Indeed, Apple spent time digging into just how the machine learning chip enhances the capabilities of the iPhone. Some of the main benefits are camera-related, for things like Animoji and portrait modes. But it's also important for AR, which is another key feature for Apple's iOS devices going forward. Additionally, the neural processor takes some pressure off the GPU, which means it can spend more of its power on rendering graphics and real-time lighting.
It took Apple a while to get to it, but both the front- and rear-facing cameras got upgraded as well. Like last year, the wide-angle and telephoto cameras are both 12 megapixels, but there's a new sensor for the wide-angle camera. Both cameras have optical image stabilization as well, and the True Tone sensor has also been improved. The front-facing camera sticks with a 7-megapixel camera, but it also has a faster sensor than last year's.
In keeping with the theme of Apple's powerful processor, Schiller spent plenty of time talking about how the processor helps make better images and said that every time you take a picture the A12 carries out 1 trillion operations. And all this power is being used for a new feature called Smart HDR. To put it simply, the camera takes many photos in one shot to merge them all together so everything is properly exposed. That's the basic concept of HDR, but we didn't get a lot of detail on exactly how this differs from past implementations. It sounds like the processor's power allows for more shots to be taken and the phone is smarter about merging them all together.
Additionally, portrait-mode results look better than before: The software-created background bokeh (the out-of-focus background that makes portraits pop) is more sensitive than before. Apple is also including a slider that lets you adjust the depth of field on a portrait photo even after the image has been shot. So if you want the background to be a bit more in focus than in the original shot, you can use that slider to get it just how you like.
On the video side, Apple has finally added stereo sound recording. iPhone videographers, rejoice.
There aren't huge changes to battery capacity this year. Apple said that the Xs gets about 30 minutes more battery than the iPhone X while the Xs Max has the biggest iPhone battery ever and gets an hour and a half more use time. If you're someone who's really hard on your battery, the Xs Max is probably the iPhone for you.
Prior to today's announcement, there was plenty of info out there pointing to the iPhone XS and XS Max. Just this morning, Allthings.how found evidence on Apple's own site that all but confirmed the phones' naming scheme, color options and storage sizes, which include the first 512GB iPhone.
Finally, the big question: price. The iPhone Xs starts at $999 for the 64GB model while the Xs Max starts at a mind-blowing $1,099. Pre-orders for the Xs and Xs Max start on September 14th, and they'll ship on September 21st. And if you're wondering how much a fully spec'd 512GB iPhone Xs Max costs? Well, that'll set you back an eye-popping $1,449. That's more than many of Apple's full-featured computers. Scrounge up that couch change, indeed.
Follow all the latest news from Apple's 2018 iPhone event here!