Coming in hot: the iPhone XS and XSMax

Apple is rolling out three new iPhones but you’ll only see two this month. The more expensive models will hit stores first, using a time-honored price discrimination model that asks: are you willing to pay the most to have it first?

The IPhone XS and XS Max are the two priciest models and they’re available now (or very soon, depending on delivery speed to your local store), with the iPhone XR coming in October at a lower price tag.

To make room for three new iPhone models, Apple will no longer sell the iPhone 6S, 6S Plus, iPhone SE and iPhone X.

Here’s a super brief, non-technical rundown, followed by links to a detailed analysis.

Last year

iPhone X

This is no longer being sold by Apple, although you can probably find it at a local retailer, at least until they run out. It’s $749, and last year it represented a leap in technology. This year, it’s about the same price as the new iPhone XR, so it might not be worth the search.

This year

iPhone XS

At about $1000, it’s a great phone, made even better.

The XS has a really good camera, it’s super fast, and it has duel SIM so you can use one phone for work and play. Or, you can use one phone for your U.S. plan, and the same phone when you travel, for non-U.S. calls. It has facial recognition, which makes the screen bigger because there’s no home button.

I’ve heard mixed reviews on facial recognition. Some say it takes too long for the phone to recognize the face; some say it doesn’t always recognize it. That feature will probably need some improvement.

The screen display is sharp, colorful and one of the best on the market.

It’s pocket-busting 5.8 inches big.

iPhone XS Max (which is basically the XS plus, but Apple wanted a new name and went with Max).

It’s about $100 more than the XS.

It’s 6.5 inches and colossally big–the biggest ever, and surely will never fit in any crossbody bag that I own. It’s has a little better battery than the XS, it weighs more, but mostly it’s the same phone. It has the great camera, it’s screaming fast, all that.

iPhone XR

This lower priced model–a trim $749–will be available in October. It has most of the same features as the XS, but with a lower-res screen and a better battery, according to Apple.

Here are two more detailed reviews:

iPhone XR: Why this October iPhone is worth waiting for

What Reviewers Are Saying About Apple’s New iPhone XS and XS Max


Apple products are likely to be targeted by China tariffs.

President Trump’s latest taxes on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods spared some Apple products but China is considering restricting “sales of materials, equipment and parts key to U.S. manufacturers,” the Wall Street Journal reports. They also say that China’s response to the tariffs could affect the iPhone as well as the Apple Watch, AirPods and the HomePod.

Analyst Mark Vena said that Apple should have enough inventory for iPhones and Apple Watches to get it through the holiday season, but it could face “a serious problem” after that. Apple’s heavy dependence on China makes it especially vulnerable as a trade war continues.

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