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Here's Why You Probably Don't Need the Most Expensive New iPhone

The biggest difference between the most expensive iPhone XS Max and the "budget" iPhone XR is the screen size.
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iPhone line up

Apple had its big September event recently and, to no one's surprise, announced three new iPhones. The iPhone XR is meant to be a cheaper alternative to the iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max, but with a starting price of $749, the XR doesn't exactly feel budget-friendly.

Still, the most surprising thing might be how little the three models differ from each other. Below are all the things you need to know about the new iPhone lineup.

When Will the New iPhones Be Released?

The iPhone XR will be released on October 26. Both the iPhone XS and the iPhone XS Max will be released on September 21.

How Much Will the New iPhones Cost?

The iPhone XR starts at $749 for the 64GB model. The iPhone XS begins at $999 for the 64GB model and the iPhone XS Max begins at $1,099 for the 64GB model.

What Are the Specifications for the New iPhones?

As it turns out, the newest iPhones share a lot of the same specs. Here's how the similarities stack up across the entire lineup.

They All Have the Same Chip

The iPhone XR, iPhone XS, and iPhone XS Max are all equipped with the A12 Bionic chip. The 7 nanometer processor will reportedly open apps 30% faster than the 2017 iPhones.

They All Have 12MP Cameras

Granted, the iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max both have dual cameras, while the iPhone XR only has a single camera. While the iPhone XR won't boast both a wide-angle and telephoto lens, it will still be capable of taking excellent photos.

Additionally, all models also have the same 7MP True-Depth front-facing camera for better selfies.

They All Have 4K Video Capture

All new iPhones have the capability to film 4K video at 24, 30, or 60 frames per second. They also have extended dynamic range, optical image stabilization, slo-mo video support, time-lapse video with stabilization, and stereo recording.

They All Lack a Fingerprint Sensor

Instead, the new iPhones will all be unlocked using improved Face ID. The security system has adaptive recognition in order to recognize any changes in your appearance, and allows you to easily log into apps and accounts.

They All Have Dual-Sim Capabilities

All three of the latest iPhones will offer dual-sim capabilities with nano-SIM and eSIM. Having dual-sim capability means one iPhone will be able to have two different phone numbers and even two different carriers.

This is a relief for anyone who might be tired of having to worry about both a work phone and a personal phone. It could also make international travel easier, since you could theoretically keep your regular phone number and then buy a prepaid SIM from a local carrier for whatever country you're visiting.

They All Have Better Battery Life

Apple didn't provide specifics on the number of hours each battery will have. However, in the keynote, the iPhone XS was said to have 30 minutes more than the iPhone X, while the iPhone XS Max boasts 1.5 hours more than the iPhone X. The iPhone XR should have 1.5 more hours per day than the iPhone 8 Plus.

They'll All Use iOS 12

The latest iOS iteration will release on September 17 and be available on all the new iPhones. It's a massive update, with new features spanning 14 different categories. These include everything from performance and AR to messages and Do Not Disturb.

iPhone XR

So How Are the New iPhones Different?

The new iPhones aren't that different, aside from the obvious things like screen size and display. Unless you need certain features such as dual cameras, you can save yourself a decent chunk of change by opting for the so-called "budget" iPhone XR instead of the iPhone XS or iPhone XS Max.

Size: The iPhone XS comes in at 5.8", iPhone XS Max is 6.5", and iPhone XR is 6.1".

Display: Both the iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max boast an OLED Super Retina screen, while the iPhone XR has an LCD Liquid Retina screen.

Colors: The iPhone X successors come in Gold, Silver, and Space Gray, while the iPhone XR will be available in Blue, Coral, Yellow, White, Black, and a Product (RED) version.

Storage Capacity: Both the iPhone XS and the iPhone XS Max come in 64GB, 256GB, and 512GB sizes. The iPhone XR also includes 64GB and 128GB models, but its highest tier is only 256GB.

Water-resistance: All three models are protected from contact with harmful dust. The iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max both have IP68 ratings, which means they're water-resistant up to 6.5 feet for up to 30 minutes. The iPhone XR is rated IP67, which means it's only water-resistant up to 3.3 feet for up to 30 minutes.

3D Touch: Only the iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max are equipped with 3D Touch (but that might not be much of a loss for XR users).

Readers, will you be buying one of the latest iPhones? Which model are you most interested in? Let us know in the comments below!


Senior Staff Writer

Julie joined DealNews in 2015. Her work has been featured on MSN, Business Insider, Lifehacker, The Motley Fool, GoBankingRates, and Moneyish. In her spare time, she enjoys baking sweets, reading thrillers, and listening to an ever-growing list of podcasts.
DealNews may be compensated by companies mentioned in this article. Please note that, although prices sometimes fluctuate or expire unexpectedly, all products and deals mentioned in this feature were available at the lowest total price we could find at the time of publication (unless otherwise specified).
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37 comments
BlueOak
@steviechill21,

5G will take a while to build out. And once lit up, the likelihood of standards issues with various carriers and phones is very likely. There are still turf battles about locating the nodes in many communities.

Basing your phone buy now on it is premature. For most folks, their current phone will wear out before 5G becomes prevalent.
steviechill21
Wait until the end of 2019 or 2020. That's when 5G should be here. Previous phones won't be 5G compatible. It will be worth the wait.
MDB007
stonekeep666, I believe i read a story a couple years ago that apples cost to munufacture is upper 200- lower 300 range for their cost.

Hey I bought my 6 used 2 years ago used and it it is still on the original battery working great, 931 charge cycles. the 11.4.1 update did slow it down however, may jump to ios 12 soon.
AlanRowoth
I bought my iPhone 6 four years ago when they first came out. It was pricey, I think around $800 for the 128gB model. But it is the HUB of my existence. I use dozens of apps for everything from travel shopping and navigation to social media and livecasting on half a dozen different services. I manage 6 email accounts as well as texting and a bunch of messaging services. My photo library is over 60,000 photos. My iTunes Match library is about 80,000 songs (for an extra $25 a year) My media is all shared between the phone, 3 iPads, 5 macs and 3 Apple TVs. The devices are backed up in the cloud, so if my house burns down, I still have all my data. And buying the flagship iPhone wound up costing me about 57 cents a day over a slab phone or an underpowered, insecure, virus prone, fragmented OS Piece of Android garbage. I don't drink coffee, so I'm already saving more money than most of the people reading this.

The security alone makes the iPhone the only phone worth having, but the best apps and the best selection of apps, the best platform integration and suite of online services, the power and convenience of find my iPhone and, with this series of phones, the power of computational photography which offers features unmatched by expensive DSLR, make these phones the clear buying choice and a bargain besides.
frugal_ninja
@BlueOak & @Boo153. I totally agree with you. Why do these people come on here to complain? Do yall also complain about ladies spending too much money at the salon for a haircut or getting their nails done? Do you also complain about folks buying BMWs, Mercedes, Lexus, when they can buy a Honda, Ford, or Dodge? Do you find people talking about buying Jordans and go out of your way to complain about them? I'm very frugal obviously by my username, but I could care less if others want to splurge and spend money on a phone. How about people who get 30 year mortgages? Have you complained about them spending money on interest on their loans? I have the iPhone 8 myself and I will not be buying a new phone this year, but if I decided to do so, it's not because I'm an isheep. We also own an iPad, but recently bought an android tablet that's always glitchy so I'd prefer to spend a little more for an iPad. Can't fault people for wanting to pay for quality.
Boo153
I have to laugh at all the people who consider it their business what a total stranger does with their money...maybe you all should post what you spend your money on and we can judge you. Basically? Mind your own business.
BlueOak
So tired of whiners whining insecurely about how others spend their money.

A thousand bucks is valued diffeerently by different folks.

If someone absolutely wants the latest model, so beit. It's their money.

(I happen to be content with with an iPhone SE - guts of the 6s. I could afford a top model, but choose to play the frugal game as my cheap, Scot blood desires.)
nematoda
@ rez157 "$1000 ... rich... omg..... this is 2018, is everyone on welfare here?" No. I doubt anyone commenting here is on welfare. However, many people have a sense of value. Android phones--many of which are, spec-wise and in terms of practical use, just as good as if not better than any Apple iPhone--often cost much less. A lot of people also don't like getting ripped off, since the profit margin on Apple products is usually excessively high. You are, after all, paying a premium just for the name "Apple." For shallow people, of course, paying more for a label is worth it; but for others, it's not. People with money who prefer not to shell out just for a label are smart.
digitalmonkeys
Every year people gasp at the price of new phones and every year Apple and Samsung make a fortune. But before you talk about your budget phone being a bargain do the math:

Buy a new budget phone every year for $200 ($17/mo) with subpar specs, it's slow and glitchy.

Buy a new flagship every two years for $1000, but sell your old one for $300, total $700 every two years ($29/mo). For some it's worth the extra $12/mo to have a fast phone with the best specs.

Or buy someone's old flagship every 12-18mo, sell your old one and the monthly ave cost is about $15 and always have a flagship that is 2-3yrs old.
kiratvohli
Imagine these suckers make Refrigerators, gas range, dish washer lol Our Apple fan boys would replace them every year.
BWRye
Buying the XS Max primarily for the large size. At my age (73) I need all the help I can get. .
Pandp
With 5g being rolled out in more market areas those phones that aren't ready will be heavily discounted. I was just offered a 100gb drive account so not really needing large phone capacity
billiongate
what a name xs, xs max or xr. duh! quality is getting worst. my phone have to recharge everyday. p i s s
amerykanski
There is no hellokitty or shopkinz cases for the new iPhones yet., even on Ebay. My kids will be disappointed.
stonekeep666
Would love to know the actual cost of manufacturing these phones?? Anybody have any idea??
rez157
$1000 ... rich... omg..... this is 2018, is everyone on welfare here?
dealnews-jramhold (DealNews)
@johnla

Thanks for alerting us! We've corrected the information to reflect that iPhone XS and XS Max are available in 64GB, 256GB, and 512GB.

Thanks for reading!
HandsomePete42
My last upgrade was an S7 when it came out, and it's garbage. My S4 ran WAY smoother. My girlfriend got a brand new iphone a year ago and, according to her, it's about the same as the iphone 4 she replaced. We're never buying the latest model of anything again. But hey, to each their own, right? If it puts a smile on your face and you're not spending your rent money why not?
johnla
You may have made an error with regard to the storage capacities of the Xs line. According to apple's site there is a 256, but not a 128.
harpervalley300
Nobody "needs" an expensive phone -- of any brand.
AlphaRayz
Unless you are rich, really materialistically vain, or just really loathe the Android OS, there is no real reason to get this phone at these prices. Ever.
Fabianlane
I have a 7 and was thinking about upgrading but honestly, not sold on these new models. The XR is a souped up Hyundai and would feel like a downgrade. The other two models, as many ppl have said "insanely overpriced." What happen to one model/one price? ($100 extra for the plus size) with the traditional increases for storage. This year the price goes from $749 - $1499. I'm a big Apple fan but not this new marketing strategy cause they know.....we want the 1/2 terabyte MAX!
joe1512
Personally I find it pretty great that you pay 1500 bucks for a phone and it comes with a 5 Watt charger! "What!? You thought we'd throw in an 12/29W fast-charger?!? Heck no! That's another 8 bucks from Anker....er... I mean another 50 bucks from apple!
joe1512
OMG u guys... u spend 200,000 on a house but gripe about 1500 dollar phone?!? Compared to house, its a BARGAIN! My 50 dollar gold-leaf coffee every morning is super bargain compared to house! U guys need to use LOGIC like me!
Lindsay Sakraida (DealNews)
I still have the iPhone 6S and it's paid off, so I'm holding onto it as long as I can. I got higher storage so that it wouldn't be overloaded by now, and that seems to have worked well for me. I don't see a reason to upgrade until this phone starts to show its age, and it hasn't yet [KNOCKS ON ALL THE WOOD]. I might possibly see what deals there are on the new phones during Black Friday though... that's how I got this phone in the first place. But unless I find something really good, I'll probably just stick with the 6S for awhile longer.
vwoom
With the advent of 5G soon on many cities, near the end of the year...NONE of the 2018 iPhone models are 5G capable.

Supposedly, am switching to Apple this year ( aiming a 256 GB $1,249.99 iPhone XS Max; can't go below the basic 64 GB cap). But at this astronomical 2018 iPhone prices..am NOT gonna be suckered by Apple, on a soon SLOWER frequency,/NON FUTURE PROOF iPhone.

Luckily, I was one of the fortunate ones who availed of the One Day Special Priced 128 GB $199.99 Amazon Halo Gray Essential PH-1, running with the latest Android Pie, coupled with the 360 camera accessory attachment and case for only $24 from the Essential website (to replace my shattered but dependable daily driver Google Nexus 6). Now that's a BETTER ROI, (a roughly $1,050 + tax difference saved). Well worth the savings, even still with the 4G LTE radio frequencies..

Surely no doubt, I can manage to pass again this year with NO REGRETS.
mmmmark
My 6S is getting long in the tooth, but still usable, so it will soon become my teenager's latest upgrade (she's on a 5 now).

I'm a little freaked by the high price, but I bought the highest priced 6S at the time and it has lasted many years. I suspect I will bite the bullet and do the same. I'm no longer an early adopter like when I was young, so I'll let the bugs of first-run components and bugginess flush through before I buy.

I may break my general rule of never getting insurance, however. I've never lost or broken a phone, so my gamble to save money has been a good one thus far.
AgentX
I still don't understand how anyone can justify the expense of one of these new phones. Bragging rights, I guess.
I get a refurb Samsung Galaxy every couple of years that's usually at least 2 models behind the newest. It does everything that I need and more, and I'll pay less than $200 for it.
Buying this phone is an example of why the younger generation is reported to be in so much debt. Why would anyone need to make monthly payments on a cell phone? Save up and pay cash when you have the money.
I don't buy new cars, and I don't buy overpriced Apple products. That money could be better spent elsewhere, like in my 401k.
@rez157 my daily driver is a 97 Accord with 282k miles that I've owned since '99. I don't drive it because I have to, but because I choose to. I also take pride in doing the maintenance myself and keeping it going. I haven't had a car payment in many years.
chase
Some people spend money in other areas the others wouldnt.
Honestly - I understand the new prices are high, and just like a brand new car, I will never buy one.
That being said, I also do want the latest and greatest tech.... so what is my compromise???
Well, I wait about 6 months for the phones to appear on ebay or craigslist (brand new or mint condition) for 50% off.
Cars take a 20%+ depreciation the first year, but phones are worse.
Me waiting a few months doesnt bother me as even a 2 year old flagship phone these days is still a great piece of phone tech.
I am holding out until Christmas for the Note 9 - by then, I bet it will be $500 on ebay and craigslist.
Ottoman
Just like the first commenter, we'll be replacing our iPhone 6's with the El Cheapo option. They've lasted 5 years and are just now getting a little buggy—some of my songs are skipping—but mostly still fine. I'd say $650 or whatever it cost was a great buy for that much usage.
okani
the only reason I upgrade my phones to always flagship models are the bands that they have, this gives me ability to use my phones all over the world. Phones like Moto G6 don't have many bands, they might be good for voice but not data.
kiratvohli
Answer is in the title. "Expensive". Only idiots will change iphone every year.
flair1
my Moto G6 Play I got for $130 works great for me.
rez157
$70,000 on a car...NP
$1000 on a phone... oh my. That can get sold for $500, 2 years later.
DealRunner1337
@rez157 That's one of the dumbest arguments I've seen.
rez157
a phone is something you use all day long.... what really is $1000? not sure why people are so cheap on phones but will spend big bucks on food and drinks.
hmmmnice
I'm probably going to buy the XR to update my little IPhone 6 which is starting to act up.