iPhone XS, XS Max, and XR: Which Would Work Best for Your Business?

Discover what the three models have in common and how they differ from each other.

If your business is in the market for new iPhones for employees, you are in luck. You have three new models from which to choose. Apple rolled out two new models — the iPhone XS and the iPhone XS Max — on September 21, 2018. The third model — the iPhone XR — is scheduled for release on October 26, 2018.

The XR model is an entry-level smartphone, so it is less expensive (starts at $749) than the flagship XS and XS Max models (start at $999 and $1,099, respectively). But, as with any IT asset, you need to consider more than just the cost. Here are some points to keep in mind when deciding which model would work best for your business.

What the Models Have in Common

The iPhone XS, XS Max, and XR have more than just the iOS 12 operating system in common. Here are some of the features they share:

A12 Bionic chip. The new A12 chip has a six-core central processing unit (CPU), a four-core graphics processing unit (GPU), and a neural engine. According to Apple, the A12 chip can process 5 trillion operations per second, making it 15% faster than its predecessor (A11) while using up to 50% less power. The neural engine uses real-time machine learning, which enables the smartphones to recognize patterns, make predictions, and learn from experience.

Dual subscriber identification module (SIM) technology. The devices are designed to have one physical SIM card (nano-SIM) and one digital SIM (eSIM). As a result, you can have two phone numbers or two phone plans on the same device without having to physically swap SIM cards. This can come in handy, for example, if you want to have separate phone numbers for business and personal calls. If you are anxious to use this new feature, you will have to wait, though. The eSIM will be delivered through a software update later in 2018. Plus, some carriers might not support eSIM.

Intel XMM7560 modem. Thanks to the new Intel XMM7560 modem, the iPhone XS, XS Max, and XR will work with all four major US carriers (AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon). In the past, the iPhones offered by AT&T and T-Mobile did not work on Sprint and Verizon networks.

Face ID authentication. With Face ID, you can use your face instead of a password to unlock your iPhone and log in to apps. Although this feature has been around since 2017, it is faster in the iPhone XS, XS Max, and XR. Face ID uses the TrueDepth camera to scan your face and the neural engine’s machine learning capabilities to recognize you, even if you are donning a hat or wearing glasses instead of contacts.

How the Models Differ

There are many ways in which the iPhone XS, XS Max, and XR differ from each other. Here are five of the most notable differences:

Display type. The display type is probably the biggest differentiator between Apple’s flagship and entry-level iPhones. The XS and XS Max models have organic light-emitting diode (OLED) screens, while the XR model has a liquid-crystal display (LCD) screen. OLED displays provide more vibrant colors, offer better contrast, and have higher resolution than LCD screens. The XS Max model has a slightly higher resolution (2688×1242 at 458 pixels per inch, or ppi) than the XS model (2436×1125 at 458 ppi). The resolution of the iPhone XR is 1792×828 at 326 ppi.

Display size. Based on price, you might expect that the most-expensive model (XS Max) has the largest screen while the least-expensive model (XR) has the smallest one. But that is not the case. While the iPhone XS Max does have the largest screen (6.5 inches), the iPhone XR comes in second with a screen size of 6.1 inches. The iPhone XS’s screen is 5.8 inches.

Battery life. While the iPhone XR’s LCD screen might not be as flashy as the OLED displays in the iPhone XS and XS Max, it has one redeeming value: It consumes less battery power. This power savings — combined with the fact that the iPhone XR’s battery is slightly larger than the one in the iPhone XS — means that you will likely have to charge the iPhone XR less often than the other two models (especially the XS). table 1 compares how long each model’s charge will last when using it for various activities.

table 1: How Long Each iPhone Model Lasts on a Battery Charge

iPhone XS
(2,658 mAh lithium ion battery)
iPhone XS Max
(3,174 mAh lithium ion battery)
Talking Up to 25 hours Up to 20 hours Up to 25 hours
Using the Internet Up to 15 hours Up to 12 hours Up to 13 hours
Playing videos Up to 16 hours Up to 14 hours Up to 15 hours
Playing audio files Up to 65 hours Up to 60 hours Up to 65 hours

Memory capacity. For the first time, Apple is offering smartphones with 512 gigabytes (GB) of storage. This storage capacity is available in the XS and XS Max models. Each model offers three storage options. table 2 shows those options and how much they cost.

table 2. Storage Options for Each iPhone Model

iPhone XR

iPhone XS

iPhone XS Max

64 GB

$749

$999

$1,099

128 GB

$799

256 GB

$899

$1,149

$1,249

512 GB

$1,349

$1,449

Cameras. The iPhone XS and XS Max have three cameras. On the front, they have the TrueDepth 7 megapixel (MP) camera. On the back, there are the dual wide-angle and telephoto 12MP cameras. The iPhone XR has only two cameras. It has the TrueDepth 7MP camera on the front and a 12MP camera on the back.

Still Not Sure?

The best phone for your business will be the one that meets your employees’ needs at the lowest price point. For example, if your employees need a phone with a large memory capacity so they can store a lot of business data, then one of the flagship models might work best since they offer 512 GB of storage. However, if your employees do not need that much storage, the iPhone XR might be the best buy. Although it does not have an OLED screen or the dual wide-angle and telephoto 12MP cameras, it offers the same powerful A12 chip found in the iPhone XS and XS Max.

If you are still uncertain as to which iPhone model would be best, contact us. We can explain the differences in more depth so you can make an informed choice.