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Release Date: Aug 2018
The Apple iPhone XS is the Cupertino tech giant’s latest and greatest smartphone offering, designed to provide just about every conceivable feature you can imagine. The new handset pronounced the iPhone “ten S,” not “excess,” is just as eye-wateringly expensive as the original iPhone X which Apple discontinued towards the end of 2018.
The moniker S used to be reserved for slightly better value handsets, but not this time. The new budget version of the handset is dubbed the XR and should come in at around 40 per cent cheaper than the flagship model.
What’s interesting about the new XS - and perhaps the reason it hasn't had as significant an impact as people expected - is that it doesn't contain many new ground-breaking features. In fact, if you were just given the handset without any commentary, it would be difficult to pick out where the iPhone X ended and where the new phone begins.
Many of the improvements are to be found in the internals of the phone. The hardware in the iPhone X was already pretty fast, and even though the XS should theoretically push the speed up slightly, it's unclear whether the average user will notice much of a difference from the new handset.
There are some more noticeable changes, however. There's a gold version of the phone that will be hitting the stores and other options in both grey and silver. It's clear what Apple is trying to do here. Since the iPhone X, the company hasn't had time (or the will) to change the chassis to make a fundamentally different phone. And so to allow customers to differentiate themselves from their iPhone X-owning brethren, they’ve simply changed the colour of the handset to provide an added level of exclusivity. It’s not the most innovative way to make something appear new and shiny, but it should work for half a generation - or so the company hopes.
The main improvement that the Apple iPhone XS brings is enhanced artificial intelligence and AR abilities. Apple has included what it calls a "neural engine" which is a clever combination of hardware and software designed to learn new environments and improve the performance of the phone as you go about your daily life. The neural engine should learn to capture certain images in the phone's camera while actively working to improve image quality as you’re using it.
This kind of performance, however, doesn't come cheap. Apple has had to use the very latest 7nm chip technology to maximise performance while minimising battery drain. These artificial intelligence features don’t come cheap and must be processed on the device. The company had no choice but to go with the most advanced technology - which no doubt pushed the price up enormously.
Apple wants to push AR gaming, hoping that the XS will become the go-to platform for the next generation of games that will follow Pokemon Go, although it is unclear whether this trend is taking off.
So, in conclusion, the XS is a very similar phone to the X, but with a few added AI and AR features.