That couldn’t be more incorrect. The iPhone 3GS brought speed, more storage, autofocus for the camera, and video recording; the 4S introduced Siri; the 5Sgave us Touch ID; the 6S birthed Live Photos and 3D Touch (though its usefulness is debatable); and if you think about it, the iPhone 8, which easily could have been called the 7S, helped make wireless charging more popular.
Both phones are Apple’s best combination of hardware and software. And they’re virtually identical, save for screen size and battery life.
I have no doubts the iPhone XS Max’s massive 6.5-inch OLED display will be the one everybody wants, but both it and the smaller iPhone XS have feature upgrades, like an all-new camera system that takes better photos than even the best Android phones. Those shouldn’t be overlooked because they’re mere internal improvements.
The new iPhones are just as expensive as the now-discontinued iPhone X, starting at $999 for a 64GB iPhone XS and $1,099 for a 64GB iPhone XS Max. Even more pricey is the new 512GB tier for both, which costs an insane $1,349 and $1,449, respectively.
But if you want the best iPhones — the ones with the most complete iPhone experience with zero tradeoffs (yes, iPhone XR, that was a reference to you) — the iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max are the the ones to get, and they’re worth the investment.
The iPhone X ushered in a new era for the iPhone: glass and stainless steel design, an edge-to-edge OLED screen, Face ID, wireless charging, and the controversial notch.
In a year’s time, the notch has gone from extremely disliked, to tolerable, to dare I say iconic. Nothing validates an initially questionable design choice more than the competition copying the crap out of it. Why change a design that’s already become immediately recognizable? So Apple didn’t.
As S models, the iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max mirror the overall design of the iPhone X: They have the same surgical-grade stainless steel band, the same glass back, the same OLED display, the same satisfyingly click buttons, the same wireless charging (it’s a little speedier this time, but only barely so), and the same notch with TrueDepth camera system (Face ID is a smidge faster and more responsive, but it still doesn’t work in landscape mode).
The iPhone XS is physically the same as the iPhone X, with one exception: It’s 0.1 ounces heavier. But it’s not like you’ll feel it.
The iPhone XS Max is a different beast altogether. It has about the same footprint as the iPhone 8 Plus (0.04 inches shorter, 0.2 inches narrower, 0.07 inches thicker, and 0.21 ounces heavier), but obviously fitted with a larger 6.5-inch OLED screen that stretches to the edges.
The thing that surprised me the most about the iPhone XS Max wasn’t just its massive screen, but how light it feels. Even though it’s heavier than the iPhone 8 Plus, it somehow feels lighter. I’ll probably have to wait until an iFixit teardown to see how the innards are arranged and if it has any bearing on this strange lightness, but whatever the cause is, I really like it.