Earlier this week, Apple unveiled their new tech gadgets: the iPhone XS, XS Max, XR (pronounced 10S, 10S Max, 10R), and the Apple Watch Series 4. The iPhone 8 is still able to be purchased from Apple’s website. Yet, with the classically styled 8 and the new flagship phones available, there is a notable absence from the Apple website: the iPhone X.

iPhone XS (Image: Apple Inc.)


But first, let us dig into the new toys Apple has released to us. We got three new phones, two upgrades of the X and the new XR to appeal to those who want to upgrade but not for the heavy price of at least $999. Along with the XS came a shiny new gold color to brighten up the once bland choices of black and white. With the XR came six new colors: blue, white, black, yellow, coral, and red.

You can compare technical specifications and updates to the new XS, XS Max, and the XR here. While Apple has taken down the page for the iPhone X, you can view a saved version to see its specs here.

What are the differences?

With these new iPhone models come some improvements to performance, camera upgrades (or downgrades for the XR) and some minor updates that will have little effect on the average user. The major difference comes with the XR: no 3D touch (force touch introduced on iPhone 6s), and a downgrade from an OLED to an LCD screen. LCD screens have a significantly lower resolution than OLEDs and they are less power efficient, limiting the battery life in comparison to the XS.

The XR’s water resistance is the same as the X’s, rated at 30 minutes at a depth of 1 meter. The XS and XS Max are rated for 30 minutes at 2 meters.

All of the new generation iPhones are equipped with Apple’s A12 processing chip. The iPhone X was equipped with Apple’s A11 chip.

A staple of the iPhone for a couple years has been their cameras. With the XS and XS Max, we get upgraded dual 12MP wide-angle and telephoto cameras. The X was equipped with 12MP wide-angle and telephoto cameras. The XR has a single 12MP standard angle camera. The front cameras for all the phone remain unchanged from the previous generation X.

All the iPhones we’re comparing can handle 4K video recording at 24 fps, 30 fps, or 60 fps.

So, which phone you want to upgrade to, if at all, is completely up to you. the XR is a budget-friendly alternative to the XS (Max). The difference is minimal unless you’re one to want more storage, an upgraded camera, a sharper screen or 3D touch. If you could live without those featured, I would recommend the XR. If you need storage space for 4k videos, high-quality photos in depth, or the functionality of 3D touch and have between $1,000-$1,400 to spare, then I’d suggest the XS or XS Max.

No more iPhone X?

So what about the iPhone X?

In the past, Apple has allows us to purchase the previous generations on their online store and in their brick and mortar stores, so what changed this year?

The XS is the 2018 upgrade to the iPhone X, and the XR is a budget option to the XS. The XR is the same idea as the 5c a while back, a scaled-back phone in terms of capabilities but more fun with colors and easier on the wallet.

The usual pattern for Apple is that when they release their new phones, they drop the previous generation’s price by $100. But, since they have introduced the XR, which starts at $750, there would hardly be a demand for the previous generation X.

The differences between the X and the XS are hardly noticeable to the every-day user, so if Apple had kept on selling the X for $100 less alongside the XS, shoppers would be more inclined to purchase the X. Meaning, this would hurt Apple’s sales numbers for their all-new flagship.

In summary, Apple discontinued the iPhone X due to the possibility (or likelihood) of the sales numbers of their iPhone XS dropping. Another possibility could be related to the rumor that had been going around the past six months or so that sales numbers for the iPhone X were stagnating and unimpressive, leading to Apple possibly wanting to nix the production line.