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iPhone XS, XS Max and XR: Apple unveils its most expensive phone ever

Matthew Field
The Telegraph

Apple unveiled a trio of new iPhones and an overhauled Apple Watch as it sought to prolong the growth that has made it the world’s first trillion-dollar company.

The new handsets, the iPhone XS, XS Max, and XR, feature different screen sizes and price points, in an attempt to appeal to a wide range of customers and defy a declining global smartphone market.

The XS Max will cost up to £1,449, making it the most expensive iPhone yet and stretching the limits of what consumers may be willing to pay for a smartphone.

Apple’s hotly-anticipated annual iPhone unveiling is the biggest date in its calendar, and is seen as setting the tone for the smartphone industry.

The iPhone XS Max and iPhone XS

The three iPhones released on Wednesday night are successors to the iPhone X, the redesigned smartphone the company released a year ago, which introduced facial recognition technology, an all-screen design and removed the home button of previous iPhones.

The iPhone XS and XS Max include improvements such as a faster processor, brighter screen and better cameras.

The XS Max, the priciest model, will boast a 6.5-inch screen as well as a bigger battery, which Apple said would improve battery life by an hour and a half.

The iPhone XR, the cheapest of the three, is designed to appeal to more price-conscious consumers, who have been reluctant to pay for higher-priced iPhones in recent years. It features the same design, but with a lower-resolution screen and one rear camera, instead of the dual camera designs of more expensive iPhones.

The iPhone XR, XS and XS Max will cost £749, £999 and £1,099 respectively, with higher prices for models with more memory. The XR will go on sale in late October, with the XS and XS Max being released next week.

Investors last month pushed Apple to becoming the world’s first trillion-dollar company, partly amid optimism that the new iPhones would spark a new era of growth.

Sales of the iPhone have been largely flat in the last two years, although the higher price of last year’s handsets has meant revenue has continued to grow as customers have proved willing to pay more for smartphones.

The majority of Apple’s growth has instead come from increased sales of apps, music streaming and cloud storage, as well as the Apple Watch and headphones.

The new Apple Watch, the fourth generation, can detect if wearers suffer a fall and call emergency services on their behalf, and is capable of taking electrocardiograms, an accurate heart rate reading that can then be shared with doctors.

Sales of the Apple Watch were slow when it was first released three years ago, but have gradually improved as the company has focused more on health and fitness features. The new watch also boasts a bigger screen and a thinner design, which will allow more information to fit on its display.

Apple’s chief executive Tim Cook said the device was not only the world’s best selling smartwatch, but the best selling of any watch. He also highlighted Apple’s recent achievements, saying the company was approaching the 2bn sales of iPhones, iPads and iPods running its iOS software.

Geoff Blaber, an analyst at CCS Insight, said: “Apple will face some inevitable criticism that these products are incremental improvements on prior successes. However, the fact that Apple has sold almost 2bn iOS devices to date is testament to the success of the iPhone recipe since 2007.”

Apple shares fell by 1.5pc.

9:45AM

That's all for now

Thank you for joining the Telegraph's live blog on the iPhone XS launch and for all your comments. It will be a few days before we are able to give you a full review of the new smartphones, but check back here for the first takes on Apple's new iPhone.

9:42AM

iOS 12 launch date revealed

Apple has announced that its new iPhone software iOS 12 will be available from September 17, two days before its new iPhone XS goes on sale. This means millions of users around the world will be able to download the new software, which includes new screen time and digital wellbeing features.

You can find out more in our guide to iOS 12.

8:43AM

How does the iPhone XS compare to its main rival?

Apple's iPhone XS has raised the bar in terms of price, but how does it stack up to the competition? 

The Samsung Galaxy S9 is arguably the new iPhone's main rival among the top tier of handsets. It also features an edge-to-edge screen, a powerful camera, OLED technology and a high-end processor.

Matthew Field looks at how we can expect the two phones to compare.

iPhone XS and Samsung Galaxy S9

7:59AM

Good morning and a recap

Good morning and welcome to the Telegraph's coverage of the iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max launch. Apple has revealed three new smartphones, including its most expensive phone ever at £1,449.

The new phones included the iPhone XR, a colourful mid-range phone starting at £749, designed to appeal to lapsed iPhone users to upgrade their smartphones.

Taking to the stage in Cupertino, California, Apple chief executive Tim Cook also oversaw the unveiling of a new Apple Watch Series 4, which adds new healthcare features to a smartwatch for the first time.

Here is a recap of our coverage so far:

6:43AM

What you need to know

 These are the five main takeaways from Wednesday's launch event at the Apple campus.

6:20AM

Watch has approval as medical device

Apple Watch series 4 Credit: Bloomberg

Apple also announced updates that push its Apple Watch further into medical device territory. It has a larger screen and a built-in heart sensor that the company said can detect irregular heart rates and perform an electrocardiogram. The latter feature has been cleared by the US Food and Drug Administration, the company said.

Ben Wood of CCS Insight said getting US regulatory clearance for that is a milestone that underscores the company's leadership in health and fitness. Typically, smartwatches are marketed as consumer devices, not medical ones needing clearance.

5:51AM

What would you sell to buy an iPhone XS Max?

A lot of jokes kicking around on social media about the hefty price tags.

 

5:16AM

The XR may be the most important model

While much of the hype focused on the biggest, most expensive models, analysts said Apple had covered all bases by adding the more modestly priced XR, starting at £749 - which may attract users who have updated their iPhones for a few years.

"I am going to go out on a limb and say the XR is going to become Apple's top-selling iPhone," said analyst Patrick Moorhead of Moor Insights. "It is a smart strategy to keep more people in the Apple ecosystem and get even more people to come into it."

4:38AM

New phones can support dual Sim cards

So Apple has announced it is supporting dual Sim cards with its XS and XS Max for the first time - allowing users to effortlessly switch networks as they fly around the world, or operate a work and personal number at home. Old hat to millions of Android users of course....

4:14AM

Spotted

The Mad Men actor John Hamm was among the crowds at the launch Credit: Stephen Lam/Reuters

 

3:46AM

Supersize me

James Titcomb has run the rule over the new models. This is his verdict:

The hat-trick of new handsets the company announced on Wednesday - the iPhone XR, XS and XS Max are, in many ways, not radically different from the iPhone X released a year ago. All three have the same all-screen design, facial recognition unlocking and no home button as their predecessor. Those wanting Apple to reinvent the wheel, look away now.

The difference is, they have been supersized. The new phones boast bigger screens, more powerful processors and - in some cases - weightier price tags than last year.

3:30AM

A good day at the office

That's Tim Cook, the Apple CEO, out and about with Jony Ive, the British design guru at the heart of the company.

3:15AM

Up close

Fans, bloggers and journalists get their first look at the new handsets Credit: Stephen Lam/Reuters

 

12:07AM

See what the new iPhone XS Max looks like

James Titcomb gets a close-up look at Apple's brand new iPhone XS Max, its biggest and most expensive yet.

 

11:32PM

What you've missed

The Telegraph's video team has compiled a video showing you the five most important moments during today's unveiling. Of course, we suggest you read down to get briefed on what happened at Apple Park, Cupertino throughout Wednesday. 

 

10:54PM

The critics weigh in

Analysts are having their say on whether a bigger screen is enough to get people waiting in a queue to get their hands on the new phones. 

Has Apple done enough to justify charging its highest ever price for a new iPhone?

CCS Insight analyst Ben Wood said that the larger screen size was likely to make customers upgrade. "The belated introduction of a larger screen in the iPhone 6 Plus resulted in a surge in demand from Apple fans", he said.

"The iPhone Xs Max fulfills the widespread expectation of a larger display on an iPhone X", Mr Wood said, "and will prompt a similar flood of upgrades like the one in 2014."

10:22PM

Getting hands on

Tim Cook has been spotted out and about during the "hands on" element of Wednesday's unveiling. Thousands swamp a room full of the brand new devices, including YouTubers, journalists, employees and super fans who have managed to secure an invitation to the annual event. 

10:05PM

Would you pay £1,449 for the most expensive iPhone yet?

The dust has settled following the annual iPhone reveal and social media is awash with pictures poking fun at the cost. Twitter users have been posting pictures of piles of cash up in flames and suggesting that they would need to "sell a kidney" to get their hands on any of the new products. 

 Last year the iPhone X grabbed attention for its £1,000 price tag. But with the new iPhone XS Max at up to £1,449 it's clear the cost is only going one way. Up. 

9:58PM

The death of the headphone jack

Cue much grumbling from Apple customers as today marks the end of the headphone jack in every single iPhone available on the market. The iPhone 6S and SE have been culled to pave way for the new iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max and iPhone XR.

Customers can no longer buy an iPhone with a headphone jack

They were the last devices to have the traditional 3mm audio jack. While customers can buy adapters to use non-Apple headphones, expect criticism for the trillion-dollar technology company's commitment to making its products impossible to use with other vendors. 

9:13PM

Apple Watch includes "game changing" health features

Apple’s new smartwatch will be able to detect if an elderly person has fallen and will call emergency services if they lie motionless for more than one minute. It will also include new features to monitor for heart conditions in users. 

Margi Murphy reports from San Francisco.

8:37PM

One year later, Apple still hasn't revealed its wireless charger

Apple fans have been waiting almost a year for the company to reveal its wireless charger, a charging slate that can power up an iPhone and an Apple Watch at the same time. 

The failure to release AirPower is a rare misstep by a company that typically keeps information about new products under wraps until they're ready to be released.

James Cook reports.

8:04PM

The prices for all models

iPhone Xs: 64GB - £999; 256GB - £1,149; 512GB - £1,349

iPhone Xs Max: 64GB - £1,099; 256GB - £1,249; 512GB - £1,449

iPhone Xr: 64GB - £749; 128GB - £799; 256GB - £899

You can register your interest in buying the new smartphones with Carphone Warehouse here.

7:46PM

Tim Cook signs off

"I would like to thank all the folks at Apple who made this magical day possible."

Tim Cook rounds off the Apple event, but we will be hear with all the live reaction from the show floor as we get a first hands on with the iPhone XS and Apple's other smartphones.

7:44PM

No more iPhone SE or iPhone 6S?

Apple showed off what appeared to be its current iPhone line-up from today, but where were the iPhone SE and iPhone 6S? Apple could be about to discontinue two of its most popular and cheapest smartphone products.

7:44PM

Release dates

The iPhone XS and XS Max will be available to pre-order from September 14 and on full sale on September 21.

The iPhone XR will be a month later, available for pre-order on October 19 and on full sale on October 26.

7:43PM

Prices, prices, prices

These are the first prices we have for the new iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max and iPhone XR. 

iPhone XS: starts at $999 (£999)

iPhone XS Max: starts at $1,099 (£1,099)

iPhone XR: starts at $749 (£749)

This doesn't include the more expensive versions with up to 512GB of storage

7:39PM

Apple lead designer Jonny Ive

Jonny Ive describes, in a recorded video, the "uncompromising vision" for the iPhone.

7:34PM

iPhone XR specs and features

The iPhone XR has a 6.1-inch liquid retina display, includes the latest A12 Bionic processor and a new 12MP camera system. It has the same camera system, although it only features a single lens, and has similar features for Face ID. It comes in six colours.

Other than the screen, however, it is not really clear what is so different about this phone. The price will be key from Apple now.

7:30PM

Here is the iPhone XR

iPhone XR
iPhone XR
iPhone XR

7:27PM

One more iPhone...

"We are excited to introduce you to the iPhone XR!"

7:23PM

Here are all the major specs for the iPhone XS

And also Apple's hardware head Phil Schiller

iPhone XS

7:19PM

Dual SIM card slot and eSims

Apple says it will add dual SIM cards to the new iPhones. This will let users easily swap between two different mobile plans, which is common in some countries where users might travel between different network zones. 

In the UK and US, this will be made up of a single SIM card tray with an additional built-in eSIM, while in China the phone will come with a specially designed dual SIM card holder.

7:17PM

Even better battery life

In a feature sought after by most users, Apple says it will add an extra hour and a half battery to the new iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max.

7:14PM

Apple iPhone XS portrait mode

Schiller says the new iPhone can take even more detailed bokeh photos, these pictures blur the background and give more emphasis to the portrait. Schiller adds the new photos have a post-picture depth of field blurring. This means users can change the background blur of their pictures even after they have taken them.

iPhone XS bokeh picture

7:11PM

The iPhone XS camera

The iPhone camera "is the world's most popular camera" says Phil Schiller. The iPhone XS with its neural engine can take photos and portraits in more detail than ever before.

The phone includes a 12MP dual lens camera with "smart HDR" with "zero shutter lag" thanks to its new processor, taking multiple frame shots at once, even of moving shots, to combine the pictures together to "merge them into one perfect photo".

The camera specs on the iPhone XS
iPhone XS camera

7:04PM

Apple reveals its work with augmented reality app developers and gamers

Apple has showed off the work of Bethesda studios, the maker of the game series Elder Scrolls, to show how powerful the iPhone XS's processor is. 

Another app, HomeCourt, shows how augmented reality can be used to identify posture and movement of basketball players and track them on a court.

The final app is Galaga AR, an augmented reality game where users can play a starfighter shooting game using augmented reality.

Galachar AR

6:55PM

Apple is showing off its latest augmented reality features

These are present on its new iOS 12 software and will be made even faster with the A12 Bionic chip. Apple says this will take users to "the next generation of apps".

Augmented reality

6:48PM

Apple's Phil Schiller reveals the iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max

Apple's Phil Schiller has taken to the stage to reveal the new iPhone XS and Apple's largest smartphone, the iPhone XS Max. The iPhone XS has a 5.8-inch screen and the XS Max features a large 6.5-inch display. Both phones will run on a new A12 Bionic chip with a neural engine. Schiller says the processor can take on "5 trillion" processes per second.

It will also feature 512GB of storage, enough for 200,000 photos stored on the phone.

iPhone XS
iPhone XS
iPhone XS

6:39PM

"This is iPhone XS"

"We are going to take iPhone X to the next level. I am going to show you what is by far the most advanced iPhone we have ever created. This is iPhone XS."

iPHone XS and iPhone XS
iPhone XS

 

6:37PM

Tim Cook returns

Now, let's move on to iPhone

6:35PM

Apple Watch Series 4 price and release date revealed

The Apple Watch Series 4 without cellular connection will start at $399, while the mobile connected model will start at $499. The pre-orders begin on Friday, September 14 and it goes on full sale on September 21.

6:34PM

Apple Watch is leading on healthcare tech

Analysts believe the Apple Watch Series 4 is leading the way in terms of healthcare tech.

6:27PM

Apple's new health features have FDA approval

Apple's new heart rate features have approval from the US Food and Drug Administration. The company says it is hoping to bring them to other countries around the world.

6:23PM

The Apple Watch can now detect atrial fibrillation

The Apple Watch's heart rate sensor can now detect atrial fibrillation, a heart condition that leads to irregular beating of the heart.

Apple is also launching an ECG scan on its new smart watches, which measures the electrical activity of the heart. The Series 4 can detect electrical impulses and provide a heart rhythm classification. 

"We've added electrodes to the back of the Watch, and the digital crown allows you to take an electrocardiogram," say Williams. This is the first ECG product offered over the counter directly to consumers. This can even be shared with doctors.

The Apple Watch will also send users notification if their heart rate is too low.

6:20PM

The Apple Watch can now detect a fall

Apple Watch Series 4 can now detect a fall. "Identifying a fall may sound like a straightforward problem, but it requires a tremendous amount of data and analysis. We learned that with falls, there is a repeatable data pattern."

If the Watch senses you're immobile for a minute after a fall, it will automatically calls emergency services and sends your location to your emergency contacts. "It's a feature that we hope you never need, but it's really nice to know it's there."

6:15PM

Apple Watch Series 4: thinner and with even more features

Apple has increased the screen size of the Apple Watch Series 4, with sizes that are more than 30pc larger. Both watches are also thinner, so they are lighter as well, says Apple's Jeff Williams.

"It all starts with a stunning new display. We pushed the screen right to the edges, and curved the edges to match the Watch."

Apple has added more features like a breath timer for destressing. It has also added new displays to the watch face and extras like including headshots of your family on the watchface.

Apple Watch breath

6:11PM

Apple reveals the Apple Watch Series 4

The Apple Watch Series 4

6:07PM

Tim Cook takes to the stage

"Today we are going to tell you about two of our most personal products, and how we are going to take them even further. So let's get started with the Apple Watch."

"Think about how much the Apple Watch has grown in such a short period of time." Tim Cook says it is the number one watch in the world - “not smartwatch, but watch, period.”

Credit: Bloomberg

6:03PM

Mission impossible? 

Apple is live and it's a race against time for an Apple intern to race to get a vital product to Tim Cook on stage (yes, it turns out that was a planned Tweet, I was wrong). The race against time is all to the theme tune of Mission Impossible. 

5:54PM

What has Tim Cook lost...

Tim Cook has posted and quickly deleted a cryptic message. Some are suggesting this could be a private message failure, where the Apple chief executive was meaning to send a post via a direct message but accidentally Tweeted it out instead.

Let's hope everything is going according to plan back stage...

Tim Cook DM fail

5:52PM

Into the Steve Jobs auditorium

Apple fans and press are now gathering in the auditorium for the keynote address from Tim Cook and the reveal of the new iPhone models. This is what it looks like inside.

5:38PM

iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max rumoured specs breakdown

Here are all the stats and specs that are rumoured to be on the new iPhone models that Apple is set to reveal tonight.

4:54PM

James Titcomb is on the ground in Cupertino

Silicon Valley bureau chief James Titcomb is at Apple's live event where we will get a first look at the new iPhone models. Here is his report from Apple Park.

Good morning from a balmy Cupertino. I've just arrived at Apple's HQ where it's just approaching 9am.

We're about an hour from the event starting, but the area around Apple's purpose-built theatre, the Steve Jobs auditorium, is already filling up.

Anticipation ahead of an Apple event is always red hot, but it's hard to escape the feeling that a lot of the headlines have been written already. For the most part we know what the new iPhones will look like, and even what they're called.

Two questions that still remain and are crucial for Apple: how much will they cost and when will they go on sale? Last year's iPhone X became the first phone to break the £1,000 mark but manufacturing delays put its sale back to November. With three new iPhones set to be unveiled today, it would be a big win for Apple to be able to put them all on sale next week.

4:25PM

"Ex-cess" or "Ex-arrr" - Apple's smartphone name woes

Until last year, Apple had kept its naming pattern simple and predictable, with 6, 7 and 8 named in sequence. The iPhone X (pronounced "ten") was more of a problem. This year, Apple's phones will be the "ten S" and "ten S Max" - or as most people will dub them, the iPhone Excess.

3:57PM

Rise and shine from Tim Cook

The sun is rising over the Steve Job's Theatre in Cupertino and Tim Cook is ready for a big day.

3:35PM

iPhone XS and iPhone XR storage capacity and colours

The new leaks from Apple's own website suggest this breakdown of the storage size and colours that will be available on the three new smartphones.

iPhone XS

64GB, 256GB and 512GB in space gray, silver, gold

iPhone XS Max

64GB, 256GB and 512GB in space gray, silver, gold

iPhone XR

64GB, 128GB and 256GB in black, white, red, yellow, coral, blue

2:46PM

Apple share price dips ahead of event

Apple's share price has dropped ahead of today's iPhone XS launch, dipping around 1pc. Apple was the first US listed company to hit a trillion dollar valuation earlier this year. According to our report on Tuesday, short sellers, investors who bet that a company's share price will go down, have been piling in on Apple ahead of the big event.

Apple logo

2:19PM

iPhone XR colours revealed in website leak

It seems Apple may not to be able to keep many secrets out of the public eye before its new iPhone launches. We don't know a great deal about its cheaper iPhone XR, which is set to be its cheaper model with a 6.1-inch screen. But 9to5Mac reports that a leak of Apple's own website code has revealed the six colours the new phone will come in. These include black, white, red, yellow, coral and blue.

2:12PM

The Apple Store is down

Apple has taken down the main page of its online store ahead of the new release. It has been replaced with an Apple symbol with rainbow colours, a sign the company could be adding a host of new shades to its iPhone perhaps?

Apple store down

1:45PM

Apple's launch event 2018 - all the rumours and reveals

1:35PM

How Apple accidentally revealed its new iPhones

Apple has a reputation for cracking down on leaks about its new smartphones. Its desire for secrecy around product launches has been drummed into employees.

But this year revelations about the iPhone XS appear to have come from Apple itself.

A website link to https://www.apple.com/apple-events/september-2018/ - an almost identical link to previous years - was accidentally left online. Apple watcher Guilherme Rambo found the pages by correctly guessing the names of the new iPhones, finding images of the new gold iPhone XS.

Another leak, spotted by the blog AllThings, claimed today to have found the name of the iPhone XR. The blog said users who inspected the code behind Apple's website could find the new device names.

1:15PM

A look back at the iPhone X one year on

Last year, Apple revealed the iPhone X, its tenth anniversary smartphone. Its £1,000 price tag was hugely controversial. It had new technology inside such as facial recognition, an edge-to-edge screen and wireless charging. In many ways Apple was catching up with rivals, but its new design also shifted the market.

One element cut opinion down the middle. The so-called "notch" was an indent at the top of the phone. It gave the iPhone X a bigger screen, but also cut off certain apps.

Apple released the iPhone X with its divisive Notch design Credit: AP

In our review, we wrote the Notch was "a concession to function on what would have been an otherwise unblemished display". Now that design has become universal and has been copied by dozens of rivals.

As San Francisco bureau chief James Titcomb wrote this morning: 

The flurry of notch-toting phones released in the last year suggests that Apple still sets the agenda when it comes to smartphone design.

If rumours and leaks are to be believed, each of the three iPhones Apple unveils later today will follow the iPhone X’s design, as will Google’s Pixel 3 device, set to be unveiled next month.

Like it or not, the iPhone X’s most controversial feature is here to stay.

12:53PM

Welcome to the Telegraph's live blog

Good afternoon and welcome to the Telegraph's live coverage of the iPhone XS. We will be bringing you the latest updates on what is to come from Apple today as Tim Cook unveils what is to come from the company's new smartphones. 

Here is what we expect to see:

  • For the second year running, three new iPhones

  • iPhone XS: an update on the current iPhone X with an edge-to-edge screen, Face ID, wireless charging and a new processor.

  • iPhone XS Max: Apple's largest smartphone ever, at least in terms of screen size, with a 6.5-inch screen. It could also be Apple's most expensive model ever at more than £1,100.

  • iPhone XR: Not much is known about this phone other than its name. It could follow the same design pattern as the iPhone X but have a cheaper screen.

  • Apple Watch Series 4: An iterative upgrade on Apple's smartwatch line. It could include a bigger screen and longer battery life.

  • iOS 12: Apple has already revealed its smartphone operating system, an upgrade on iOS 11, but it is likely to be on display today as Apple showcases its new phones.

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