Apple unveils new flagship phone for $1099 and 'budget' model for $749

Apple (AAPL) unveiled a suite of new iPhones on Wednesday from the Steve Jobs Auditorium in Cupertino, Calif., a long-awaited moment for consumers and investors alike.

The flagship model, the iPhone Xs, will cost $999. Another, larger model, the Xs Max, will cost $1,099. Apple will also unveil a “budget” phone for $749. They will be available in stores on September 21.

Faster FaceID, better speakers, water-resistance, and improved display

The iPhone Xs — which is 5.8 inches long, the same size as the iPhone X — is similar to the current iPhone X model in other ways, too. However, it boasts upgrades like a faster processor, upgraded camera, and a more dynamic display. The phone will come in a new color, gold, to accompany silver and space gray.

Apple VP Phil Schiller unveils the new iPhone Xs. (Apple)
Apple VP Phil Schiller unveils the new iPhone Xs. (Apple)

A larger version, the iPhone Xs Max, was also introduced, the biggest iPhone ever with a massive 6.5-inch screen.

Apple VP Phil Schiller, who presented at the event, said the new flagship iPhone Xs and iPhone Xs Max are more splash and water-resistant and can withstand up to six and a half feet of water for 30 minutes.

The new phones feature faster FaceID, better speakers, and an improved display. The iPhone Xs-series camera has an improved camera with a new, larger sensor and bigger pixels with a faster processor to enable users to change the depth-of-field of a photo after you take it.

Schiller also said that Apple’s improvements enhance the camera just as much as the sensors, enabling it to add new features like Smart HDR, which stitches together one superior image from a slew of photos.

The phones feature a new processor, the “A12 Bionic,” which Apple executives said boosts speed considerably, to 5 trillion operations per second. Accompanying the hardware changes will be a new iOS, 12, which Apple says will be nine times faster with a tenth of the energy. This, executives said, will enable new types of innovations from developers in augmented reality and other fields.

The iPhone Xs battery life adds 30 minutes to the X and the Xs Max adds 90 minutes.

A Chinese model will have dual SIM card slots, a win for globe-trotting consumers and anyone who wants a second line, but most phones will have something call eSim, which is a virtual SIM card that functions the same way. Apple has been working with all the big carriers and to roll out the functionality this fall.

The new budget model

Apple also unveiled a “budget” offering with a new phone, the iPhone Xr, which will cost $749. (The iPhone 7 is still available for $449.)

The phone uses aluminum instead of steel, and has a 6.1-inch LCD screen instead of the more expensive OLED displays featured in the higher end iPhones. OLED screens don’t require any backlights like LCDs do and are higher quality, but the LCD is cheaper.

The iPhone Xr. (Apple)
The iPhone Xr. (Apple)

The iPhone Xr has FaceID like its more expensive siblings, and runs with the same chip, the A12 Bionic. Besides the lower-cost body and screen, the iPhone Xr has a simpler one-lens 12MP camera instead of the double model. Still, Schiller said it can do portrait mode without the second lens.

Battery life is improved over the iPhone 8 Plus by 90 minutes. The model will come in white, black, blue, coral, red, and yellow.

Recently, iPhone sales growth has flagged thanks to a changing mobile phone landscape. Apple has responded by raising prices to ensure phones are still its key money-maker.

Apple’s current lineup of iPhones is enormous. (Apple)
Apple’s current lineup of iPhones is enormous. (Apple)

Ethan Wolff-Mann is a writer at Yahoo Finance focusing on consumer issues, retail, personal finance, and more. Follow him on Twitter @ewolffmann.

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