Apple releases new iPhones and announces upgrades to other products

The iPhone XS Max, pictured here in its gold color, arrived in stores on Sept. 21. Some new features include a 6.5-inch screen, which is the biggest yet on an iPhone, depth control in Portrait mode, and an A12 Bionic chip.

Wikimedia Commons

The iPhone XS Max, pictured here in its gold color, arrived in stores on Sept. 21. Some new features include a 6.5-inch screen, which is the biggest yet on an iPhone, depth control in Portrait mode, and an A12 Bionic chip.

by Nina Gee, Staff Illustrator

It’s that time again. The time that every tech enthusiast looks forward to at the beginning of the school year (or scowls at, if you’re an android fan). It’s come consistently every year since 2007, and is on par with holidays like Christmas or Halloween. Sweeping with both rave reviews and controversies alike: it’s iPhone season.

Early last month, Apple announced the iPhone XS (available at 64GB, 256GB or 512GB of storage for $999, $1,149 or $1,349), the newest addition to its impressive lineup of technology must-haves, as well as the iPhone XS Max ($1,099, $1,249 or $1,449), the iPhone XR (64GB at $749, 128GB at $799,  256GB at $899) and the Apple Watch Series 4 ($399) among other continuations to their trademark products. All four products boast Apple’s largest screens to date, as well as faster processing systems than ever.

Most impressive in the lineup is Apple’s latest update to the Apple Watch Series. Introduced in 2015, the Apple Watch and its updates continue to revolutionize communication, fitness and health. As the years progress, the Apple Watch seems to be something to look out for as it becomes an increasingly essential part of people’s lives.

“I like that I can get news headlines and check texts and emails really quickly, just to have a sense of sort of what is going on when I’m not in front of my laptop or my phone — I think that’s what it does for me,” history teacher Donna Gilbert said of her own Apple Watch.

I like that I can get news headlines and check texts and emails really quickly, just to have a sense of sort of what is going on when I’m not in front of my laptop or my phone — I think that’s what [the Apple Watch] does for me”

— Donna Gilbert

The Apple Watch Series 4 includes a new accelerometer and gyroscope, which are able to detect hard falls, and an electrical heart rate sensor that can take an electrocardiogram (ECG). More new features include its curved corners for a 30% larger display and its faster S4 processing chip. The Digital Crown, made to model those on mechanical watches, allows users to navigate the Apple Watch without obstructing the display. On the new model, users can access the ECG app with the touch of a finger. A staggering 18 hours of battery life makes it the longest lasting yet, and a 50% louder speaker makes calls clearer.

With the iPhone X, Apple aimed to revolutionize its user interface by including features like facial detection, the largest display seen on an iPhone yet and its impressive OLED display, and to pioneer advanced phone photography with portrait mode and the X’s two 12 megapixel telephoto and wide-angle cameras, among other new features.

“I would definitely say that the best feature of the iPhone X, or the 10, is the camera,” Jasmine Wiese (11) said. “Having both cameras, it’s really good. The portrait mode on it is just awesome, but it definitely took some getting used to. The screen is huge.”

The iPhone XS is that and more. But even so, according to Forbes Magazine, while sales for the first week out-paced both the iPhone 8 and the iPhone X in its first week by nearly 50%, it arrived in stores on Sept. 21 and, much to peoples’ chagrin, didn’t quite land with the innovative impact that the iPhone X had, partly due to having many of the same features and not enough new ones.

That’s not to say that it isn’t a good buy. The iPhone XS is graced with new features like wireless charging and stainless steel casing, as well as depth control in Portrait mode and a revolutionary A12 Bionic chip which, not only is 15% faster than last year’s A11, but will also provide an enhanced experience for new technologies such as augmented reality. The iPhone XS, like the iPhone X, is optimized for speed and efficiency, just at a much higher rate.

The iPhone XR, announced Sept. 12 and available in stores Oct. 29, sports a build more similar to the X’s predecessor, the iPhone 8, though its features resemble that of the iPhone X: for example, the A12 bionic processor, the front-facing camera with FaceID and Animoji, and the larger display. It also introduces liquid retina to the game, the largest LCD screen to ever grace a phone, along with water and dust resistance.

The iPhone XS is a great purchase to make if you have an older model. With the faster processing system, incredible photography features, and the convenience and efficiency of features like FaceID, the iPhone XS is well worth its price when compared to older models.

“I feel like if you’ve got the iPhone 8, I would say that it’s not really worth it, but if you came from a 6 like I did, I think it really made a difference for me,” Srivani Vegesna (11) said.

But if the $1000 price tag is a wallet buster, a smarter option would be to wait for further innovation from newer iPhones, or to stay with the iPhone 8 or iPhone X, if you own it already.