New iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max, iPhone XR, Apple Watch 4: All you need to know

Welcome to the 2018 Apple September launch event, where the company delivered the long-awaited (well, since this time last year) details on its new iPhones, the flagship iPhone XS Max, its little buddy the iPhone XS and a mainstream replacement for the iPhone x, the iPhone XR. Plus, the Apple Watch Series 4 goes all-in on health with a built-in ECG and more.

As usual, the Apple Store went down in advance of the new product announcements.

Now that it’s over, our takeway is Apple’s testing your willingness to splurge, and testing our patience waiting for the things we didn’t get.

In addition to its main mobile-device product announcements, Apple updated us on other product lines and how well it’s doing, and more. Tim Cook pwned Twitter with a seemingly mistaken tweet that led into a Mission: Impossible-style intro. Here’s the highlights:

  • All the original Apple TV programming that’s been announced so far. Plus, Apple just signed deals for two movies: They star wolves and elephants.
  • Apple is about to ship its 2 billionth iOS device.
  • The iPhone XS uses recycled tin and bio-based plastics (and more), part of Apple’s clean and renewable energy push.
  • Updates to the HomePod to make it more useful.
  • Price drops on the existing iPhones, with the iPhone 7 starting at $449.
  • You’ll be able to update to iOS 12 on Sept. 17 and MacOS Mojave on Sept. 24. (Is your device upgradeable to iOS 12?)

iPhone XS and XS Max

This is the big news that fans have been eagerly awaiting, prompting a leak- and speculation-fest in the months leading up to the big announcement. Wait no more.

  • The iPhone XS Max is bigger than the Note 9, and both it and the iPhone XS get a makeover inside and out.
  • Think the iPhone XS and XS Max prices are high? Well, they are. But check these out, too.
  • The new Core ML engine for game speed was highlighted in the mobile version of Elder Scrolls: Blades and Galaga.
  • They incorporate the industry’s first 7nm CPU, the new A12 Bionic.
  • New cameras supplemented with AI-enhanced capabilities such as Smart HDR and facial feature detection (“facial landmarking”).
  • They boast better battery life.
  • Both support dual SIMs (here’s why you want them) with an eSIM and a physical nanoSIM.
  • iPhone XS starts at $999, the iPhone XS Max starts at $1,099. Both are shipping on Sept. 21.
  • How do their specs compare to other flagships?
  • But oy, those iPhone names.

iPhone XR

Because not everyone can afford the flagships, there’s the more affordable iPhone XR. It has an LCD-based, 6.1-inch “Liquid Retina” display.

  • It’s bigger and cheaper than the iPhone X.
  • It too incorporates the A12 Bionic chip, the same (single) wide-angle camera as the XS models, and the same AI-driven camera features.
  • Six finishes, four capacities, starts at $749. Preorders start Oct. 19 and it ships Oct. 26.
  • Say goodbye to the iPhone SE, iPhone 6S and iPhone 6S Plus. Which also means saying goodbye to iPhones with headphone jacks.
  •  Here’s how the iPhone upgrade program works.
  •  The new iPhone prices compared.

Apple Watch Series 4

Thanks to its new zero-bezel design and having replaced the button with haptic touch regions, the new series of the Apple Watch increases its face size to 40mm and 44mm.

  • The Apple Watch Series 4 is “an intelligent guardian for your health.”
  • When you’ll be able to get Watch OS 5 for your current model.
  • It now has an FDA-cleared built-in electrocardiogram (ECG or EKG), fall detectionwith emergency calls and more.
  • Preorders start on Friday, Sept. 14, it ships Sept. 21, and prices start at $400 for the new models.
  • Wave goodbye to the Watch Series 1, though the Series 3 gets cheaper.