Today’s Apple announcements: The extra concise edition

As I often do with big Apple announcements I will try to break it down to the basics: what, when, how much? Other bloggers will go into much more detail (and I may have a more in-depth blog post myself later) but here is my quick rundown.

Apple products go on sale at midnight Pacific (3am Eastern) on their preorder date. Software updates typically arrive at 10am Pacific (1pm Eastern).


iPhone XR: 64GB / 128GB / 256GB – $749 / $799 / $899
6.1″ 1.4MP Liquid LCD Display
Available in black, white, yellow, coral, blue, and (PRODUCT)RED
Preorder Oct 19, available October 26

iPhone XS: 64GB / 256GB / 512GB – $999 / $1,149 / $1,349
5.8″ 2.7MP Super Retina OLED Display
Preorder September 14, available September 21

iPhone XS Max: 64GB / 256GB / 512GB – $1099 / $1,249 / $1,449
6.5″ 3.3MP Super Retina OLED Display
Preorder September 14, available Sept 21

This year’s iPhones all sport many of the same specs. The only major difference is in display technology, and the XR only has a single rear camera instead of the dual cameras that XS and XS Max have.

As always, one of the biggest improvements this year is the camera. The physical specs aren’t that much better, but because of the new graphics processing abilities, the resulting images are significantly improved, including the ability to take Portrait Mode photos even on the XR with a single camera.

  • Improved glass durability
  • IP68 water resistance (increased from IP67 on iPhone 7, 8, and X)
  • OLED screens have 60% greater dynamic range color over iPhone X
  • Faster Face ID
  • New A12 Bionic chip has a 15% faster CPU, 50% faster GPU, and increased from 2-core neural engine to 8-core. Last year’s A11 could process 600 billion operations per second. This year’s can do 5 trillion.
  • High Dynamic Range camera quality increased with “Smart HDR”
  • Depth of field on Portrait Mode photos can be adjusted after
  • Videos now record stereo sound
  • Battery life is 30 minutes more per day for XS, 1.5h for XS Max and XR
  • Gigabit-class LTE
  • 600MHz LTE support for better performance on T-Mobile
  • NFC tag reading
  • Dual SIM allows two different cell phone plans on one iPhone (coming with a later update)

So what iPhone should I get?

If you are simply itching to upgrade because you phone feels slow, you may want to upgrade to iOS 12 on Monday before making your decision. Many people, especially those with older devices, are finding iOS 12 to be a major speed boost. But if you want the new camera or have other reasons, what it comes down to most is what screen and size you want. The processor speed and camera and pretty much every other spec is identical. Though the XS and XS Plus both have dual cameras, with one at a 2X zoom for better quality zoomed photos.

iPhone XS: Screen is a beautiful OLED display, the size is identical to iPhone X, or a body the size of iPhone 6 to 8 but a screen the size of a Plus model. The smallest new iPhone this year, but not exactly affordable.

iPhone XS Max: Also has an incredible OLED display. Body is the same size as a Plus model but the edge-to-edge screen is enormous.

iPhone XR: This one has an LCD which isn’t as good as OLED but it’s better than past LCD screens. The body and screen size is halfway between the two XS models. This is the cheapest new phone by $250, which may disappoint people who want something small.

If you are looking for a smaller screen on an inexpensive phone you may have to consider an older model. Though I discourage T-Mobile customers from doing that because their current tower rollouts are using frequencies that only the new models support, so as T-Mobile improves their network you won’t get any better service.

If you are unsure you probably will want to visit a store after the iPhone is released so you can play with them and see how they feel in your hand.

Apple Watch

Starts at $399 for GPS model, $499 for GPS + Cellular
Preorders start September 14, available September 21

This year’s Apple Watch is a major upgrade. But good news: the bands you already have will still work!

  • 30% larger screen, edge-to-edge, but only 2mm bigger gives room for more complications, more detailed complications
  • Crown has haptic feedback for a mechanical scrolling feel
  • 50% louder speaker
  • The microphone has moved to the other side for better audio
  • Ceramic back enables better cellular reception
  • 64-bit S4 chip doubles speed
  • Better Accelerometer and gyroscope enables fall detection, will call emergency services if you are immobile for a minute after a fall.
  • Now has the first ECG (Electrocardiogram) available over the counter to consumers, has FDA approval

iOS 12, watchOS 5, tvOS 12

Free, available September 17 (typically 10am Pacific, 1pm Eastern)

HomePod OS 2

Free, available September 17

  • Lyric search “Hey Siri, play that song that goes I’m a rebel just for kicks now”
  • Multiple timers “Hey Siri, set a 30 minute timer for the cake”
  • Make and receive phone calls
  • Find My iPhone
  • Siri Shortcuts
  • Siri gets support for Canadian French and Spanish in the US, Mexico, Spain

macOS 10.14 Mojave

Free, available September 24 (typically 10am Pacific, 1pm Eastern)


  • iPhone Xs and Xs Max will be available to purchase unlocked at launch. Previously that was only available after inventory became more widely available.
  • iPhone SE, 6s, X, Apple Watch Edition are no longer available
  • iPhone 7 and 7 Plus is now starting at $449, effective immediately
  • iPhone 8 and 8 Plus is now starting at $599, effective immediately
  • Apple Watch Series 3 is now $279, effective immediately
  • Many additional colors and styles of Apple Watch bands are now available.
  • iPhone Xs and Max cases are now on the Apple Store all in various colors, though they are not available to actually order just yet. They are not compatible with iPhone X, suggesting that there has been a subtle change in size or shape.
  • Out of warranty battery replacements are $69 for all new iPhones and iPhone X
  • Screen replacement costs are $279 for iPhone XS (same as X), and $329 for iPhone XS Max (XR is missing from the list)
  • Other repair costs (basically when they have to swap the phone for a new one) including back glass repair or water damage is $549 for iPhone XS (same as X), and $599 for iPhone XS Max (XR is missing from the list)
  • AppleCare+ Theft & Lost plan will protect from theft or loss of the phone, costs $100 more than regular AppleCare+, as well as a $199 or $229 deductible for lost or stolen replacements; requires you have Find My iPhone enabled
  • What we did not see today:
    • New AirPod with Hey Siri support and wireless charging (though that made a cameo in their intro video)
    • AirPower (nearly every mention of it has been removed from Apple’s website)
    • USB-C iPhone chargers
    • New iPads or Macs (we will probably have an October event for those)