Apple Releases the iPhone Xs, Xs Max, and XR: Camera Improvements and More

Apple Releases the iPhone Xs, Xs Max, and XR: Camera Improvements and More

It's iPhone day! Here's what you need to know about the three new phones Apple released today.

iPhone Xs and Xs Max

The iPhone Xs and Xs Max are Apple's updates to their flagship model, featuring 5.8-inch and 6.5-inch Super Retina displays (respectively). They feature a bevy of new features and improvements:

  • 5.8-inch and 6.5-inch displays feature the highest pixel density of any Apple device
  • iPhone Xs: 2,436‑by-1,125‑pixel resolution at 458 ppi
  • iPhone Xs Max: 2,688‑by-1,242‑pixel resolution at 458 ppi
  • 1,000,000:1 contrast ratio that shows 60 percent greater dynamic range in HDR photos
  • Custom OLED design with support for Dolby Vision and HDR10
  • iOS system-wide color management for color accuracy
  • A12 7-nanomenter Bionic chip with 8-core Neural Engine with six cores (two performance cores that are up to 15 percent faster and four efficiency cores that are up to 50 percent more efficient)
  • Neural engine allows for realtime machine learning
  • Four-core GPU that's up to 50 percent faster
  • Apple-designed Image Signal Processor
  • Gold, space gray, and silver finishes
  • Smart HDR and dynamic depth of field
  • Bigger battery with up to an hour and a half more battery life in normal usage (iPhone Xs Max) or 30 minutes more usage (iPhone Xs)
  • Wider stereo playback 
  • Improved front and back glass durability with better scratch resistance and faster wireless charging
  • IP68 splash and water resistance (up to 2 meters for 30 minutes and "everyday spills")
  • New camera system includes advanced depth segmentation using Neural Engine, Smart HDR, advanced bokeh quality in Portrait mode, and adjustable depth of field in Photos app
  • 12 MP dual camera system includes 2x optical zoom and dual optical image stabilization (f/1.8 wide, f/2.4 tele)
  • 4K video recording at 24 fps, 30 fps, or 60 fps
  • Larger photo sites (1.4 microns)
  • Improved low-light performance, video stabilization, and extended dynamic range in video modes up to 30 frames per second
  • Up to 63-megapixel panoramas 
  • Four built-in mics for stereo recording 
  • Gigabit-class LTE and Dual SIM (nano-SIM and digital eSIM)
  • Storage: 64 GB, 256 GB, and 512 GB
  • Prices starting at $999 (iPhone Xs) and $1,099 (iPhone Xs Max)

iPhone XR

The iPhone XR is the budget release today and comes with the following specs:

  • Available in red, yellow, white, coral, black, and blue
  • Storage: 64 GB, 128 GB, and 256 GB
  • LCD Retina display
  • 1792-by-828-pixel resolution at 326 ppi
  • 1,400:1 contrast ratio
  • Battery life up to and hour and a half longer than iPhone 8 Plus
  • LTE Advanced and Dual SIM (nano-SIM and digital eSIM)
  • IP68 splash and water resistance (up to 1 meter for 30 minutes)
  • A12 Bionic chip with Neural Engine
  • 12 MP f/1.8 camera with advanced bokeh and depth control
  • Up to 63 MP panoramas
  • 4K video recording at 24 fps, 30 fps, or 60 fps
  • Prices starting at $749

The new iPhones look like some great upgrades with some intriguing features for photographers! What do you think? Will you be buying one? 

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g coll's picture

"4K video recording at 24 fps, 30 fps, or 60 fps" - And some expensive, newly released pro cameras cant even do this.

Grant Watkins's picture

Which pro cameras do you speak of?

g coll's picture

Nikon Z6/7 and the Canon R don't have 4K @ 60fps.

William Faucher's picture

On this phone, it's a TINY sensor. Nobody worth a dime is going to use iphone 4k 60fps footage for any kind of commercial work. Youre comparing apples to oranges.

g coll's picture

Actually I'm not really comparing here and I agree. Just making a point about these camera companies leaving out 4K @ 60p which is what a lot of people are wanting.

revo nevo's picture

It's all about sensor and readout speed. It's easier to do it on that small sensor with that strong cpu and gpu

But video is much more than FPS and resolution.

William Faucher's picture

Exactly. Manufacturers arent just leaving out the 4k 60fps for the lolz. They easily could get it in there, but why bother even having it at all if the bitrate is just going to be garbage anyway. I/O becomes an issue too.

Matt E-D's picture

Steven Soderbergh and Sean Baker may use it for commercial work. But I guess they would be shooting at 24p... Maybe Peter Jackson or James Cameron then. WIth two iPhones for stereo.

Ryan Cooper's picture

So all 3 are huge... Bummer, was hoping for an edge to edge phone the size of the iPhone SE...

Adam Collins's picture


Akpe ododoru's picture

So iphone now starts at £1000 and

Cody Schultz's picture

but its okay! they have a "budget" option for around $750, so there's no need to worry...i suppose they are just taking after leica lmao

michael buehrle's picture

or you can pay probably $40 a month thru your cell service.

Alexander Petrenko's picture

...for 24 months, probably. Which is 960, for sure.

Bryan York's picture

I am waiting to read the camera reviews on it. I need to upgrade from a 5s and have been saving up for awhile. I am ready to step up my iphonetography and waiting to see which is the best one. Hopefully reviews will be in soon!

amanda daniels's picture

Did you watch the launch? The camera on this one is amazing. They showed when you take a picture if you decide after you want more bokeh you can change it after the fact. That was super impressive to me. Watching them demonstrate it was amazing. I have the original X is impressive as well so I am sure this one will be even better. It's always nice to have a great camera on your phone in case I don't have my camera with me

aurèle brémond's picture

"Bigger battery with up to an hour and a half more battery life in normal usage (iPhone Xs Max) or 30 minutes more usage (iPhone Xs)"

I laughed. So hard.

The fact that they advertised it really shows how Iphone battery life sucks !

Nate Reese's picture

Yet they claim A12 is 50% more power efficient ... Still only one day phone ... Not good enough ... It is amusing how they are bullshitting on their presentations. Number one, best, first, 20x better ... I know that most people will eat it without fact checking but still amusing

But it looks like first iPhone to which I'd worth considering to upgrade from iP7, perhaps even from iP8 .. price is way overshot in Europe though

Joshua Kolsky's picture

Not even one sd card slot, what is this garbage.

Matt E-D's picture

Definitely not Pro. Needs at least 2 XQD slots for me to consider it.

Marc Vidal's picture

Waiting for the "I sold my DSLR and my lenses, I bought an iPhone Xs Max and never looked back" article.

Alexander Petrenko's picture

Don’t forget about photographer who shot wedding and magazine cover with a “new iPhone”.

Stas Aleksandersson's picture

..and got hired as an Fstoppers writer.

Spy Black's picture


amanda daniels's picture

Apple release is my Christmas! I have the X now and will be doing my usual of waking up at 2:30am and pre-ordering at 3am Eastern time Always excited for new releases!

Alexander Petrenko's picture

I’d better sleep well. $1000 Apple tax every year is a bit overkill for me.

amanda daniels's picture

Personal choice I guess. Has apple gotten insanely expensive over the years? Absolutely, I won't argue that fact at all. But I am a huge apple lover and always have been. So every year I wait for this event and get the newest phone. Just a personal thing, I always know the event is coming so I always prepare myself. We all choose to spend our money in different ways. Enjoy your sleep tonight :)

Stas Aleksandersson's picture

“It’s the best iPhone we’ve ever created”. Shouldn’t it go without saying??? Would be pretty fucking stupid for me to expect them to say “oh yeah here is the new iPhone, it’s ok, battery life, processor, customer satisfaction, horse shit, horse shit. But that iPhone we introduced two years back was the shit.”
Anyway, I sat through this show and still wonder what the hell is so different in the new iPhone? Faster processor, ok so now I can save my valuable time by opening silly apps 0.09 seconds faster. What else? Better camera so none of my friends would notice any difference by looking at my posts. Anything else? Battery life improved so I still have to charge my phone every night.
Unless they start increasing battery life instead of price I’m not upgrading my 8 plus.

Michael Connor's picture

I think I finally may get an iPhone for the first time.