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Apple iPhone XS and XS Max rumors and leaks: Everything we know so far

Up to three new iPhones are expected to land at a media event on September 12

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Apple is widely expected to announce a new range of iPhones at a media event held at the Steve Jobs Theater on its California campus on September 12.

The event, a year on from the launch of the iPhone 8, 8 Plus and iPhone X, was announced by Apple in late-August, with invitations to the press and analysts reading: "Gather round. Please join us for a special event".

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With the big event less than a week away, GearBrain has rounded up everything we have heard so far about the new iPhone, including all of the latest leaks, rumors and analyst speculation.

What will the 2018 iPhone be called?

Ever since the iPhone 3GS in 2009, Apple has upheld a tradition of launching an 'S' model every other year. So, while the iPhone X disregarded the company's other naming convention by skipping the iPhone 9, is makes sense for the X's replacement to be called the iPhone XS.

Indeed, this is what a report by 9to5Mac claimed in late-August, with the often-reliable website stating: "We can report with certainty that iPhone XS will be the name." The same report also claimed other details of the new iPhone with equal certainty, but we will come to those later in this article.

A week later, the same publication reported that a larger version of the iPhone XS will be called the XS Max. This goes against Apple's usual nomenclature, which since the iPhone 6 of 2014 has called its larger handsets 'Plus'. Dropping the Plus name is something Bloomberg also reported in August.

The below image, published by 9to5Mac, is claimed to be genuine and produced by Apple itself — not a mock up based on rumors:

Picture of iPhone x9to5Mac

What will be the screen sizes of the iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max?

Apple currently sells four sizes of iPhone. First there's the 4-inch SE, then the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus measure 4.6 and 5.5 inches respectively, and finally the iPhone X in 5.8 inches — although the overall size of the X is less than the 8 Plus thanks to its edge-to-edge display and no home button.

Again, it's 9to5Mac which has the inside line on this, reporting that the iPhone XS Max will measure 6.1 inches, while the XS will be the same as the X, at 5.8 inches.

These two phones have been all-but confirmed by a leaked image above, showing the pair with a new gold color option and a new wallpaper on their screens.

A third iPhone, referred to by the rumor mill as the LCD iPhone, is also said to be in the works. Less is known about this handset, as it did not appear in the leaked image, but it will reportedly be offered as a cheaper alternative to the XS duo. LCD screens are cheaper to produce than the OLED panel used by the iPhone X (and surely the XS), but produce less vivid colors.

According to renowned and often-accurate analyst Ming-Chi Kuo - and reported by MacRumors — this LCD iPhone will have a huge 6.1-inch display and the same design as the XS and XS Max, complete with a screen notch housing Apple's Face ID biometric system. Kuo believes the LCD iPhone — dubbed the iPhone 9 in some quarters — will have a lower screen resolution and a pixel density of between 320 and 330 per inch, compared to the 458 of the iPhone X and speculated 480-500 of the iPhone XS Max.

Although speculation around a second-generation iPhone SE grew earlier in 2018, the device never materialized, leaving us to wonder if Apple will offer an update for its smallest smartphone, or not.

Picture of new iPhonesApple

Will the iPhone XS be more powerful?

In a word, yes. The S moniker of Apple's iPhones has become synonymous with a speed increase over the previous model, while retaining the same physical design. For the iPhone XS this will likely mean a more powerful processor than the iPhone X's A11 chip, and an increase in RAM from 3GB to 4GB — however, Apple rarely says how much RAM its phones have, instead preferring to state how much quicker the device is at certain tasks.

Are there going to be new colors for the 2018 iPhones?

Until now, the iPhone X has only been offered in gray and white, both with a black front. Now, the leaked image of the iPhone XS and XS Max all-but confirms that gold will be added to the color palette. And, judging by the image, this isn't the same subtle gold as the iPad and MacBook range — no, this is super-shiny gold like the finish of the original Apple Watch Edition, only without using real gold this time.

As for the LCD iPhone, it is once again Kuo who has the gossip, claiming color options will include gray, white, blue, red and orange. Apple hasn't offered so many colors for any handset since the iPhone 5C of 2013, which also came in five shades.

What software will the iPhone XS run?

Apple is busy working on iOS 12, which is available now as a public beta and will be released as a finished operating system this fall. As in previous years, Apple will likely make iOS 12 available to everyone in the days between the iPhone XS being announced on September 12, and it going on sale later in the month.

Picture of the iPhone screen.Apple

What about any stand-out features?

Apple usually gives the S upgrade a stand-out new feature to set it apart from its predecessor. In the past this has included Siri on the iPhone 4S, Touch ID on the 5S and 3D Touch on the 6S. But, so far, the rumor mill has failed to come up with a definitive answer on what new feature the iPhone XS might have.

It is safe to rule out an in-display Touch ID fingerprint reader at this stage as, according to another research note by Kuo, Apple will not include this technology on devices in 2018 or 2019.

It has also been speculated that Apple will give the new iPhones support for its stylus, the Apple Pencil, which is currently exclusive to the iPad range. This could make sense for the big new 6.1-inch iPhone, but we're not sure if iPhone buyers really want a stylus, and especially one which is much larger than its only obvious rival, the S Pen of the Samsung Galaxy Note. Kuo also doubts this will happen.

A camera upgrade is often featured on the 'S' model, but we are yet to hear anything about the photography skills of the XS. For now, it looks like the XS will offer enhanced performance and the new gold option as its main selling point — along with the larger screen size of the XS Max.-


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