iPhone XS, XR and the Apple Watch Series 4 launch: 5 things to know

iPhone XS, XR and the Apple Watch Series 4 launch: 5 things to know

iPhone Xs Max and iPhone Xs
An Apple iPhone XS Max (right) and iPhone XS rest on a table during a launch event on September 12, 2018, in Cupertino, California. (Photo: AFP/Noah Berger)

SINGAPORE: Tech giant Apple on Wednesday (Sep 12) unveiled a slew of new products, including its priciest iPhones and a smartwatch that can detect when you fall as well as your risk of atrial fibrillation.

Keeping to last year’s iPhone X look and feel, the three new phone models announced boast larger displays with a faster chip - the A12 Bionic. Here are five things you need to know about the announcement at Apple Park in Cupertino, California, United States:


Marketed as Apple’s “most advanced smartphone ever”, the iPhone XS (pronounced “iPhone 10S”) and XS Max will come in gold, silver and space grey finishes.

iphone xs xs max
The iPhone XS Max (left) and iPhone XS. (Image: Apple)

The iPhone XS Max is possibly one of the largest phones on the market, with a 6.5-inch screen - bigger than the iPhone 8 Plus (5.5 inches) and the Samsung Galaxy Note9 (6.4 inches). While the iPhone XS has a 5.8-inch screen.

Both phones have:

  • Super Retina, OLED display with HDR display
  • IP68 dust and waterproof protection
  • Dolby Vision and HDR10
  • Dual 12MP back cameras, 7MP front RGB camera: Users will be able to film with stereo sound, as well as adjust a portrait photo's depth of field after it's taken

iphone video
Apple's Senior Vice President of Worldwide Marketing Philip W Schiller unveils the iPhone XS' video features at Apple Park on Thursday (Sep 13). 

  • A12 Bionic chip
  • Longer battery life: The iPhone XS can last 30 minutes longer than the iPhone X, while the iPhone XS Max can last 1.5 hours longer
  • Dual SIM capability: The two phones will allow for one physical SIM and one eSIM. China’s version will have a slot for two physical SIM cards
  • Better worldwide roaming with gigabit-class LTE

Both are available in three sizes: 64GB, 256GB, 512GB. The iPhone XS starts at US$999 (S$1,370) and the iPhone XS Max starts at USS$1099 (S$1,500). Pre-orders start Sep 14 (Friday) and will be shipped on Sep 21 to selected countries and territories, including Singapore, Hong Kong and Japan.


Apple's lower cost model was the iPhone XR, with a 6.1-inch screen. It comes in six finishes: White, black, blue, coral, yellow and red.

iphone xr
Apple's Senior Vice President of Worldwide Marketing Philip W Schiller unveils the iPhone XR.

It will come with:

  • Liquid Retina: Apple’s “most advanced LCD display” with haptic touch
  • 12MP wide-angle back camera with Smart HDR, which will also allow users to control the depth of their portrait photos
  • IP67 dust and waterproof protection
  • A12 Bionic chip
  • Face ID
  • Longer battery life: 1.5 hours longer than the iPhone 8 Plus

Starting at US$749 (S$1,030), the iPhone XR will come in three sizes: 64GB, 128GB, 256GB. It’ll be available for pre-order on Oct 19 and ships on Oct 26.


The A12 Bionic chip unveiled for Apple’s new batch of iPhones is the industry’s first ever seven-nanometer chip, according to the tech giant. It has a six-core CPU and a four-core GPU, as well as a updated Neural Engine which handles AI tasks.

It’s an upgrade from last year’s A11 Bionic, with a 50 per cent faster GPU and a Neural Engine that can handle five trillion operations per second. In comparison, the A11 could crunch 600 billion operations per second. This means faster apps and stronger processing power for more complicated functions on the phone.

The A12 Bionic will also run apps built on the company’s machine learning framework, Core ML, nine times faster than last year’s chips – allowing for heavy AI processing.

While Apple says the seven-nanometer chip is an industry first, tech media network The Verge pointed out that China's Huawei unveiled the seven-nanometer Kirin 980 in August, though it won't be available until October.


The Apple Watch Series 4, when launched, will be the first electrocardiogram (ECG) product offered over the counter, the tech giant said when unveiling their new line of smartwatches. It will also be able to detect falls and call for help if it detects that you are immobile.

iphone xs ecg
Apple CEO Tim Cook demos the ECG app coming soon on the Apple Watch Series 4. 

Compared to the Series 3, the Watch Series 4 will have:

  • Larger screens and cases: The 44mm case will have a 977 sq mm display area, while the 40 mm case will have a 759 sq mm display area
  • Faster processing: A 64-bit dual-core S4 processor said to be 2x faster than the S3 processor
  • An electrical heart sensor: Allowing you to take an ECG with an app that is coming out later this year

iphone xs heart rate
Apple CEO Tim Cook talks about the results you can get after measuring your ECG. 

  • Fall detection: When the watch detects that you’ve fallen, it’ll send you an alert asking if you’d like to call for help. If you’re immobile for a minute after a fall, the watch will call emergency services and send your location to emergency contacts

iphone xs fall
The Apple Watch Series 4 will call emergency services if it detects you are immobile one minute after a fall.

  • Haptic feedback on its Digital Crown
  • All-day battery life

Watch bands from previous Series will still be compatible with the Series 4, Apple added. 

It starts at US$399 (S$550) with GPS and US$499 (S$680) with cellular and GPS. In Singapore, it’ll come with Singtel as its cellular carrier, the Apple event revealed. Pre-orders open Sep 14 and will ship out on Sep 21.


During the launch, Apple also announced the following updates coming soon:

  • watchOS 5, iOS 12 and tvOS 12 will be available on Sep 17
  • macOS Mojave available on Sep 24.
Source: CNA/ek(mn)