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iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max: New iPhone rumours, release date and everything we know

Matthew Field
The new iPhone XS and XS Max - 9to5Mac
The new iPhone XS and XS Max - 9to5Mac

Apple fans are counting down the days until the company unveils its latest iPhones at its annual launch event in Cupertino, California. 

This year, Apple is expected to reveal a trio of handsets: two premium upgrades called the iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max, and a cheaper device that will be a follow up to the iPhone 8.  

Apple will reveal the new devices on September 12 at an event in the Steve Jobs Theatre at its headquarters. There is also rumoured to be a new Apple Watch Series 4.

This year's lineup is an "S year" - a move that suggests the devices will mostly include internal upgrades rather than a design overhaul.

All three of the new iPhones could feature an edge-to-edge screen, like the current iPhone X, alongside a TrueDepth camera system that can be used for Face ID. 

iPhone XS
A concept video of the new iPhone XS

Two of the devices are predicted to come with premium OLED (organic LED) screens, while one could use a cheaper LCD screen. Rumours suggest the OLED models be on sale in September and the LCD model in October.

Apple analyst expect to see a 5.8-inch OLED iPhone, a 6.5-inch OLED iPhone Plus and a 6.1-inch affordable LCD iPhone. They could all feature significantly improved battery life thanks to a new Apple-designed A12 processor.

Last year, Apple released one of its biggest smartphone upgrades in years with its tenth anniversary iPhone. The iPhone X (or "ten" as they like to call it) presented a major design shift with an all-screen front, a dual camera, wireless charging and facial recognition technology.

This year the company will be expected to improve on that design. While the iPhone X was a critical success, it was considered hugely expensive at £1,000 and, while profitable for Apple, has not sold in huge numbers like some of its older devices.

Here is everything we know so far about Apple's newest phone, and the Telegraph's take on the latest rumours.

iPhone 2018 release date

Apple is planning to announce its new iPhones at an event on September 12, according to an invitation sent to journalists and analysts.

The invitation sent by Apple.
The invitation sent by Apple.

Then it could be a couple of months before Apple's new products hit the shelves. Last year its iPhone 8 was released in the weeks after it was unveiled, but the iPhone X was not available to buy until November.

What will the new iPhone be called?

Apple fans will be reduced to guesswork on this question. However, news site 9to5Mac has said that the device will be called the "iPhone XS", returning Apple to its naming convention of adding an "s" to its new generation of smartphones. 

Bloomberg claims that Apple insiders have labeling the launch as an "S year," meaning the phones may feature internal upgrades rather than a major design upgrade. 

The larger version of the new phones is now expected to be called the iPhone XS Max, according to 9to5Mac. This would be an unusual break from Apple's numerical naming convention.

Some have posited it could be called the iPhone 9, but this would mean taking the iPhone naming out of sequence. There have been suggestions that the largest version of the new iPhone will be called the iPhone X Plus.

In 2017, Apple launched the iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, and the iPhone X (pronounced 10), but skipped iPhone 9, which has disrupting the naming patterns for the devices. 

What will the new iPhone XS look like?

The latest reports suggest the new iPhone will be similar in appearance to the iPhone X, but we may see several new size variants to provide new choice to consumers and upgrade the current iPhone 8 and 8 Plus smartphones.

The iPhone 8 features thicker bezels to the top and bottom of the phone, as well as a front fingerprint scanner. The current iPhone X has a screen which stretches almost the the sides of the phone's body and has no fingerprint scanner, having replaced the phone's unlocking mechanism with its Face ID facial recognition.

9to5Mac published an image of what it claimed was the new iPhones. It shows the devices in two sizes, with a new gold colour scheme.

A report from Bloomberg suggests the new phones will follow the iPhone X design. One is expected to be a larger, 6.5-inch iPhone. Meanwhile, Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has said he expects Apple to release three phones, one follow up to the 5.8-inch iPhone X, one iPhone X "Plus" phone with a 6.5-inch screen, and a cheaper 6.1-inch screen iPhone.

Concept designs of the revamped iPhone X and larger "iPhone X Plus - Credit: iDrop News
Concept designs of the revamped iPhone X and larger "iPhone X Plus Credit: iDrop News

Internally, the smaller new iPhone X has been code named D32, while the larger phone has been code named D33. Both are said to use next generation A12 processors.

The larger D33 phone could have the ability to show content side-by-side in apps like Mail and Messages, according to Bloomberg. 

Apple is planning dual-SIM card slots for both of the two larger phones some regions. 

A pair of dummy iPhone models obtained by Apple aficionado Benjamin Geskin show just what the new models might look like. While these are probably created from the current rumours and speculated design features, they do give a sense of how the new iPhones may pan out.

The dummy versions show what the larger 6.5-inch OLED and the purported 6.1-inch LCD version of the phone with a single-lens rear camera.

Rumour rating

7/10. It seems  likely Apple will keep to the iPhone X design and multiple sources suggest Apple will introduce a larger design. Last year, Apple announced three new smartphones for the first time, but it's not clear if it will do the same again.

What new colours will the iPhone XS come in?

There have been a few rumours suggesting Apple could release the iPhone in new colours designed to to boost sales and hit consumers in otherwise untapped markets. In fact, last year there were reports that Apple was planning to release a gold iPhone X.

Apple iPhone X in gold
Apple's unreleased prototype of a gold iPhone X

Belatedly these turned out to be correct. An Apple FCC filing that was recently made public and reported by MacRumours shows that there was a gold coloured iPhone X planned, but it never reached full production. So it may be a possibility that Apple will bring another colour to market when it releases the new iPhones later this year.

The latest product renders revealed in a leak of the iPhone XS suggest it will come in new gold colours.

There were also reports earlier this year that Apple would release a Product(Red) version of the iPhone 8 which turned out to be correct, so there is a possibility it may follow this up with a red iPhone X. Meanwhile, Ming-Chi Kuo reports that Apple will release several new colour varieties, including grey, white, blue, red and orange, according to 9to5Mac.

Rumour rating

9/10. We think this could be half right. It's likely that Apple will debut a new colour with the new iPhone, although it's hard to be certain since Apple appeared to drop its plans for additional colours last time. However, the latest reports suggest that a gold iPhone is almost definitely on the cards.

Concept designs of the colours and potential triple camera designs of the new iPhone - Credit: iDrop News
Concept designs of the colours and potential triple camera designs of the new iPhone Credit: iDrop News

What new features will the iPhone XS have?

Given the sweeping changes to last year's iPhone line-up there may not be the wholesale design changes we have seen on the new iPhones. However, there have been some reports indicating what kind of design elements users will see.

OLED screens

Reports from Bloomberg and the Wall Street Journal suggest Apple is sticking with OLED screens for its high-end smartphones. OLED (or Organic LED) screens allow for darker blacks and better contrasts between colours, but are significantly more expensive than standard LCD screens.

The prototypes have included a screen resolution of 1242 x 2688 with OLED screen technology. Multiple reports also claim Apple's cheaper version of the new iPhone will stick with LCD screens used on most previous iPhone models. 

Rumour rating

9/10. It seems fairly likely that Apple will stick with OLED screens for at least its premium versions of the iPhone. If Apple does go ahead with three smartphones as reports suggest, then a budget version would be logical.

Pressure sensitive display to be dropped

Apple may drop its pressure-sensitive display technology, known as 3D Touch, from its new iPhones, according to Barclays analyst Blayne Curtis.

The technology measures the amount of pressure applied to the display and performs different tasks based on this.

It was first introduced in the iPhone 6S and 6S Plus, but developers haven't been keen to include its functionality in their apps. 

Rumour rating

7/10. Apple executive said in 2015 that 3D Touch would be a 'huge waste' of talent and resources if it wasn't picked up by app developers - but that is exactly what happened.  

New wireless modems from Intel?

The iPhone this year will feature a new set of internal processors from a new manufacturer. Chip giant Qualcomm confirmed to investors that Apple was set to use a rivals microchips in its 2018 smartphones. This is because Apple and Qualcomm have been engaged in a legal battle.

This probably won't change a great deal about how the phone works, as it has used processors from both Intel and Qualcomm on occasions in the past.

Rumour rating

9/10. This one comes from Qualcomm's chief financial officer, so it is probably accurate. However, it is not likely to change much about the actual workings of the phone. 

Three new iPhones?

If we believe the reports, Apple will release three new smartphones this year. One an upgrade to the iPhone X, one larger iPhone X "Plus" phone and a budget version with an LCD screen.

Every year analysts predict there will be a three or even more new iPhones and until recently they were proved wrong. However, with the triple bill last year of the iPhone 8, 8 Plus and X it seems Apple is now willing to launch even more smartphone products. Apple leakers including Ben Geskin claim to have obtained versions of the front panels of the three new iPhones.

Rumour rating

6/10. It is hard to judge just yet whether Apple will keep up the pace of new phone releases, given previous reports that it intended to slow down its production cycle. It may be more likely that we simply see the current iPhone X updated rather than a full revamp.

Triple camera design

According to a report in China's Economic Daily News, the larger version of the new iPhone will include a triple rear camera. This has been implemented on rival phones, such as on the Huawei P20 Pro.

A triple camera design would give the iPhone advanced 3D sensing and use stereoscopic vision, with two of the sensors taking photos at different angles.

The triple-lens camera could improve the iPhone's augmented reality features and give it 3x optical zoom.

Another report on Forbes seems to back up these claims, but offers conflicting views from case manufacturers and supply chain sources, with some supporting the claims and another suggesting the new phone will stick with a dual camera.

Rumour rating

4/10. For now, this still seems like a long-shot. While Huawei has already employed a triple camera design, many reviews don't suggest it is significantly better than the iPhone X.

iOS 12 to come on iPhone XS

Apple will almost definitely release the new iPhone models with iOS 12, its software that was revealed at its developer conference earlier this year. The new software comes with time management and digital wellness features that can help users monitor the time they spend on their smartphones.

In-screen Touch ID

Chinese smartphone maker Vivo has already debuted a phone with a built-in fingerprint sensor in its screen. Apple, however, seems to have gone away from this route when it invested heavily in its Face ID facial recognition technology. While the loss of a fingerprint scanner left some users unsure, our review suggests turning to a facial recognition system now seems natural.

Rumour rating

4/10. There's nothing to suggest Apple will turn back to Touch ID on the iPhone X. However, it may keep a fingerprint scanner on whatever budget model it brings out.

Wireless charging dock released?

We have been waiting a year for Apple to finally release its own wireless charging dock, which was revealed this time last year. The charging pad would allow Apple users to simultaneously charge the new iPhone XS and the new Apple Watch. Perhaps we will see it on September 12.

Apple charge pad
Apple's wireless charge pad


How much will the iPhone 2018 cost?

There have been no new reports on the price of the new iPhones, although we can probably safely assume they will not be getting any cheaper. The old iPhone X started at £999 and the more expensive version came in at £1,149. We could well see an even more expensive version of the iPhone in September.