect people's faces and bodies, and kick into instant red-eye reduction. Smart HDR can identify highlights and find shadow detail.

Even more interesting, you can now adjust the depth of a portrait mode photo (called the bokeh effect) after you take the photo, which gives you complete control over the blur. All editing happens in the Photos app through a slider.

Read also: Apple's $29 iPhone battery replacements will cost $69 after December

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Cheaper iPhone XR comes in flashy colors like coral pink, yellow and blue.

Screenshot by Jessica Dolcourt/CNET

iPhone XR specs: Apple's cheaper iPhone

  • 6.1-inch LCD screen with 1,792x828-pixel resolution and 326ppi (Retina display)
  • Aluminum body with glass back
  • Single camera: 12-megapixel wide-angle lens, with OIS (same as iPhone XS)
  • Storage options: 64GB, 128GB, 256GB
  • Portrait mode photos through software
  • FaceID with same True-Depth camera system as iPhone XS
  • A12 Bionic chip
  • Battery life claim: 1.5 hours more per day than the iPhone 8 Plus
  • IP67 water resistance
  • No 3D Touch on iPhone XR. Instead, you get haptic touch, like a trackpad
  • iOS 12 software
  • Colors: Blue, coral (pink), yellow, white, black, Product Red
  • Price: Starts at $749 (£749, AU$1,229) 

iPhone XR, XS, XS Max specs


iPhone XS iPhone XS Max iPhone XR
Display size, resolution 5.8-inch Super Retina OLED; 2,436x1,125 pixels 6.5-inch Super Retina OLED; 2,688x1,242 pixels 6.1-inch LCD Retina Display; 1,792x828 pixels
Pixel density 458 ppi 458 ppi 326ppi
Dimensions (Inches) 5.7x2.8x0.3 in 6.2x3.0x.3 in 5.9x3.0x0.33 in
Dimensions (Millimeters) 143.6x70.9x7.7 mm 157.5x77.4x7.7 mm 150.9x75.7x8.3
Weight (Ounces, Grams) 6.24 oz; 177g 7.3oz; 208g 6.8oz; 194g
Mobile software iOS 12 iOS 12 iOS 12
Camera Dual 12-megapixel Dual 12-megapixel Single 12-megapixel
Front-facing camera 7-megapixel with Face ID 7-megapixel with Face ID 7-megapixel with Face ID
Video capture 4K 4K 4K
Processor Apple A12 Bionic Apple A12 Bionic Apple A12 Bionic
Storage 64GB, 256GB, 512GB 64GB, 256GB, 512GB 64GB, 128GB, 256GB
RAM N/A N/A N/A
Expandable storage None None None
Battery N/A, but Apple claims it will last 30 min. longer than iPhone X N/A, but Apple claims it will last 90 min. longer than iPhone X N/A, but Apple claims it will last 90 min. longer than iPhone 8 Plus
Fingerprint sensor None (Face ID) None (Face ID) None (Face ID)
Connector Lightning Lightning Lightning
Headphone jack No No No
Special features Water-resistant (IP68); dual-SIM capabilities (nano-SIM and e-SIM); wireless charging; Face ID, Animoji Water-resistant (IP68); dual-SIM capabilities (nano-SIM and e-SIM); wireless charging; Face ID, Animoji Water-resistant: IP67, dual-SIM capabilities (nano-SIM and e-SIM); wireless charging; Face ID, Animoji
Price off-contract (USD) $999 (64GB), $1,149 (256GB), $1,349 (512GB) $1,099 (64GB), $1,249 (256GB), $1,449 (512GB) $749 (64GB), $799 (128GB), $899 (256GB)

Everything Apple announced at its Sept. 12 event: Our exhaustive coverage of Apple's latest event. 

iPhone XS, XS Max, XR test your willingness to splurge: How much are you really willing to spend on a phone?