iPhone XS, XS Max reviews are in and iOS 12 is available for download

Here's a recap of all the iPhone news this week.

Lynn La Senior Editor / Reviews - Phones
Lynn La covers mobile reviews and news. She previously wrote for The Sacramento Bee, Macworld and The Global Post.
Vanessa Hand Orellana CNET Senior Editor
As head of wearables at CNET, Vanessa reviews and writes about the latest smartwatches and fitness trackers. She joined the team seven years ago as an on-camera reporter for CNET's Spanish-language site and then moved on to the English side to host and produce some of CNET's videos and YouTube series. When she's not testing out smartwatches or dropping phones, you can catch her on a hike or trail run with her family.
Lynn La
Vanessa Hand Orellana
5 min read

The iPhone XS Max (left) and XS.


Following the whirlwind of last week's Apple announcements, this week had no shortage of news. iPhone reviews are in (spoiler alert, they're pretty good) and iOS 12 is finally available for download. Lastly, Apple CEO Tim Cook has some interesting math for you in defense of the iPhones' expensive price tags. Read on for all the iPhone news you might have missed this week.

iPhone XS and XS Max reviews are out

The latest generation of iPhones (excluding the iPhone XR, which comes out in October) is now available for purchase. As expected, crowds from around the world lined up at retail stores with hopes to be one of the first people to get their hands on the product.

Watch this: iPhone XS and XS Max madness kicks off

CNET's Scott Stein says that the iPhone XS "adds some impressive camera improvements to the already-great iPhone X," but that you may want to hold off until the cheaper XR comes out to make an informative buying decision. As for the XS Max, it's extremely expensive, but it "crams a 6.5-inch screen and all of the same great features of the iPhone XS into a Plus-sized body." You can also catch Stein's ongoing Apple Watch Series 4 review here.

The iPhone XS in gold is sleek, shiny and smooth

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iOS 12 is smoother and faster

Apple's latest mobile OS, iOS 12, is now available for iPhones from with the iPhone 5S onward (as well as iPad and iPod Touch devices). Some of its notable new features include improvements to Siri, screen-time restrictions and customizable animojis. If you're thinking of downloading the update, here's what you need to know to prepare your iPhone.

19 iOS 12 features you should be using now

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Tim Cook: iPhone costs about '$1 a day'

During an interview with Good Morning America, Apple CEO Tim Cook addressed the sky-high prices of the new iPhones. For reference, the iPhone XS starts at $999, £999 and AU$1,629, while the iPhone XS Max starts at $1,099, £1,099 and AU$1,799 for the 64GB versions.

But to Cook that's not much if you break it down day to day. "The way most people pay for these, as it turns out, is they do a deal with their carrier and they pay so much per month," said Cook. "Even the phone that's priced over $1,000, most people pay about $30 a month for it. So about $1 a day."

Mmm, sure, if you put it that way...

Other Apple news this week:

And here's what you missed last week:

James Martin/CNET

For Apple fans, the announcement of three new iPhone Xs -- the XS, XS Max and XR -- is basically the Super Bowl and the lottery wrapped into one. We'll take you through the ins and outs of Apple's three new iPhone X sequels and everything else announced at the Sept. 12 launch event in a nutshell. Which iPhone XS model was the first to sell out during preorders? And a quick preview of all the new features coming to your iPhone with the iOS 12 release on Monday. Here's a look at what you may have missed in one of the busiest iPhone news weeks of the year.

Three big iPhones and a redesigned Apple Watch

Apple's Sept. 12 event left us with three new iPhones and an Apple Watch to add to the lineup: the iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max , iPhone XR and the Apple Watch Series 4.  

Watch this: iPhone XS, iPhone XR, Apple Watch: A closer look at Apple's new lineup

After much debate about the names, Apple revealed an iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max, the two sequels to the original 10th-anniversary iPhone. As most of the rumors had predicted, these two new models looked much like the previous iPhone X with the addition of a gold color option and an increase in screen size to 6.5 inches on the Max model.

Because it's an S cycle, most of the upgrades were incremental improvements on existing features: better sound quality, better camera sensor, a more powerful A12 Bionic processor, faster FaceID, a dual sim option and a 512GB storage option. The base price of the XS is $999 while the XS Max starts at $1,099.

But the most important handset news of the day was a cheaper version of the iPhone X called the iPhone XR. It has the same basic design as the other phones , but with some key differences. For starters it comes in six different color options: red, blue, yellow, coral, white and black. It also has a 6.1-inch LCD screen with lower pixel density than the other two, an aluminum frame instead of stainless steel and a single rear-facing camera.

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

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But it has the same A12 processor, dual SIM option and even a portrait mode for the camera that uses software to achieve that blurred background effect previously reserved for the dual-camera iPhones. And the best thing about this phone is that it's $250 cheaper than the XS despite having a larger screen.

Apple also announced a redesigned Apple Watch along with the phones. The Series 4 watches have larger screens, a better speaker and microphone, new watchfaces and an electrocardiogram (EKG or ECG) feature that watches over your heart (pun intended).

The iPhone XS Max preorders sell out

Preorders for the iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max and the Apple Watch Series 4 kicked off just after midnight on Sept. 14, giving us an early glimpse at which models are in high demand. The first one to have a shipment delay in the US was the most expensive iPhone XS Max with 512GB of storage (US$1,449) designed for AT&T and Verizon with expected delays of one to two weeks past the initial Sept. 21 arrival date. 

James Martin/CNET

This is still a lot better than years past when certain iPhone models have completely sold out within 10 minutes of preorders. It also doesn't necessarily mean that this was the best-selling model; it often depends on how much inventory they had of each iPhone model in the first place.

Preorders for the iPhone XR are a little later, though. They begin on Oct. 19, with the phone hitting stores on Oct. 26.  

iOS 12 is coming Sept. 17 -- get ready! 

Whether or not you're getting a new iPhone, there will be new features coming to your existing iPhone. The iOS 12 update will be available to download onto your mobile devices starting Sept. 17 so make sure your iPhone is prepped and ready to go.


The biggest thing to look forward to in iOS 12 is an improvement in overall performance across all devices, including older iPhones. We're also getting screentime controls to monitor and set limits on the amount of time you're spending staring at your phone, with screentime allowance for parents. If you have an iPhone X or beyond, you'll also get a new set of Animoji, with a Memoji avatar option that you can customize to look like you (or not). iOS 12 will also bring more augmented-reality features with ARKit 2. This includes multiplayer support in games and a new Measure app that lets you take live measurements by just pointing the camera.