iPhone Xs and Xs Max global launch today: When is the iPhone Xs available in the UK?

The Apple iPhone Xs and Xs Max are real – and today’s the launch day. Apple’s handsets have been pre-ordered at a range of online retailers, including Vodafone, EE, O2 and many more, with devices shipping today.

Australia and New Zealand were among the first countries to see the handsets administered to customers, owing to time zones. Reports have been flooding in of customers queuing up to get their hands on the devices; Singapore’s Orchard Road store has seen a veritable maelstrom in the streets, with hundreds of Apple fans camping out in the street. Risk of heat there has seen customers given wristbands to mark their places; they’re permitted up to one hour breaks for meals.

As for the UK, iPhone releases here started at 8am on Friday 21 September.

Pre-order the iPhone Xs and Xs Max here

If you’re keen to get your hands on the sparkly new devices, now’s your time. Meanwhile, those hoping to get their mitts on Apple’s new “entry-level” handset – the iPhone XR – will face more of a wait. Pre-orders open for the iPhone XR from 19 October, and the devices will start shipping the subsequent week, on 26 October.

First unveiled at Apple’s “Gather round” event on 12 September, Apple gave us an in-depth look at both of its new iPhones. For those who didn’t get the memo, the iPhone Xs and Xs Max are actually the iPhone 11 and iPhone 11 Plus – Apple’s just gone about naming them differently this time around. The adoption of an “s” to the iPhone X name does fit with Apple’s iteration cycle, and the iPhone Xs is, by and large, a simple evolution of what’s come before.


Read on to find out everything we know about the iPhone Xs and its larger counterpart, the iPhone Xs Max. Plus, here are some of the best places to pre-order from right now.

The best Apple iPhone Xs deals

  • O2 – 50GB data, £30 upfront, £63.50/mth for 36 months, total cost £1128 – Get it here
  • EE – 100GB data, £10 upfront, £83/mth for 24 months, total cost £2,002 – Get it here
  • Carphone Warehouse – With iD: £250 upfront, £40/mth for 24 months, total cost £1210 – Get it here
  • Three – Unlimited data, £79 upfront, £52/mth for 24 months, total cost £1,328 – Get it here
  • Mobiles.co.uk – With O2: 30GB data, £275 upfront, £46/mth for 24 months, total cost £1379 – Get it here
  • Sky Mobile (data plan sold separately) – £0 upfront, £37/mth for 30 months, total cost £1,110 – Get it here

The best Apple iPhone Xs Max deals

  • O2 – 50GB data, £30 upfront, £66.50/mth for 36 months, total cost £1236 – Get it here
  • EE – 100GB data, £10 upfront, £88/mth for 24 months, total cost £2,122 – Get it here
  • Carphone Warehouse – With O2: Unlimited data, £200 upfront, £65/mth for 24 months, total cost £1,760 – Get it here
  • Three – Unlimited data, £99 upfront, £64/mth for 24 months, total cost £1,760 – Get it here
  • Mobiles.co.uk – With O2: 25GB data, £10 upfront, £75/mth for 24 months, total cost £1,809 – Get it here
  • Sky Mobile (data plan sold separately) – £0 upfront, £41/mth for 30 months, total cost £1,110 – Get it here

iPhone Xs release date: When does it go on sale?

The iPhone Xs and iPhone Xs Max are available for preorder on the Apple store from Friday 14 September and first orders will begin shipping next week, on Friday 21 September.


For some countries, including Greece and Andora, both new flagship iPhones won’t ship until 28 September. Thankfully those of us in the UK and US, along with a handful of other European countries, 21 September is all you have to worry about.

iPhone Xs price: How much do both iPhones cost?

In typical Apple fashion, neither the iPhone Xs or iPhone Xs Max are cheap. The smaller iPhone Xs starts at £999 for a 64GB model. The iPhone Xs Max clocks in at £1,099 for the same 64GB storage space. If you want more, you can pick either 256GB or a mighty 512GB model.

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Just to put things into perspective, if you want to go for the top-line iPhone Xs Max with 512GB storage, it’ll set you back a whopping £1,499. Without going into if it’s really worth spending that much money on a phone, you can get financing options from both Barclays and PayPal if you absolutely must have one.

iPhone Xs design: What do the new iPhones look like?

During Apple’s event many details were given about all manner of the iPhone Xs and iPhone Xs Max’s features, but not much was said around its actual design.


That’s not too surprising though as it’s practically the same as last year’s iPhone X. Apple says it’s made from surgical-grade stainless steel and comes with an IP68 rating to make it the most durable iPhone yet. Now Apple has finally reached the same water and dust resistivity rating of many flagship Android devices, users can now look forward to dropping it in up to two meters of salt or freshwater for 30 minutes.

Apple also announced that you’ll be able to get the iPhone Xs and iPhone Xs Max in Silver, Space Gray and a new Gold colour. That’s right, Rose Gold is no more.


In China, the iPhone Xs and iPhone Xs Max saw the biggest change with support for a dual-SIM setup via the iPhone’s physical SIM tray. Outside of China, the iPhone Xs only supports dual-SIM via Apple’s own eSIM system. It’s not yet known who will support this fully in the UK but both EE and Vodafone were shown on stage so expect those to be leading the pack in Europe.

iPhone Xs display: What is the new iPhone screen like?

Both of this year’s iPhones have super-sized displays for their form factor. The iPhone Xs comes with a 5.8in display and the iPhone Xs Max boasts a whopping 6.5in one. Thankfully, due to the iPhone Xs Max’s edge-to-edge display, this huge screen is contained within a form factor that’s no bigger than the iPhone 8 Plus.


Both screens boast, what Apple is calling, a Super Retina HD display. This means it’s still a dazzling True-Tone OLED display with a 2,346 x 1,125-pixel resolution on the Xs and 2,668 x 1,242-pixel resolution on the Xs Max. It also has support for HDR10 and Dolby Vision. It’s also now capable of 60% wider dynamic range than the iPhone X and comes with 120Hz touch-response so it’s blazingly quick at reading and reacting to your inputs.

iPhone Xs camera: How good is the next iPhone camera?

A phone is really just the sum of its parts and, for most people, that means if the camera is crap the phone is practically worthless. Thankfully, this time around, it looks as if Apple has spent a lot of time investing in its camera technology. The iPhone 8 Plus previously boasted a great snapper for video recording, but not much anything super strong for photography. This year’s iPhone Xs and Xs Max seem to have remedied the problem and has done so mostly through software advancements rather than an overhaul of its camera module.


Both the iPhone Xs and iPhone Xs Max contain the same dual-camera setup. On the surface it seems that the dual 12-megapixel wide-angle and telephoto cameras are identical to that of the iPhone X’s, but there are a few small differences. Both cameras still have a f/1.8 wide-angle and f/2.4 telephoto lens and optical image stabilisation and wide colour capture.


In fact, the biggest change is the addition of “advanced bokeh and Depth Control” along with something Apple is calling “Smart HDR”.
This Smart HDR programme essentially aids you in taking stunning photos. With zero shutter lag, new secondary frames and a much faster sensor, you’re sure to be impressed by the performance of the iPhone Xs’ camera.

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What’s more, the new sensor in question guarantees better colour accuracy, as well as reducing noise in those all important low-light shots. Portraiture shots take on a newfound glamour, with a sophisticated background blur adding to the professionalism of users’ photography.


As for Depth Control, users can adjust depth of field in shots after they’ve been taken, adding to the photographic drama. Plenty of impressive stuff going on in the iPhone XS’s camera, then.

iPhone Xs battery: What’s the battery life of the iPhone Xs?

When it comes to battery life, the iPhone Xs and Xs Max don’t disappoint. Apple’s brand new handsets offer all-day battery life. The company is assuring prospective buyers that, when its software teams build features, “they tailor their algorithms to optimise for performance and efficiency on the chip”, and vice versa.


Don’t expect to be caught short any time soon with the iPhone Xs and Xs Max.

iPhone Xs features: What else does the iPhone Xs have to offer?

This is 2018, and Apple would have been mad to overlook augmented and/or virtual reality. Good thing it hasn’t, with the iPhone Xs offering unprecedented AR. Users will benefit from a combination of the handset’s advanced camera sensor, ISP, Neural Engine, gyroscope and accelerated plane detection. In fact, Apple’s so sure of its augmented reality capability that it has dubbed it “the best AR platform in the world”.


Face ID is another recurring feature of the iPhone Xs. The company has long made it clear that one of its core principles rests on privacy – that privacy is a fundamental human right. And it’s done a tip-top job of bolstering that privacy, with the secure facial authentication offered by Face ID. Users’ data is encrypted and protected by the Security Enclave, a tiny part of its chip, meaning data can’t even be accessed by iOS or any apps.

This extends to iMessage and FaceTime conversations, which are encrypted for users’ protection, à la WhatsApp, meaning not even Apple can read them.

iPhone Xs specs: What’s inside the iPhone Xs?

With the iPhone Xs, speed is a priority; it delivers 4G LTE Advanced for ridiculously zippy download speeds. There’s plenty of space for said downloads, too; storage goes up to 512GB (although be prepared to remortgage your house for quite that much space).

What’s powering this mighty performance? Apple’s A12 Bionic chip, which comes equipped with the impressive Neural Engine. It’s this technology that’s behind a lot of the iPhone Xs’ frankly marvellous camera; it can uses machine learning to identify faces in shot and detect specific features.

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