Published: Sat, September 15, 2018
Electronics | By Shannon Stone

IPhone Xs and iPhone Xs Max get stronger and smarter

IPhone Xs and iPhone Xs Max get stronger and smarter

Building on the success of last year's iPhone X, Apple has refreshed the handset with the iPhone XS, which takes on the same physical form as its predecessor. One way to do that is to get people to buy more expensive phones.

Apple says that it's allowing access to the Neural Engine through its CoreML API, and it brought forth the developers of HomeCourt, a real-time basketball tutoring app that benefited from the enhancements in the A12's AI accelerator. Though the headphones got off to a slow start, they have quickly helped Apple capture 26% of the US wireless headphone market, according to NPD Group.

But for those clinging to the traditional headphones, well, Apple just threw more dirt onto its proverbial grave.

Wall Street has embraced Apple's evolution from a consumer hardware company into a more-diversified technology giant with an installed base of 1.3 billion devices supporting a growing roster of digital services.

Apple, which is looking for ways to lessen reliance on phones for revenue, opened its event by announcing the new Apple Watch Series 4 range with edge-to-edge displays, like its latest phones, which are more than 30 percent bigger than displays on current models. According to the company, the 64GB variant of the iPhone Xs will cost Rs 99,900, while the price of 64GB iPhone Xs Max is Rs 1,09,990.

Apple also went bigger into health care with Apple Watch. And these are the people Apple must reach to continue its phenomenal success with iPhones. You still get the dual-camera setup on the back, but with larger sensors, and a new Smart HDR feature that should make photography much easier. Time will tell, of course. You'll also get 90 minutes longer, Apple claims, on the XR compared to the 8 Plus. They've also extended the workout time for battery life to 6-hours. So better, but not life-altering.

That wasn't all, though - towards the end of the event, Apple revealed that it had one last trick up its sleeve: the iPhone XR, the company's newest budget smartphone offering.

The watch can also detect if you fall, using the device's built-in accelerometer and gyroscope, and send you an alert. Other products are going to be a big part of this week's story for Apple. For securing your smartphone, the XR comes with Face ID, similar to the one found on the XS and XS Max. But no more so than the Galaxy Note9.

Further, Do Not Disturb's new "bedtime" feature will ensure no Candy Crush notifications wake you up, while support for grouped notifications will reduce the amount of time you're distracted by pop-ups. In the US, that second SIM won't be a physical SIM but rather what's known as an eSIM, which requires carrier support. After all, it was Apple's decision to make the change, so it makes sense that the company would provide the necessary equipment so that customers could continue to use their old headphones.

The camera also benefits from the new power of the A12 Bionic processor, improved sensors, and improved image signal processor. Best of all, it starts at only $750.

I'll have more to say on all the new iPhones and the Series 4 Watch once I've had a chance to put them through the ringer.

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