Apple Unveils iPhone XS With Faster Bionic Chip, Improved Facial Recognition

“We’re going to take iPhone X to the next level,” say CEO Tim Cook

Last Updated: September 12, 2018 @ 12:08 PM

Apple unveiled the latest slate of iPhones  — including the biggest and most expensive iPhone in the game-changing device’s 11-year history — on Wednesday at the tech giant’s annual product launch in Cupertino, California.

The iPhone XS, the company’s new top-line smartphone, was championed as the “most advanced” iPhone to date by CEO Tim Cook. The phone comes in two options, the 5.8 inch XS, and the 6.5 inch XS Max, which boasts the biggest iPhone display ever.

“We’re going to take iPhone X to the next level,” Cook said.

The XS and XS Max will come with three storage options — 56 GB, 256 GB and 512 GB. The XS costs $999 for the base 56 GB storage option. The iPhone XS Max takes pricing to the “next level” as well, coming in at $1,099 for the 56 GB option, making it the most expensive iPhone to date. Both devices will be available to order this Friday and will start shipping in several markets, including the U.S., on Sept. 21.

Apple SVP Philip Schiller ran through a slew of new features, including upgraded speakers — “The Foo Fighters sound better than ever” — and improved facial recognition technology, after it was first included on last year’s iPhone X. Schiller also introduced the new A12 bionic chip powering the XS, capable of “5 trillion operations per second” and opening apps 30 percent faster than previous devices, drawing huge applause from Apple fanboys in the crowd.

The iPhone XS includes a “Smart HDR” camera feature, which takes photos with zero lag and combines multiple frames to create the best picture possible, similar to the Google Pixel. Apple is also continuing to bet on augmented reality. Basketball icon Steve Nash came out at one point to highlight “Home Court,” an AR app that tracks a user’s jump shots. More games, including classics like “Galaga,” will also hit Apple’s App Store later in the year.

Phil Schiller on the iPhone XS, XS Max and XR (via Google)

Apple also debuted the $749 iPhone XR later in the event, a mid-level option that is smaller than the iPhone 8, but comes with a bigger 6.1 inch screen. The XR includes the A12 bionic chip and FaceID, but only a single-lens camera, a step down from the XS and XS Max. All three devices jettisoned the once-ubiquitous home button.