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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.

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Jessica Dolcourt Senior Director, Commerce & Content Operations
Jessica Dolcourt is a passionate content strategist and veteran leader of CNET coverage. As Senior Director of Commerce & Content Operations, she leads a number of teams, including Commerce, How-To and Performance Optimization. Her CNET career began in 2006, testing desktop and mobile software for Download.com and CNET, including the first iPhone and Android apps and operating systems. She continued to review, report on and write a wide range of commentary and analysis on all things phones, with an emphasis on iPhone and Samsung. Jessica was one of the first people in the world to test, review and report on foldable phones and 5G wireless speeds. Jessica began leading CNET's How-To section for tips and FAQs in 2019, guiding coverage of topics ranging from personal finance to phones and home. She holds an MA with Distinction from the University of Warwick (UK).
Expertise Content strategy, team leadership, audience engagement, iPhone, Samsung, Android, iOS, tips and FAQs.
Jessica Dolcourt
4 min read
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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.

iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max, iPhone XR: See Apple's biggest phones ever

See all photos

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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Watch this: Apple iPhone 2018 event: Editors react

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.

New iPhone XR, XS, XS Max starting prices


iPhone XRiPhone XSiPhone 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)
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Watch this: Apple iPhone XR: Cheapest new iPhone priced at $749

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) 

Apple event photos: New iPhones and more

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iPhone XR, XS, XS Max specs


iPhone XSiPhone XS MaxiPhone XR
Display size, resolution 5.8-inch Super Retina OLED; 2,436x1,125 pixels6.5-inch Super Retina OLED; 2,688x1,242 pixels6.1-inch LCD Retina Display; 1,792x828 pixels
Pixel density 458 ppi458 ppi326ppi
Dimensions (Inches) 5.7x2.8x0.3 in6.2x3.0x.3 in5.9x3.0x0.33 in
Dimensions (Millimeters) 143.6x70.9x7.7 mm157.5x77.4x7.7 mm150.9x75.7x8.3
Weight (Ounces, Grams) 6.24 oz; 177g7.3oz; 208g6.8oz; 194g
Mobile software iOS 12iOS 12iOS 12
Camera Dual 12-megapixelDual 12-megapixelSingle 12-megapixel
Front-facing camera 7-megapixel with Face ID7-megapixel with Face ID7-megapixel with Face ID
Video capture 4K4K4K
Processor Apple A12 BionicApple A12 BionicApple A12 Bionic
Storage 64GB, 256GB, 512GB64GB, 256GB, 512GB64GB, 128GB, 256GB
RAM N/AN/AN/A
Expandable storage NoneNoneNone
Battery N/A, but Apple claims it will last 30 min. longer than iPhone XN/A, but Apple claims it will last 90 min. longer than iPhone XN/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 LightningLightningLightning
Headphone jack NoNoNo
Special features Water-resistant (IP68); dual-SIM capabilities (nano-SIM and e-SIM); wireless charging; Face ID, AnimojiWater-resistant (IP68); dual-SIM capabilities (nano-SIM and e-SIM); wireless charging; Face ID, AnimojiWater-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?