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5-min read

iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max May Be S Generation, But Are More Than Incremental Updates

The largest ever iPhone, the first phones with a 7 nanometer chip and the eSIM capabilities make the two new iPhones more than what the S generation labelling would have you believe.

Vishal Mathur | News18.com@vishalmathur85

Updated:September 13, 2018, 1:18 PM IST
iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max May Be S Generation, But Are More Than Incremental Updates
The iPhone XS will now support the Dolby Vision and HDR10 dynamic range standards (News18)

As expected, the successor to the iPhone X is well and truly here. It is called the iPhone XS. The good old S generation which over the years have arrived every alternate year. As a cycle. With the same assuring of day after night. However, this time around, things aren’t routine.

This isn’t the incremental update platter being served here. The iPhone XS comes with another sibling in tow. And even more muscular and more intimidating iPhone XS Max. The Plus moniker has been done away with, and what we have instead is a Max series now.

The iPhone XS retains the same screen size as the iPhone X, which means a 5.8-inch OLED display. However, it is now what Apple is calling the Super Retina Display. What this means is the screen is considerably different from the already excellent display on the iPhone X.

The iPhone XS’s display will have as much as 60 percent more dynamic range, which means it’ll be able to separate and display even more finer colours—great news for photo editing. The contrast ratio has been improved as well, which means blacks will be darker and that makes all other colors look better in the process.

The iPhone XS will now support the Dolby Vision and HDR10 dynamic range standards, and that means once Netflix and Amazon Video apps get updated, they will support these pieces of HDR content on their platform. All these changes will combine into what is a richer display overall. At first glance, it is hard to make out the changes, but as we dive deeper into watching media or editing photos, the improvements will certainly become more apparent.

The larger iPhone XS Max gets a 6.5-inch OLED display, with all the features that the iPhone XS has. When we hold up the iPhone X Max for the first time, it was with an expectation that it’ll be massive, and perhaps even err on the side of being unergonomic. However, it immediately reminded us of the iPhone 8 Plus, and the iPhone 7 Plus before that. It is pretty much the same footprint as the Plus phones from the previous years, and the new design language and the minimal bezels around the screen mean that Apple has been able to use that space well to offer even more display real estate. Games look gorgeous on this screen, though it’ll also be ideal if you tend to work a lot on your phone—such as editing documents, working on spreadsheets or editing a lot of photos.

While Apple claims that the two new iPhones have an even better glass layer at the front and back, it didn’t feel any different (read heavier; translate to very good) at all, though its robustness will perhaps be better tested when we use these phones in detail as they will then scrape regularly against keys and pens in the pocket, be put on wood and marble tables, wriggle about in the little door compartment inside the car and more.

On the inside is the even more powerful A12 Bionic chip. This is the first 7-nanometer architecture chip in a smartphone. It is 15 percent faster than the excellent A11 Bionic, consumes about 40 percent lesser battery in certain usage scenarios and the graphics performance is up to 50 percent faster as well. The biggest boost is perhaps reserved for the neural engine for artificial intelligence algorithms. The iPhone XS and the iPhone XS Max can perform as many as 5 trillion computational operations per second, which also benefits the face ID feature as it will become quicker. The A11 Bionic chip could do 600 billion computations per second, and we thought all along that it was fast.

Both phones get updated dual cameras, which are both still 12 megapixel each. The new image signal processor will work with the neural engine to do facial detection and implementing tweaks depending on the frame. Apple claims it can do a trillion operations in every photo. The performance is something we will only know about when we experience them in detail, but chances are that the already great cameras will now become even better.

Apple has added a Smart HDR feature, which will take multiple images of the same frame in the background, at different exposures, and merge them together in the final image to give better detailing of moving subjects, imperfect lighting or a more accurate representation of a complex frame.

Just the new hardware isn’t all with the iPhone XS and the iPhone XS Max. These are the first iPhones with dual SIM capabilities. However, this dual-SIM feature doesn’t work as you perhaps expect it to. Unlike any dual-SIM phone you may have seen thus far, the new iPhones will not accept two physical SIM cards. Yes, your primary mobile connection will be a SIM card, but the provision for the second SIM in the phone is what is known as an eSIM. Apple calls it DSDS which is dual sim dual standby tech. It works on the eSIM technology. This means that like iPads being sold in the US, for instance, or the Apple Watch LTE variant sold in many countries, you’ll sign up for a service with your cellular operator who will provision the account virtually on your iPhone.

At present, Reliance Jio and Airtel will be supporting the eSIM feature for the new iPhones, though details are still sketchy on how to sign up or how to shift an already active connection to eSIM. Perhaps the complication will be deciphered in the coming days, as we get closer to the iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max launch in India.

Incidentally, the iPhone XS and the iPhone XS variants for the Chinese market will have the ability to have two physical SIM cards—the tray will accept a physical SIM card each on either side. This is because of regulations in China which do not allow for virtually managed cellular connections.

The iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max arrive in India later this month, September 28, with prices starting Rs 99,900 for the iPhone XS and Rs 1,09,900 for the iPhone XS Max. The price tags will again come under criticism from critics, and expectedly so, considering Apple would have also factored in the currency variations between the Indian rupee and the US dollar.

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