When Dark Mode was marketed as a headline feature in iOS 13, Apple promoted it as an alternative new look that was easier on the eyes when viewed in dark environments. Oddly though, Apple never mentioned that it also potentially offers energy-saving benefits – particularly for OLED iPhones, since pixels on an OLED panel are individually powered and true black pixels remain inactive.
That potential battery saving has now been put to the test. In an experiment shared on YouTube, PhoneBuff used robotic arms to interact with two fully charged iPhones running iOS 13, with one running in Dark Mode and the other in Light mode. The robots worked their way through various native and third-party apps, all of which support both iOS display modes, until the iPhones died.
The results are pretty conclusive: The test found that an iPhone XS Max using Dark Mode uses up significantly less battery than an iPhone XS Max using Light Mode. When the Light Mode-enabled iPhone XS Max died, the Dark Mode iPhone XS Max still had 30 percent battery life remaining.
PhoneBuff notes one important variable in his test that conditioned the results: The iPhones both had their displays set to 200 nits brightness. At 100 nits, which is what you'd expect indoors, two hours on Twitter saved just 5 percent more battery in Dark Mode. The same test performed at 300 nits, which is closer to outdoors use, saw Dark Mode save 12 percent battery.
Either way, the test appears to prove that Dark Mode is a significant battery saver for OLED iPhones, which include the iPhone X, iPhone XS, and iPhone 11 Pro, but not the iPhone XR or iPhone 11. You can watch the video embedded above for the full lowdown.
Apple's new iPhone 11 Pro Max is similar in design to the previous-generation iPhone XS Max, with the exception of a significantly upgraded camera system.
In our latest YouTube video, we went hands-on with the triple-lens camera in the iPhone 11 Pro Max and compared it to the dual-lens camera in the iPhone XS Max to see just how much of an upgrade it is.
From a pure hardware standpoint, all of the cameras in the iPhone 11 Pro Max are better than the cameras in the iPhone XS Max. The main wide-angle camera has a larger sensor that lets in more light, the telephoto lens now features a larger f/2.0 aperture, and there's a new ultra wide angle camera (f/2.4) that didn't exist before.
In practice, though, there isn't a lot of difference between wide-angle camera comparison shots taken with the iPhone 11 Pro Max and the iPhone XS Max in good lighting conditions.
The iPhone 11 Pro Max is sharper in some situations with more vivid coloring, but there are also instances where certain areas of the image get more blown out than with the iPhone XS Max. Image quality between the two phones may change later this year when Deep Fusion, a new iPhone 11 feature, comes out.
Deep Fusion uses machine learning for pixel-by-pixel processing of photos, optimizing for texture, detail, and noise.
When it comes to Portrait Mode, edge detection in the iPhone 11 Pro Max is also similar to edge detection in the iPhone XS Max, so for well-composed shots in good lighting, you're not going to see a lot of difference.
There are new portrait mode capabilities worth highlighting, however. You can now take wide-angle portrait mode shots with the 1x lens in addition to the telephoto lens, so you can get more in a shot if desired. The telephoto lens itself has also been improved, so Portrait Mode shots in lower lighting will turn out better.
The iPhone 11 Pro Max has the ultra wide-angle camera, which is entirely new and allows you to take wider shots than were possible with the iPhone XS Max. For comparison's sake, the ultra wide-angle camera offers a 13mm equivalent focal length, while the wide-angle camera is 26mm and the telephoto is 52mm.
The new 13mm focal length makes a world of difference for landscape and architecture shots, plus it can be used creatively for closer shots with unique perspectives. An ultra wide-angle lens is an excellent addition to a smartphone and is perhaps more useful than even a telephoto lens.
The ultra wide-angle lens has an f/2.4 aperture and no optical image stabilization like the other lenses in the iPhone 11 Pro Max, so it doesn't do quite as well in lower lighting conditions and images aren't quite as crisp, but it's great in the proper lighting, such as outdoors.
All three cameras are available for both photography and video recording, and you can switch between them at will with a new toggle in the camera app.
Along with the wide-angle lens, the real difference between the iPhone 11 Pro Max and the XS Max is the new Night mode and the low light capabilities of the 2019 iPhones.
The iPhone 11 Pro Max's Night mode uses machine learning and multiple shots to create usable photographs even when it's close to pitch black outside, while still preserving the color and the feel of a night time photo.
Night mode is drastically different than even the best low light shots from the iPhone XS Max and it allows iPhone users to capture shots that just wouldn't have turned out on the iPhone XS Max.
Night mode exposures range from 1 seconds to 10 seconds, based on the ambient lighting conditions, how still you hold your iPhone, and more, and the feature basically uses multiple combined shots to create one image so you need to make sure you're holding the iPhone steady or using a tripod.
Shots taken this way aren't great for moving objects like pets or kids, and Night mode photos aren't always as crisp especially when it's close to pitch black, but you can get some amazing looking images when using it.
As for the front-facing camera, it's also been improved. There's a 12-megapixel lens (up from 7-megapixels) and Apple is using next-generation Smart HDR (this is available for the rear camera too), so that "beauty filter" that people disliked in the iPhone XS Max has been toned down. In good lighting, though, there's not a ton of difference between front-facing shots from the iPhone 11 Pro Max and the XS Max.
The front-facing camera supports 4K at 60 frames per second and slow motion 120fps video at 1080p, allowing for slow motion selfies, aka "Slofies." The other major change to the front-facing camera is an option to get a wider shot, so you can zoom in or zoom out as desired, which is perfect for group selfies.
All in all, most iPhone XS Max users may not want to upgrade to the iPhone 11 Pro Max, but the exception is people who love taking photos with the iPhone. The cameras are dramatically improved with the ultra wide-angle lens and the new Night mode, letting users capture shots that were not possible with the previous-generation device.
Brick-and-mortar Apple stores are now offering iPhone XS models with 64GB, 256GB, and 512GB storage for $899, $1,049, and $1,249, respectively.
The larger iPhone XS Max now starts at $999 for the 64GB model, rising to $1,149 for 256GB storage, and $1,349 for the 512GB capacity.
The iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max are no longer listed on Apple’s online store, having been superseded by the new iPhone 11 Pro and iPhone 11 Pro Max, which are set to launch on September 20.
Out of Apple’s 2018 iPhone lineup, only the iPhone XR is still available to order online, alongside its successor, the iPhone 11, which also launches September 20. Pre-orders for the all-new models begin on September 13.
iPhone XR remained the best-selling iPhone model in the United States in the first quarter of 2019, as it was in the fourth quarter of 2018, according to a survey conducted by research firm CIRP and provided to MacRumors.
The research firm found that the iPhone XR accounted for 38 percent of U.S. iPhone sales during the quarter, ahead of the iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max with a combined 21 percent of sales during the three-month period.
If accurate, the data is rather unsurprising, as the iPhone XR has the lowest price of the three new iPhones that Apple released in late 2018. The colorful handset starts at $749, compared to $999 for the iPhone XS and $1,099 for the iPhone XS Max, with many reviews labeling it the "best iPhone for the money."
iPhone XR continues to dominate US iPhone sales. It remains the best-selling individual model again this quarter, after launch early in the December 2018 quarter. In the US, the newest iPhone models sold about as well as the newest models a year ago, at about 60% of total sales. Based on these trends, we estimate an Average Selling Price of around $800, a decrease from the previous quarter.
The usual caveats apply, including that Apple no longer discloses iPhone unit sales, nor has it ever provided a model-by-model breakdown of iPhone sales. CIRP bases its findings on a rather small survey of 500 customers.
Apple today announced that all new and updated iPhone and iPad apps submitted to the App Store on and after March 27, 2019 must be built with the iOS 12.1 SDK or later and support the iPhone XS Max and/or the latest 12.9-inch iPad Pro. App Store screenshots for those devices will also be required.
Likewise, all new apps and app updates for Apple Watch will need to be built with the watchOS 5.1 SDK or later and support the Apple Watch Series 4.
Alongside the second generation of AirPods, Apple today refreshed its iPhone case and Apple Watch band lineup for spring. In Silicone cases for iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max you can now choose from Spearmint, Papaya, and Delft Blue.
Apple Watch Sport Bands are also matching the new iPhone case colors in Spearmint, Delft Blue, and Papaya. You can get these in 40mm or 44mm to fit all previous generations of Apple Watch and Apple Watch Series 4.
In Sport Loop there is Papaya, Cerulean, Spearmint, and Lilac as well. Just like Sport Bands, these are available in both 40mm and 44mm sizes.
The Nike Sport Band lineup also updated with Black/Hyper Grape, Spruce Fog/Vintage Lichen, and Teal Tint/Tropical Twist. These bands are made with the same fluoroelastomer as Apple's Sport Bands.
There are also new Nike Sport Loop bands, in Spruce Fog, Teal Tint, Hyper Grape, Summer White, and Black.
New Modern Buckle colors include Cornflower, Lilac, and Sunset. These join new Leather Loop colors in Cornflower and Sunset as well.
Lastly, new Hermès options include Rose Sakura/Craie/Argile Swift Leather Double Tour, Bleu Lin/Craie/Bleu du Nord Swift Leather Double Tour, and Etoupe Swift Leather Double Tour. Single Tour bands get the same new colorways.
Head to Apple.com to purchase the cases and bands, and check out our post on the second generation of AirPods for more information on Apple's latest wireless headphones.
Online retailers in China have begun discounting iPhones for the second time this year. Reuters reports that several mobile vendors this week announced discounts on iPhone models, including Apple's latest flagship iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max.
Gadget retailer Suning.Com Co Ltd said it would slash the price of the iPhone XS by as much as 1,000 yuan ($148.95) from its official price. Suning had lowered the prices of other iPhone models in January along with other retailers, but those cuts excluded the iPhone XS.
Pinduoduo Inc, an e-commerce site best known for selling inexpensive goods, has also said it would sell the 64GB edition of the iPhone XS for 6,999 yuan, a drop of over 1,000 yuan from the official price.
JD.com is also reportedly poised to offer discounts on its Apple products, including the iPhone XS and XS Max, which escaped the online retail giant's first major round of discounts in January.
Apple launched the price cuts after seeing iPhone sales fall significantly in China during the holiday quarter of 2018, leading to lower iPhone revenue than expected. One report said Apple was seeing improved iPhone sales in China following the price cuts.
Apple has also partnered with Ant Financial, the finance arm of Alibaba Group Holding Ltd, and several state-owned banks to let consumers purchase iPhones via interest-free loans.
Apple CEO Tim Cook said in January that the company was reevaluating its pricing strategies in some international markets, returning to pricing that's "more commensurate" with what local prices were last year to boost its iPhone sales.
Cook also said he believes Apple's higher prices were a factor in the declining number of iPhone upgrades that led to a weaker holiday quarter. In some international markets, the strength of the U.S. dollar amplified pricing increases.
As in the United States, Apple is offering higher trade-in values for select older iPhone models towards the purchase of a new iPhone XR or iPhone XS. The iPhone XR starts at $1,229 in Australia, for example, but customers can purchase the device for as low as $849 when trading in an iPhone 7 Plus until next week.
Apple has been heavily promoting iPhone XR and iPhone XS trade-ins with a prominent banner on the homepage of its website, store signage, App Store editorials, emails to older iPhone users, and more since the smartphones launched last year.
In a letter to shareholders last month, Apple said it saw fewer iPhone upgrades than it anticipated last quarter, primarily due to greater-than-expected economic weakness in the Greater China region. Apple said making smartphone trade-ins at its stores easier is one step it would take to improve results.
No end date has been specified for the U.S. promotion as of yet.
Apple COO Jeff Williams spoke at Elon University on Friday, Feb. 22 and spoke of his history in joining Apple in 1998. The Times News covers his talk in detail. Williams also took questions from students in the audience. One student asked Williams if Apple had any plans to reduce prices considering the seemingly large margins on Apple products based on analyst reports.
Williams dismissed those reports, suggesting the actual cost of development isn't considered:
“The stories that come out about the cost of our products [have been] the bane of my existence from the beginning of time, including our early days,” Williams said. “Analysts don’t really understand the cost of what we do and how much care we put into making our products.”
He goes on to explain that to build the Apple Watch's activity tracker, Apple built a physiology lab with 40 nurses and 10,000 participants. Still, Williams conceded it's an area that they are paying attention to:
“It’s something we’re very aware of,” he said. “We do not want to be an elitist company. That’s not — we want to be an egalitarian company, and we’ve got a lot of work going on in developing markets.”
The Times News article goes on to cover Williams' talk about his reasons for joining Apple back in 1998, as well as how it feels to be part of a company that has been so successful.
Pricing on Apple's flagship phones has been cited as a factor in iPhone sales underperformance in the last quarter. Apple's flagship iPhone has increased in price over the years with the most recent iPhone XS Max starting at $1099.
iPhone XS Max users experience more than two times faster real-world LTE data speeds as iPhone 5s users on average in the United States, according to OpenSignal, although there are caveats to consider.
OpenSignal says it measured speeds on hundreds of thousands of iPhones across the United States from October 26, 2018 to January 24, 2019 and found that iPhone XS Max users experienced an average LTE download speed of 21.7 Mbps compared to just 10.2 Mbps for iPhone 5s users.
iPhone XS users saw an average LTE download speed of 17.6 Mbps, while iPhone 6 through iPhone 8 Plus users posted average LTE download speeds of between 15.6 Mbps and 17.1 Mbps, as measured by OpenSignal.
OpenSignal attributes the faster data speeds on newer iPhones to improved modems and antenna designs in those devices, such as 4x4 MIMO support in the iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max compared to 2x2 MIMO on older iPhones, but the results are also likely influenced by socioeconomic factors.
Someone who is still using an iPhone 5s in 2019 could be a price-conscious consumer who is unable to justify the cost of upgrading to a newer iPhone, for example, while relying on a discount carrier with inferior wireless coverage or capped data speeds compared to major carriers such as Verizon and AT&T.
That said, while the results may be somewhat skewed, a newer iPhone should be able to achieve faster data speeds than an older iPhone, assuming it's connected to a cellular tower with the latest LTE equipment.