Apple has announced its next generation of iPhones, and one of them is by far the biggest iPhone yet. The two new models are called the iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max. They look almost identical to their predecessor, but there are two immediate differences: for one, they’re both available in gold, unlike last year; and more importantly, the XS Max is huge. It’s not just the biggest iPhone ever, it’s one of the biggest phones out there, period.
As with other -S years, this year’s iPhones are mostly defined by spec upgrades. That includes a better display, with HDR10 and Dolby Vision support, wider stereo sound from the speakers, and speed increases to Face ID. Water resistance has also been improved on both models. The processor is getting a big boost as well, up to Apple’s new A12 Bionic chip, a six-core chip that’s among the first in the industry to use a 7nm process. Tim Cook called them “by far the most advanced iPhone we have ever created.”
But the real news this year is the introduction of the “Max” model, which has a huge 6.5-inch screen. That’s far bigger than the iPhone 8 Plus (5.5 inches) and bigger even than the Galaxy Note 9 (6.4 inches). It’s not as though Apple is jumping into unprecedented territory here, but it is leaping into a size class that, even in a world of large phones, is still considered fairly large. It’s an admission that large phones will continue to rule. And while it may have taken Apple a bit too long to catch on in years past, it’s happily jumping into the six-plus-inch fray as phones get ever larger.
Because the iPhone XS and XS Max have a wider screen ratio than the traditional iPhone, neither phone will be quite as big as it sounds. The iPhone XS, for instance, which has the same 5.8-inch screen size as the iPhone X, is actually smaller than the 5.5-inch iPhone 8 Plus. The XS Max is definitively larger than the other iPhones that came before it, but keep in mind that its extra screen size will come more from height than from additional width. That means it shouldn’t be much harder to hold than any Plus-sized iPhone.
The last time Apple introduced a new size of the iPhone was in 2014, when the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus launched. Both models represented new sizes for Apple, which had spent the prior two years making phones with four-inch screens. As Apple stuck by its small phones, the door opened for Android competitors, which grew in size and popularity. That’s continued to happen, and Apple has generally kept up with the trend. With today’s announcement, it may even surpass it, planting a definitely large stake in a large phone world.
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