Mobility

iPhone XS: A cheat sheet for professionals

Apple released the iPhone XS, its latest flagship iPhone, in September 2018. Here are the most important details that professionals need to know about the iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max, and iPhone XR.

Historically, September is one of the biggest months of the year for Apple—it's when the tech giant releases its latest iPhone models. At its September 12, 2018 iPhone launch event in Cupertino, CA, Apple released its latest flagship—the OLED iPhone XS (in 5.8 inch and 6.5 inch models)—along with the LCD iPhone XR and the Apple Watch Series 4.

To help CXOs, IT leaders, and other business professionals understand Apple's iPhone XS, we've put together the most important details and resources in this cheat sheet. This is a "living" article that will be updated and refreshed as new, relevant information becomes public.

SEE: Mobile device computing policy (Tech Pro Research)

What is the iPhone XS?

The iPhone XS is Apple's newest flagship smartphone. The device comes in two form factors—the iPhone XS has a 5.8-inch organic light-emitting diode (OLED) screen, and the iPhone XS Max has a 6.5-inch OLED screen. The devices are available in gold, silver, and space gray, and are wrapped in surgical-grade stainless steel bands.

Both devices have a top-to-bottom, edge-to-edge display made with a new formulation of glass. It is the most durable glass ever used in a smartphone, according to Apple senior vice president Philip Schiller. The iPhone XS's 5.8-inch super retina display has 458 ppi and 60% greater dynamic range for colors than the iPhone X, Schiller said. The 6.5-inch super retina display on the iPhone XS Max is the largest display ever on iPhone.

Both form factors of the iPhone XS feature stereo sound with a wider stereo field. They are also IP68 rated for dust and water, making them more water-resistant and durable than previous models.

SEE: All of TechRepublic's cheat sheets and smart person's guides

The iPhone XS series is powered by the A12 Bionic chip, the first 7 nanometer chip in the industry, which is packed with 6.9 billion transistors. It features a six-core CPU made up of two high-performance cores and four efficiency cores, a four-core GPU, and a Neural Engine. It also has a smart compute system that can decide whether to run a process on the CPU, GPU, or Neural Engine.

The A12 can run up to 5 trillion operations per second, and supports up to 512GB of storage.

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Who is the target audience for the iPhone XS?

While Apple fans and power users will likely swoon over the new iPhone XS series, it will also be appealing to business professionals. Leveraging the faster processor, longer battery life, and new version of iOS, the iPhone XS aims to be a powerhouse device for getting work done on the go.

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How different is the iPhone XS from the iPhone X?

Apple's S series typically marks a slight performance improvement over the series it precedes. The A12 processor, however, brings a serious bump in performance over the iPhone X and sets the benchmark for future iPhones.

The smaller of the two iPhone XS models has the same screen size as the original iPhone X (5.8 inches), but the 6.5-inch model is the largest iPhone screen ever produced.

The iPhone XS series is available in gold, which the iPhone X wasn't, and features dual-SIM capabilities, which are very helpful for international business travelers. This is powered by Apple's Dual SIM Dual Standby (DSDS) system, and is supported by many top carriers like AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile, and more. iPhone XS and XS Max will each have one physical SIM card and an eSIM to power the dual SIM features. In China, these dual-SIM iPhone models will have two physical SIM cards, since eSIM is not allowed.

With the launch of the iPhone XS series, Apple has discontinued the original iPhone X and the iPhone SE. However, the iPhone 8 and iPhone 7 are both still available for purchase on Apple's website.

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What features come with the iPhone XS camera?

The rear-facing camera on the iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max is a dual-camera setup with one 12MP wide camera and one 12MP telephoto camera. The wide camera features a larger sensor with bigger, deeper pixels and an f1.8 aperture. The telephoto camera has improved True Tone flash and a f2.4 aperture. The rear camera system features dual optical image stabilization and can shoot 4K video at 60 FPS.

The iPhone XS series features a 7MP TrueDepth front-facing camera with f2.2 aperture as well.

SEE: 4 secrets: How to take professional photos with your smartphone (TechRepublic)

While the hardware camera specs are very similar to the iPhone X (virtually identical), the software for taking photos greatly improved. The image signal processor (ISP) connects to the Neural Engine in the A12 chip to better detect objects in images, do facial landmarking, and read landscapes. This is similar to what is possible in the Samsung Galaxy Note 9. The camera software can perform 1 trillion operations on every photo taken.

The iPhone XS series also has Smart HDR, with zero shutter lag—it shoots a four frame buffer with secondary interframes in a different exposure to better capture moving subjects. Apple has also has improved Portrait Mode with better bokeh (background blur). Users can adjust the depth-of-field with a new slider in the Photos app after the photo has been taken using a new feature called Depth Control.

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What are the storage capabilities of the iPhone XS?

The iPhone XS and the iPhone XS Max are available with a choice of 64GB, 256GB, or 512GB of storage.

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What is the battery size of the iPhone XS?

The iPhone XS offers 30 minutes longer battery life than the original iPhone X. The iPhone XS Max will last a full 1.5 hours longer than the iPhone X. They both can be charged wirelessly—or with a USB-C charger—and support the use of Qi chargers.

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What security platform comes with the iPhone XS?

Just like the iPhone X, the iPhone XS will feature the Secure Enclave hardware-based key manager and Face ID biometric authentication, which is enabled by the TrueDepth camera. However, Face ID now features faster algorithms and runs on a faster version of the Secure Enclave. At the September 2018 event, Schiller said it's the "Most secure facial authentication ever in a smartphone."

SEE: Cybersecurity in an IoT and mobile world (ZDNet special report) | Download the report as a PDF (TechRepublic)

What are the color options for the iPhone XS?

The iPhone XS will be offered in space gray, silver, and gold.

SEE: The iPhone's 21 most important apps of the decade (TechRepublic)

When and where can I buy the iPhone XS?

The Phone XS and the iPhone XS Max will be available for preorder on September 14, 2018 and will ship on September 21, 2018. Those interested will be able to buy an iPhone XS through their carrier (AT&T, Spring, Verizon, and T-Mobile are listed on Apple's website), at an Apple retail location, through Apple's online store, or through a variety of third-party retailers including Best Buy and more.

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What does the iPhone XS cost?

Both models of the iPhone XS carry a steep price tag.

The iPhone XS costs $999 for the 64GB model, $1,149 for the 256GB model, and$1,349 for the 512GB model.

The iPhone XS Max costs $1,099 for the 64GB model, $1,249 for the 256GB model, and$1,449 for the 512GB model.

SEE: The iPhone with a laptop price tag: Will Apple's iPhone XS Max convince business pros to upgrade? (TechRepublic)

What are the specifications of the iPhone XS?

  • Finish: Gold, space gray, or silver
  • Capacity: 62GB, 256GB, or 512GB
  • Weight: 6.24 ounces (XS), or 7.34 ounces (XS Max)
  • Display: 5.8" Super Retina HD display (XS), or 56.5" Super Retina HD display (XS Mac)
  • Water and dust resistance: IP68
  • Chip: A12 Bionic chip with Neural Engine
  • Rear camera: Dual 12MP wide-angle and telephoto cameras
  • Front camera: 7MP TrueDepth camera
  • Security: Secure Enclave and Face ID
  • Carriers: Spint, Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile
  • Cellular/wireless: Gigabit-class LTE with 4x4 MIMO, 802.11ac Wi‑Fi, Bluetooth 5.0 , NFC
  • Battery: Built-in rechargeable lithium-ion battery with wireless charging
  • Operating system: iOS 12
  • Headphones: EarPods with Lightning Connector
  • SIM: Dual SIM (nano-SIM and eSIM)

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What is the iPhone XR?

The iPhone XR is a cheaper iPhone that features a 6.1-inch LCD display (as opposed to the OLED display in the XS series), which Apple calls its Liquid Retina Display. This LCD screen features 325 ppi.

It has the same 12MP wide camera as the iPhone XS (no telephoto camera), the same TrueDepth front-facing camera system, and can do Portrait Mode with bokeh. Users can expect an hour and a half more battery life than the iPhone 8 Plus.

For storage, the iPhone XR is available in 64GB, 128GB, and 256GB options. It starts at $749 and comes in black, white, red, yellow, coral, and blue. Preorders open on October 19, 2018, and the devices will ship on October 26, 2018.

SEE: iPhone XS vs. iPhone XS Max vs. iPhone XR: What's the difference? (CNET)

How can I trade in my current iPhone for an iPhone XS or iPhone XR?

In addition to selling your old iPhone or getting a quote from Gazelle, there are a few trade-in options. Apple offers an iPhone Upgrade Program for trading toward a new model, and wireless carriers often offer upgrade incentives as well.

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Image: Apple

About Conner Forrest

Conner Forrest is a Senior Editor for TechRepublic. He covers enterprise technology and is interested in the convergence of tech and culture.

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