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Apple iPhone Xs release date: Apple's iPhone Xs and Xs Max are out now

Matt Breen Christopher Minasians
21 Sep 2018
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Apple greatest ever iPhones – the Xs and Xs Max - are available to purchase now

Apple has finally unveiled its 2018 flagship handsets: the iPhone Xs and iPhone Xs Max. These phones are not only faster (as you'd expect) but also have a lot of new features.

As of 21 September, the two handsets are available to purchase at your leisure. Beat the inevitable high street queues by ordering one online here.

Here's everything else you need to know about the new 5.8in and 6.5in iPhones, including the UK price, release date and, of course, the specifications. We've also rounded up the best contract deals out there right now.

READ NEXT: The best smartphones you can buy today

Apple iPhone Xs vs Xs Max

So what's the difference between the two phones? Well, much as between the Samsung Galaxy S9 and the S9 Plus, the two phones are very similar, with the most obvious difference being the screen size and resolution. 

The regular iPhone Xs has a display size of 5.8in and runs at a "Super Retina" resolution of 2,436 x 1,125. The biggest Xs has, you guessed it, a bigger display of 6.5in with a 2,688 x 1,242 resolution. Both phones have a pixel density 458ppi (pixels per inch).

The Xs Max also features a larger battery than the Xs. As usual, Apple is staying tight-lipped on the actual size of the battery, so we'll have to put them through their paces before we can properly compare the two.

READ NEXT: Best phone battery life 

Apple iPhone Xs: Everything you need to know

Apple iPhone Xs release date: When will it launch in the UK?

As of 21 September, Apple’s new flagships are available to purchase.

This follows the same pattern as last year's iPhone 8 and 8 Plus, which launched on 22 September 2017, with the super-fancy iPhone X launched shortly after, in November. The release date shouldn't come as a surprise any more.

You can find the phones on Apple's website and in the UK on contract at O2EEVodafone iPhone Xs and Vodafone Xs Max, Carphone Warehouse and Sky Mobile.

Apple iPhone Xs price: How much will it cost?

The original iPhone X didn't sell in the numbers Apple hoped it would – but the higher price of £999 meant overall revenues were higher. As a result, it shouldn't come as a surprise that the latest Xs start at £999 and £1,099, respectively. That's for the 64GB model, prices for the 256GB are £1,149, and the 512GB is £1,349.

The Xs Max is more expensive: 64GB for £1,099, 256GB for £1,249, and the 512GB costs a massive £1,449.

Buy now from Apple

By comparison, Apple's biggest rival, Samsung has the top-spec, 512GB Galaxy Note 9 at £1,099 – tough competition.

Apple iPhone Xs design: What does it look like?

Picture, if you will, last year’s iPhone X. Got it? Well, the iPhone Xs looks practically identical.

On the exterior, the new iPhone looks identical to last year's iPhone X. This means that all-metal body has made a return, complete with notched 5.8in and 6.5in edge-to-edge screens, chamfered edges and softly rounded corners. Both the Xs and Xs Max also feature a similar protruding dual-camera arrangement as last year’s top-end phone.

The iPhone Xs is also available in 'Gold', with 'Silver' and 'Space Grey' colourways back, too. Apple isn’t a company known for changing its phone aesthetics with each annual upgrade, as I’m sure you’re aware, but we suspect many will be disappointed with lack of design changes.

Apple iPhone Xs specifications: What’s inside?

The two phones have the same internals, though, as mentioned above they come in different sizes (5.8in and 6.5in) and at different resolutions, too.

Now onto the specs – we've broken it down in the table below:

  • Processor: 6-core 64-bit A12 Bionic, with an 8-core Neural Engine
  • Display: 2,436 x 1,125 Super Retina display
  • Waterproofing: IP68. Waterproof at a depth of 2m for 30mins
  • Audio: Lightning jack. No 3.5mm jack, and external stereo speakers
  • Rear camera: Dual-lens f/1.8, 12-megapixel wide angle and f/2.4, 12-megapixel telephoto lens. Smart HDR. Adjustable post-processing aperture
  • Selfie camera: f/2.2, 7-megapixel RGB sensor. Bokeh mode.
  • Storage options: 64GB/256GB/512GB
  • Connectivity: Dual eSIM with DSDS, Gigabit LTE
  • Biometric security: Face ID

The all-new 7nm A12 Bionic has a six-core processor: two are high-performance cores that deliver 15% more power, while the rest of the four cores are 'high-efficiency' cores. The latter result in better battery life in non-intensive tasks.

But, that's not it, the A12 Bionic has a quad-core GPU, which Apple claims to be 50% faster than last year's A11 Bionic. Finally, the chip has an octa-core Neural Engine chip that brings everything together.

We're also seeing a return of that colour-accurate Super Retina display we saw on last year's iPhone X. It's an OLED display, too.

The OLED display covers a wide colour gamut, which makes colours pop when watching movies. And, with HDR10 and Dolby Vision supported natively, you'll get the most out of movies and shows that support it. Better still, the display has True Tone and a Tap to Wake function, too.

Of course, 3D Touch is back – so you can long-press on apps or pictures to interact with them. Unlike a few phones on the market, there's still no sign of a fingerprint reader – instead, Apple has stuck to its guns with Face ID, only. This year, the company has improved the speed and accuracy, claiming it's now faster to unlock your iPhone than ever before.

In the same light, Apple hasn't brought back the 3.5mm headphone jack, which was to be expected. You'll need to plug into the Lightning port. However, the external speakers have been improved – there are now two speakers, one at the top and one at the bottom, creating a stereo sound.

There are dual rear-facing cameras. A f/1.8 12-megapixel wide angle lens and a 12-megapixel telephoto lens that has an aperture of f/2.4. The cameras capture more detail than before – it can take Smart HDR photos, which is better than any iPhone has in the past.

As for battery life, expect around 30 minutes more than last year's iPhone X with the Xs, and 1hr 30mins extra with the Xs Max.

Buy now from Apple

Apple has also, for the first time, included an eSIM in its Xs and Xs Max – ditching the traditional SIM tray. Unless you're in China that is – as you'll still have the physical SIM tray at your disposal. Best of all, the new iPhone has the capability of accepting two SIM numbers. Brilliant for travellers.

Finally, onto storage, the Xs and Xs Max are available in 64GB, 256GB and 512GB configurations. That's more space than we've ever had before on an iPhone.

The best Apple iPhone Xs deals

  • O2 - 50GB data, £30 upfront, £63.50/mth for 36 months, total cost £1128 - Get it here
  • EE - 100GB data, £10 upfront, £83/mth for 24 months, total cost £2,002 - Get it here
  • Carphone Warehouse - With iD: £250 upfront, £40/mth for 24 months, total cost £1210 - Get it here
  • Three - Unlimited data, £79 upfront, £52/mth for 24 months, total cost £1,328 - Get it here
  • Mobiles.co.uk - With O2: 30GB data, £275 upfront, £46/mth for 24 months, total cost £1379 - Get it here 
  • Sky Mobile (data plan sold separately) - £0 upfront, £37/mth for 30 months, total cost £1,110 - Get it here

The best Apple iPhone Xs Max deals

  • O2 - 50GB data, £30 upfront, £66.50/mth for 36 months, total cost £1236 - Get it here
  • EE - 100GB data, £10 upfront, £88/mth for 24 months, total cost £2,122 - Get it here
  • Carphone Warehouse - With O2: Unlimited data, £200 upfront, £65/mth for 24 months, total cost £1,760 - Get it here
  • Three - Unlimited data, £99 upfront, £64/mth for 24 months, total cost £1,760 - Get it here
  • Mobiles.co.uk - With O2: 25GB data, £10 upfront, £75/mth for 24 months, total cost £1,809 - Get it here
  • Sky Mobile (data plan sold separately) - £0 upfront, £41/mth for 30 months, total cost £1,110 - Get it here

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