Solid updates to a winning formula

Last year, Apple did something out of character: it introduced the usual update to the iPhone, the iPhone 8, while simultaneously introducing the iPhone X with a flurry of hype. The iPhone X was a total rethinking of the iPhone, with a new gesture system, Face ID unlocking, and an edge-to-edge screen that prompted a wave of app redesigns.

The iPhone X was meant to usher in the future of phones, and it succeeded; its influence (and its notch) are all over the industry now. Apple has gone from being an iPhone company to being an iPhone X company. This year, the iPhone X comes in one of two flavors: the updated, high-end iPhone XS and the midrange iPhone XR, which won’t arrive until next month.

There are two iPhone XS models: the 5.8-inch XS and the new iPhone XS Max, which has a much larger 6.5-inch display and a frankly ridiculous name.

Really, both iPhone XS models are fundamentally just spec-bumped updates to the iPhone X. They have a new main camera sensor, a new processor, and a bunch of small updates that add up to a much nicer device than the X. One year after the notch, the arrival of the iPhone XS means we can look back at all the changes introduced by the iPhone X and see how they’ve gone, while looking at where Apple’s pushing the high end of phones next.

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