Meet the Newest Generation of the iPhone Family: iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max & iPhone XR

The wait is finally over. After months of rumors and speculation, Apple has revealed the newest iPhone models shipping later this year; and oh boy, we can't wait to see them in person. Apple confirmed some of our hopes (and fulfilled a few wishes I didn't know I had). Read on to learn the specs, pricing, pre-order and shipping dates, and coolest features of the three newest members of the iPhone family.

Today’s iPhone announcement was ex-cessive, and the changes are huge. Apple revealed the three new models of the iPhone: iPhone XS, iPhone XR, and the iPhone XS Max. Both the XS and the XS Max, beginning at $999 and $1099 respectively, will be available for pre-order at midnight on September 14. The XR, starting at $749, won’t be available for pre-order until October 19. It will be available in stores a week later on October 26. Whether you’re ordering an XS this month or waiting on the XR, all of these new iPhones are serious upgrades from the previous generation. From a full camera overhaul to the A12 bionic chip, this next generation of the iPhone is sure to please.

What’s New?

The easiest way to look at the new features is to compare each model. There’s a lot of overlap here, but the smallest differences are key to understanding the price point differences for each model. For the XS models, the main difference between the two is the screen size. The differences in the XR are more robust, but across the board, all three models are definite upgrades compared to the previous generation.

iPhone Life
Discover your iPhone's hidden features
Get a daily tip (with screenshots and clear instructions) so you can master your iPhone in just one minute a day.

iPhone XS

  • 5.8” OLED
  • 2436‑by-1125‑pixel resolution at 458 ppi

iPhone XS Max

  • 6.5” OLED
  • 2436‑by-1125‑pixel resolution at 458 ppi

Both XS and XS Max:

  • Super Retina HD display
  • HDR Display
  • 3D Touch
  • Dual SIM
  • Wireless and USB charging
  • Dual front and rear-facing cameras
  • A12 Bionic Chip
  • Durability: IP68 rating. Water resistant to a maximum depth of 2 meters of water for 30 minutes
  • Storage: 64GB, 256GB, or 512GB
  • Colors: Gold, Space Gray, or Silver

iPhone XR

  • 6.1” LCD
  • Liquid Retina HD Display
  • Multi-Touch
  • Dual SIM
  • Wireless and USB charging
  • Dual front-facing cameras and a single rear-facing camera
  • A12 Bionic Chip
  • Durability: IP67 rating. Water resistant to a maximum depth of 1 meter of water for up to 30 minutes
  • Storage: 64 GB, 128 GB, or 256 GB
  • Colors: Red, Yellow, White, Coral Black, or Blue

Which Model Should I Get?

When we compare the models, it’s easy to see that the biggest differences will be with the cheaper XR model. In addition to shipping later in the year, this model has an LCD screen (as opposed to OLED), caps out at 256 GB of storage, and has a single rear-facing camera. What does that mean for the XR’s capabilities compared to the XS and the XS Max?

The LCD screen of the XR is less shatter resistant than an OLED screen (but still has improved shatter resistance over earlier models of the iPhone). The main reason the XR is shipping later, according to pre-announcement rumors, is that Apple had some trouble perfecting the edge-to-edge features of the XR. Presumably, those problems are worked out now, but have led to an understandable delay in manufacturing. Personally, I think the XR will be worth the wait.

All three of the models, including the XR, have the most critical upgrade in terms of performance; the A12 Bionic Chip. The enhanced CPU and GPU capabilities that come with this tiny chip will make big changes. We're looking forward to improved battery life, graphics, and speed. And even as a smaller screen, the 6.1” XR is still larger than the iPhone X.

The biggest difference in the display will be that while the XS and XS Max will have 3D touch, the XR is stepping back to Multi-Touch. This means that the gestures won’t be universal, so that might make troubleshooting a bit trickier if you opt for the XR.

In addition to the LCD display, the XR will have a single rear-facing camera. The smaller case of the XR meant Apple had to pick between either a dual front-facing or dual rear-facing camera. After hearing that iPhone 7 Plus users missed having the Portrait option for selfie-mode, Apple opted to make that feature available in all three models this generation. But a single rear-facing camera doesn't mean you’re losing much; the XR still supports Smart HDR, although the results will be more impressive on the XS and XS Max. But even on the XR, all your pictures will come out looking clear, crisp, and professional when compared to previous generations.

So which model iPhone will you pick? For my money, I’m going with the XR. With all these fantastic upgrades it can be hard to choose, but whether you’re going for the robust memory and OLED screens of the XS and XS Max or the economical LCD screen of the XR, you’re sure to love your new iPhone. And you can bet that we’ll be here to answer all the questions that crop up along the way!

Master your iPhone in one minute a day: Sign up here to get our FREE Tip of the Day delivered right to your inbox.


Author Details

Tamlin Day's picture

Author Details

Tamlin Day

Tamlin Day is a feature web writer for iPhone Life and a regular contributor to iPhone Life magazine. A prolific writer of tips, reviews, and in-depth guides, Tamlin has written hundreds of articles for iPhone Life. From iPhone settings to recommendations for the best iPhone-compatible gear to the latest Apple news, Tamlin's expertise covers a broad spectrum. 

Before joining iPhone Life, Tamlin received his BFA in Media & Communications as well as a BA in Graphic Design from Maharishi International University (MIU), where he edited MIU's literary journal, Meta-fore. With a passion for teaching, Tamlin has instructed young adults, college students, and adult learners on topics ranging from spoken word poetry to taking the perfect group selfie. Tamlin's first computer, a Radioshack Color Computer III, was given to him by his father. At 13, Tamlin built his first PC from spare parts. He is proud to put his passion for teaching and tech into practice as a writer and educator at iPhone Life.