iPhone Xs Max $1,099
Screen screams bigger everything
The largest of Apple’s three new phones, the iPhone Xs Max, has a 6.5-inch screen that is longer than a ham and cheese sandwich from Subway. It might as well be called “excess max,” and it says a lot about our era of digital bingeing that Apple will probably sell them like hot cakes.
In most ways, this year’s iPhones look like last year’s iPhone X. There’s no home button on any of them — love it or hate it, Apple is putting the fingerprint reader permanently out to pasture. Apple promised a few other improvements over last year’s model that will require some real-world tests to vet: better cameras, a faster processor and a slightly longer battery life.
The big news is there are three new phones, and they are all huge: the 5.8-inch iPhone Xs ($999), the 6.1-inch iPhone XR ($749) and the 6.5-inch iPhone Xs Max. When you hold one, you will see that the phone’s overall shape is actually very similar to last year’s iPhone 8 Plus. What’s new is that Apple filled out the “forehead” and “chin” area with screen, giving you the whopping 6.5 inches.
Apple didn’t invent this big phone fashion. Samsung launched its Note line in 2011 with a 5.3-inch phone that seemed comical at the time. But now Apple’s largest bests even Samsung’s Note 9, which measures 6.4 inches. It’s an engineering marvel that Apple’s been able to pack in so much screen, so many sensors and so much processing power into such a small space.
What can you do with all that beautiful iPhone Xs Max screen? The phone, which costs more than a basic Apple laptop ($1,449 in its maxed-out Max configuration), is in many ways becoming a replacement for a laptop — minus the keyboard. Plenty of professionals will be able to get most of their (digital) work done on this device. Ten years into the iPhone revolution, most major websites now have a phone-friendly version that will look great and let you get down to business on that screen. There are lots of tasks you can now do best with apps.
It’s the perfect tool for taking bigger selfies or bigger Instagram pictures, for streaming even more Netflix. At one point during Apple’s keynote, three people demonstrating an augmented-reality game faced off while consumed by their giant screens, the perfect image for our binge smartphone times. Good luck ever putting it down. The iPhone Xs Max is the Supersized Big Mac and fries phone for an era of healthier digital diets.