It's been over a decade since the first Apple iPhone. Yes, really.

The Apple iPhone first went on sale on 29 June 2007, some five months after it was originally announced on 9 January 2007. The company's then-CEO, Steve Jobs, presented the new smartphone to a packed audience, including Pocket-lint: "This is the day I've been waiting for the last two years," he said during the the keynote speech at MacWorld 2007, before making the first call on the phone to Jony Ive.

History of the iPhone

Hard to imagine now, but the first iteration of the iPhone didn't have a number of features we take for granted today, like copy and paste, 3G and definitely not 5G, or even apps. Heck, you could also only sync it via iTunes on the desktop.

Since 2007, Apple has adapted and changed the design of the iPhone a number of times, ditching the metal design for a plastic one with the iPhone 3G and 3GS, before moving to glass for the iPhone 4. It was back to metal with the iPhone 5, before glass made its comeback for the iPhone 8 models, iPhone X and the latest iPhone XS models.

The iPhone hasn't escaped criticism over the years - there's was "bendgate", "antennagate", and even a claim by some that their beard got trapped in the casing, but it's still a great success story. Here's how the iPhone has evolved over its life.

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Original Apple iPhone (2007)

A 3.5-inch screen with 480 × 320 resolution for 163ppi and a 412MHz ARM processor. This was where it all started for the iPhone. In many ways it wasn't the first, but it was certainly the most important smartphone launch.

Pocket-lint verdict summary at the time:

So, would we sign up for a 2-year contact? It's a tough one.

The iPhone is a great handset, however it's also a handset that comes with multiple downsides. We are going to give it top marks, but before you sign up, you must make sure you are aware of its many limitations.

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Apple iPhone 3G (2008)

Largely identical to the original iPhone, but with slimmer metallic outer edging and the addition of 3G connectivity. Also note the appearance of the App Store icon. The shift to centralised app stores changed the way we used our phones.

Pocket-lint verdict summary at the time:

Love it or hate it, there is no denying that Apple has raised the bar on the interface front. It might not be the tech spec king compared to the likes of the HTC Diamond, but from a usability point of view for the consumer, it is hard to beat. As for that BlackBerry user looking to transfer, you'll miss search, you'll miss "read all" and you'll miss cut and paste.

Despite the downbeat tune, it is a thumbs up from us, but if you've got an old iPhone and aren't fussed about 3G or GPS, the iPhone 2.0 software update will mean the "buzz" phone of the moment is all but virtually in your pocket already.

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Apple iPhone 3GS (2009)

Similar to the 3G in design but with a faster 600MHz ARM A8 CPU, double the RAM at 256GB, and fingerprint-resistant screen coating. This was about refining the experience to bring speed, with the addition of things like a digital compass and video capture.

Pocket-lint verdict summary at the time:

There are so many things that work well here, making the iPhone 3GS a pleasure to use: text entry is fast and responsive; the new MMS features bring it up to date; email, calendars, and contacts are all well handled; browsing is good and fast; and the screen is sharp and bright (but not the best around). The new features like the compass and voice control make it just a little easier to use.

It may offer one of the best experiences that mobile telephony has to offer, but there is still room for improvement, meaning we can all look forward to future updates with that same palpable sense of excitement.

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Apple iPhone 4 (2010)

This is where design and power really jumped up, with a 3.5-inch 960 x 480 resolution screen and the introduction of the Retina display. The flattened glass design is now rather iconic, and it introduced a front camera with FaceTime.

Pocket-lint verdict summary at the time:

The iPhone 4 isn't just a new piece of hardware. It's the next vehicle for the world of iOS 4 and the App Store. But those hardware changes are welcomed. The inclusion of a higher-spec screen is the most significant step, combined with a faster processor, meaning it can capture and playback HD content from the new 5-megapixel camera.

Is the iPhone perfect? Of course not. The experience is very well managed by Apple and many love this intuitiveness. However, many will loathe the restrictions you find in place. The design, whilst it looks nice, isn't the most comfortable phone to hold or use, and the reception problems just compound a long history of discomfort around actually making a phone call.

Apple has made its play with the iPhone 4, which we expect to be its handset for the next few years. Other manufacturers will respond in kind, but gaining the strength of the Apple ecosystem is no mean feat. While there is space to improve the iPhone, you don't necessarily feel you are missing out. What you have is a device that is an excellent multimedia platform and open to a new generation of unfolding possibilities.

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Apple iPhone 4S (2011)

Much alike to the iPhone 4, but with the addition of more speed and the introduction of Siri as the personal assistant. The iPhone 4S announced by CEO Tim Cook on 4 October 2011; Steve Jobs passed away the following day on 5 October.

Pocket-lint verdict summary at the time:

The iPhone 4S is every bit a smartphone, and an excellent one at that. The range of functionality that it delivers, along with the entire ecosystem that it inhabits, still make it one of the best phones on the market. Apple has done an excellent job pushing things like the App Store and incorporating features that see wider adoption, like AirPlay, its wireless streaming system, for example.

The screen could be bigger; the battery life should be longer; iOS still could be improved; there is no NFC; and Flash support or options for memory expansion. But you have to decide whether these things are important to you. If they are, you now have many choices elsewhere. To us, the iPhone 4S feels as though it has responded to the competition.

It's adapted a better notifications system and new features, but in many ways, we can't help feeling it has adopted some of the nice things about Android. For some, the concern might be that it's adapted Android's battery management issue, too. The iPhone 4S is likely to be exactly what some people are looking for. For others, the excitement in other smartphone quarters could well draw their eye.

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Apple iPhone 5 (2012)

Another jump for Apple, with a larger 4-inch display running 1136 x 640 resolution, bringing with it a change in aspect for the iPhone. It also introduced a new connector, Lightning.

Pocket-lint verdict summary at the time:

What Apple has created with the iPhone 5 is an extremely polished smartphone that oozes appeal. It's incredibly well built, easy to use, features a beautiful screen, and comes packed with enough speed and power to service all your requirements. The hardware is just stunning. It really is impressive how much is crammed into such a tiny box. On the software front the story isn't as cut and dried. 

While the hardware and design here is cutting edge, the software plays it safer than we would like. For those of you that have already left the Apple eco-system for Samsung or HTC, for example, the iPhone 5 isn't likely to draw you back. You might marvel at the build and design, but Apple with the iPhone 5 has created a smartphone that is too safe for you: you'll feel too mollycoddled.

Instead Apple has created a phone that the millions of current iPhone users will want to upgrade to. iPhone owners will love it, enjoy all those new features, and appreciate all the hard work, design, and engineering that has gone into it. The iPhone 5 is a phone that makes you feel safe. A phone that you know exactly how to use as soon as you take it out of the box and that is perfect many. It's a phone that, until you start craving the iPhone 6, will serve you very well indeed.

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Apple iPhone 5C (2013)

Basically the same as the iPhone 5, but with a plastic body. The iPhone 5C was all about colour and fun, with a range of cases to make contrasting designs.

Pocket-lint verdict summary at the time:

The iPhone 5C is a lovely phone that is solid in its performance and playful it its approach. The combination of the colourful exterior sits beautifully against the latest iOS 7 operating system and as an upgrade to the iPhone 4S, the 5C is a perfect option, and refreshes the iPhone 5 in a way that makes it a lot more fun than the iPhone 5 ever was.

But there is no denying that the 5C is merely a lick of paint on a year-old device, a non-upgrade to the iPhone 5. Some will see that as regressive, treading water. Yet, somehow, that still works in today's world. The phone's selection of apps, camera capabilities, and no fuss approach still means that it holds its own against the HTC One Mini devices of this world, for the right users.

This is a phone that is designed to appeal to the iPhone 4S crowd who can't afford an iPhone 5S and who don't want to go to a different brand. The iPhone 5C is not a flagship product - Apple's iPhone 5S is for that - nor does it fix any of the annoying niggles you've perhaps started to feel with your current iPhone, but if want to stick with Apple, but can't justify the 5S and its price, then this colourful option if for you. Despite initial reservations we love the iPhone 5C - it's colourful, joyful, capable and just works.

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Apple iPhone 5S (2013)

Sticking to the design of the iPhone 5, the iPhone 5S dropped the home button and introduced Touch ID, providing a way to unlock the phone and authenticate purchases from the App Store.

Pocket-lint verdict summary at the time:

The iPhone 5S fulfils the pre-determined destiny of all Apple "S" devices - it's the one that's normally met by the baying crowd as "meh". But the more we've played with it, the more we've used it, and the more it's clear that Apple has made vast improvements here. In many ways Apple has released a phone for tomorrow. That's a hard sell, but it's also the exciting part.

The Touch ID scanner is yet to be fully realised, as are the A7 and M7 processors and the 64-bit support. But the potential for that power is huge - it's got more grunt than its near competitors and that makes it extra exciting. We do still have a shopping list of wants though. For one, we would like a bigger and higher resolution screen. There is still no NFC and the software, despite looking cleaner, doesn't really move the 5S on too far from where the iPhone 5 was.

If you want a phone that just works, then the iPhone 5S is a very good place to start however. Apple has made it look effortless which is no simple task, and in doing so - by making it look almost too easy - you can sometimes miss the beauty and power in your hand. It's stunning to use, there's stacks of power, it's without gimmicks and a nod to the future. It's these simple elements that make the iPhone 5S, for us, one of the best phones on the market. There's a lot to admire about that.

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Apple iPhone 6 (2014)

This model saw a jump in size to a 4.7-inch 1334 x 640 screen with 326ppi, with a shift to a metal body. It also introduced Apple Pay, but was blighted by "bendgate".

Pocket-lint verdict summary at the time:

With iOS 8 and the new screen size in the iPhone 6, Apple has pretty much removed all excuses not to upgrade from older devices, as well as making the iPhone 6 a phone that's difficult to ignore for those on other platforms. Of course there is still plenty missing: you don't get the highest resolution display around, there's no wireless charging, replaceable battery, no waterproofing, and no microSD card.

There's also no real NFC beyond Apple Pay, and no wide open operating system for all to use regardless. But many won't care. The app choice of Apple is outstanding, the 128GB storage quota is enough (as long as you can afford it), and do we really need NFC pairing? Add that to an incredibly polished operating system in iOS 8 and you end up with a phone that will sell truck loads.

For iPhone 5 or 5S users looking to upgrade, the decision is a no-brainer: the iPhone 6 is superior in all aspects to previous devices sporting a better design, a better display, a better experience all around. The build quality on the iPhone 6 is exquisite, leaving you with one really tough decision: whether to go for the iPhone 6 or the much bigger iPhone 6 Plus. Regardless of which you do opt for, this is the best iPhone yet.

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Apple iPhone 6 Plus (2014)

The same as the iPhone 6 largely except for a bigger 5.5-inch screen with 1920 x 1080 resolution for 401ppi, plus a larger 2915mAh battery to keep it running. This was Apple recognising the growing trend in big phones.

Pocket-lint verdict summary at the time:

The iPhone 6 Plus is certainly one for the power users and certainly one for those looking for a big screen experience. But with a bigger battery and a bigger display comes a device that for many will be just too big overall. Having the benefit of using both the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus over the last week we've kept coming back to the iPhone 6 Plus, only to return to the iPhone 6 every time.

It really comes down to how you want to use your phone. If you are normally sitting down or taking a more considered moment to check something then the 6 Plus is perfect. If you are more of an on-the-go kind of person, checking emails whilst wrestling with an umbrella, we suspect that you'll do better with the regular iPhone 6.

As for how it compares to the competition, the likes of the Samsung Galaxy Note range is a very different proposition. The Note with its S Pen stylus is very good at what it does and Apple isn't trying to tackle that approach, even if, in some way, it should be. The iPhone 6 Plus is something different that some will say is confused and some won't understand. But for that niche that wants to have it all Apple and all over the big screen, then the iPhone 6 Plus is there for them.

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Apple iPhone 6S (2015)

No visual design change from the iPhone 6 but an upgrade to the aluminium used to make it stronger, along with changes in performance and battery life and advanced features like 3D Touch and 4K video capture. It stuck to the 4.7-inch 1334 x 750 pixel resolution and packed in the Apple A9 chip.

Pocket-lint verdict summary at the time:

An iPhone S update year usually means a couple of new features that most people could take or leave, but the iPhone 6S is the most exciting S model for a long time. It bucks the usual trend, delivering a phone that will offer plenty to iPhone users new and old alike. In practice the Touch 3D element has proved to be a gimmick that we could easily live without though.

Improved battery life, enhanced cameras, slick operability from iOS 10 all make the iPhone 6S great to use, even if the screen resolution is still behind the current flagship curve. The addition of Live Photos, 4K video and baked-in Hey Siri might be less integral to all, but they're the kind of fun features people want and that Apple delivers well.

For iPhone 5S readers looking to upgrade you'll move leaps and bounds ahead of what you've come to expect from your phone, while even keen iPhone 6 users will see benefits too. The iPhone 6S doesn't disappoint.

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Apple iPhone 6S Plus (2015)

The larger version of the 6S, it too offered a stronger body to fend off bendgate, while the display sat at 5.5-inches with a 1920 x 1080 pixel resolution, powered by the A9 chip.

Pocket-lint verdict summary at the time:

Just like the original, the Apple iPhone 6S Plus is the big-scale Apple phone for the kind of user who uses two hands and isn't bothered about the weight or space needed to fit one into their pocket. Although most S upgrades bring minor tweaks, the iPhone 6S Plus sees notable advantages from 3D Touch. Whether that's to write on that large screen, or by hard-pressing to interact with iOS 9 in a slicker and quicker fashion than before, it's the S model to buck the annual trend.

There's even greater pay-off in other areas for going bigger: you'll get a lovely large, almost tablet-like screen (although it's still not flagship-matching Quad HD resolution); a fantastic camera with optical image stabilisation (which the standard 6S lacks); and a battery life that will last you well beyond a day. For some, though, those same factors will be negated by the sheer scale of the device. The 6S Plus is a lovely smartphone, but it's also a big and heavy one.

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Apple iPhone SE (2016)

The iPhone SE made the unusual move off shifting back into the older design of the iPhone 5 models. It did so to offer a smaller, cheaper option, but it kept the powerful innards of the 6S, so the A9 chip and the latest camera, but with a 4-inch display with 1136 x 640 pixels.

Pocket-lint verdict summary at the time:

The iPhone SE is a great smartphone that brings plenty of power in a small package. It's designed to appeal to those who aren't fussed by today's typically large flagship phones. If you are upgrading from the iPhone 5S or iPhone 5 and don't want a larger phone then the SE is a no-brainer. It's faster in every aspect and delivers a phone that will feel familiar but deliver the goods at today's current top-spec level.

While iPhone 6S users are likely to turn their noses up at the SE, during our review time we've really enjoyed the liberating dinkiness of the SE, especially when out running. Perhaps it's a radical idea, but we can easily see some wealthier iPhone 6S and Plus users finding appeal in the iPhone SE being a weekend or running phone.

As far as shortcomings go, the SE lacks some of the top top spec features sound in the 6S, such as 3D Touch, while the front-facing camera isn't particularly good. Plus, and it almost goes without saying, that 4-inch screen isn't going to suit everyone. Bigger is normally always better, but sometimes great things come in small packages too.

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Apple iPhone 7 (2016)

Apple didn't do a major redesign for the iPhone 7, although the introduction of Jet Black caused a stir, as did the evolution of (Product) Red. The iPhone 7 is powered by the A10 chip and adds waterproofing, while the display size and resolution remains as it was.

Pocket-lint verdict summary at the time:

The iPhone 7 is not the overhaul that Apple usually presents us with every two years, but there is enough here to keep those upgrading from the iPhone 6 happy. At first glance, however, it's perhaps not the phone to draw in iPhone 6S fans who might be upset that their phone is now old and needs to be replaced - for the iPhone 7 could almost be seen as an "S" version of the iPhone 6S.

The removal of the 3.5mm headphone jack may remain briefly controversial, while the odd-looking AirPods (£159) have also raised some eyebrows. But this biggest point of change isn't really going to impact most users as much as it might sound. Ultimately it's the iPhone 7's other, more subtle changes - the new Home button and glossy/matte black finishes with better hidden antennas - that add to the refinement, without tearing up the rule book and starting again. It's also these technologies that continue to ensure the iPhone 7 is a state-of-the-art smartphone.

So, Tim Cook is right: the iPhone 7 is the company's best iPhone yet. It's just that the best is only slighter better than what we've already had for the past year.

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Apple iPhone 7 Plus (2016)

This larger version of the phone marked its arrival by doing something that Apple hadn't done before: it presented a major difference in feature set with the introduction of the twin camera on the rear. While the rest of the phone incrementally moves on from the 6S Plus, partnering the new iPhone 7, the dual camera is all new, offering bokeh portrait and 2x optical zoom for quality close ups.

Pocket-lint verdict summary at the time:

The Plus certainly gets the most new features - making it the more worthy upgrade from either the iPhone 6 Plus or the iPhone 6S Plus. The core design of the iPhone 7 Plus isn't an overhaul though, it's about refinement, with subtle changes. The new Home button and glossy/matte black finishes with better hidden antennas - elevating the design without tearing up the rule book and starting again.

The lack of a headphone jack will either infuriate you or go unnoticed. The biggest change is with the cameras. Sure, the Depth Effect is a work in progress, but it doesn't have to be used and doesn't take away from the cameras' overall excellence. Ultimately it's the resulting images that are great, and the 2x optical zoom is welcomed.

However, as we've always said of the Plus range, it's a big and heavy device that will divide opinion because of its wide body. Equally, it's an incredibly well-built device that won't disappoint - especially on the power and battery life fronts - because you'll be hard pushed to find a smartphone as capable and well-rounded elsewhere.

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Apple iPhone 8 (2017)

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The display size and resolution might be the same as the iPhone 7 in the iPhone 8 but Apple added True Tone technology, made move back to glass over metal and doubled the storage capacities available. It also added wireless charging capabilities and upgraded the processor to the A11 chip. 

Pocket-lint verdict summary at the time:

Compared to the iPhone 7, the iPhone 8 brings minimal upgrades. But compared to the iPhone 6/6S, wow, you'll be very pleased with the jump forward - particularly if you're seeking a familiar and compact phone. Apple isn't rocking the boat in the iPhone 8, but its feature improvements make notable improvements in all the right places. The glass back means wireless charging is possible, while the boost in power is spot on for AR applications and smooth operation from iOS 11.

However, the iPhone X that launched alongside it is hard to ignore. It might share the same processor as the iPhone 8, but that's where the similarities end. So if you're not lured in by its facial recognition Face ID, its super high-res OLED panel with near bezel-free design, or the dual cameras, then the smaller iPhone 8 will save you cash and keep you content with its more familiar form.

Overall, iPhone 8 is small, compact, powerful, and will deliver the ideal phone experience for many - especially those who aren't fussed with all the latest and greatest features and the costs associated with them. Just because it has minimal upgrades doesn't mean it doesn't deliver maximum satisfaction.

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Apple iPhone 8 Plus (2017)

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Like the smaller model, the iPhone 8 Plus offers True Tone technology, wireless charging, a new processor over its predecessor and double the storage. It, and the smaller iPhone 8, were the last model to offer Touch ID as a biometric option with the iPhone X setting the standard for the future iPhones with Face ID.

Pocket-lint verdict summary at the time:

As a successor to the iPhone 7 Plus, the iPhone 8 Plus is a logical step-up that delivers a faster experience in a new and somewhat improved shell. Wireless charging, improved cameras and the True Tone screen for HDR Netflix content are all positive new features. None of which, however, are necessarily drop-everything-and-upgrade features.

Despite its 8 Plus name, ultimately this iPhone could be seen as a "7S Plus". And with the iPhone X launched, we're half surprised that wasn't the applied naming convention. And that's the rub: we can't mention the 8 Plus without mentioning the lure of the iPhone X. Many people seem unaware the 8 Plus exists, often referring to "the new iPhone" from Apple's keynote. That's the true next-level device, which changes this year's iPhone proposition.

Overall, the iPhone 8 Plus is Apple's everyman phone. It's the perfect big phone for the masses; for the people who don't need a future-facing face-reading smartphone; for those who want that large scale familiarity and known strengths that will get the job done. For those people, the iPhone 8 Plus delivers in droves.

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Apple iPhone X (2017)

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The iPhone X was the 10-year anniversary iPhone, marking the biggest shift in design since the original device from 2007. It launched with an OLED display, minimal bezels and Face ID facial recognition, ditching one of the iPhone's most iconic interactions: the home button.

Pocket-lint updated verdict summary:

Apple said that this phone would kickstart the next decade of the iPhone and it wasn't wrong. All three of the new iPhones steal the iPhone X's design. The screen is stunning, the device smaller for that edge-to-edge approach, and the underlying tech is more than capable to make it shine. 

The polished stainless steel, the OLED display, and the overall look and feel of the package oozes quality and premium aesthetics. This hasn't changed over a year on either. The ramifications of what the iPhone X set out to do are wide-ranging: the iPhone 8 dulls by comparison in terms of design even if it's still a very capable phone.

The only complaint is that premium cost. When it launched, the iPhone X started at £999, which is the same as the iPhone XS now. You might be able to find the X at a good price following the launch of the XS but you then have the £750 iPhone XR to consider, which offers the same processing power as the XS and XS Max, making it faster and more capable than the iPhone X, even if not as premium in build.

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Apple iPhone XR (2018)

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The iPhone XR sits at the bottom of the 2018 iPhone X range, offering an aluminium frame over stainless steel, a single camera over dual and an LCD display over OLED. It brought plenty of power, a large display, great camera and colour though, making it a great buy for most.

Pocket-lint verdict summary at the time:

Sure, the iPhone XR doesn't offer a screen or camera setup that's as good as the top-of-the-range, but that's the play in having a more affordable handset. Besides, many will be perfectly happy with what's on offer, especially as there's no compromise in power.

As an upgrade option over, say, the iPhone 7, the XR's larger display, bright colour finishes and considerable power will appeal. Yes, we've missed not being able to take a picture of our dog in Portrait Mode, but we think we can live without this feature for the most part.

For those who want Apple's latest design without spending a fortune, this is the iPhone for you.

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Apple iPhone XS (2018)

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The iPhone XS offers an improved camera over the iPhone X, dual-SIM support, A12 Bionic chip and a 512GB storage option, as well as a longer battery life and a new Gold finish. The design remains the same as the 10-year anniversary model though.

Pocket-lint verdict summary at the time:

As with all iPhone "S" model upgrades, the iPhone XS is about bringing new processing power to a phone that already looks really good. The Apple iPhone XS offers a faster experience, a tougher shell, and a much better improved camera that really impresses. It moves the iPhone forward to be a better device, to continue to hold back the competition.

The iPhone X was a breakthrough device in many ways. It introduced stainless steel as a premium body material and it moved to a display that dominated the front design, sweeping aside the home button and bringing with it Face ID. It was a celebration of 10 years of iPhone and in some ways, compared to the iPhone 8, it was risqué. 

The iPhone XS gives you a technically better phone, but it isn't the huge step change we had in 2017. The XS Max is now the risqué option, the answer to Apple's size question, leaving you to decide whether the XS is enough iPhone for you. For many, we suspect that it will be: while owners of the X will probably struggle the justify the update, it oozes with appeal for those on older devices.

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Apple iPhone XS Max (2018)

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The iPhone XS Max introduced the option of a bigger model of the iPhone X one year after the 10-year anniversary model, with all the same improvements as the iPhone XS but in a larger, expensive and fabulous package.

Pocket-lint updated verdict summary:

Even after more than half a year using it the iPhone XS Max is hard to fault. It's fluid, fast and effortless, and is a premium package that looks and feels great in the hand. 

Of course, you could look down the spec list and say "OnePlus 7 Pro has a much better display" or "the Pixel 3 takes better photos", but neither of those elements are so noticeably different that you feel you'd miss out. What's more, iPhone still offers a fantastic all-round experience thanks to quality design, display, camera, battery life and - let's not forget - it's very strong ecosystem. 

It may be too big for some, or too expensive for others, but there's always the iPhone XS for those who think the former, and the iPhone XR for those who think the latter. If you want the biggest, baddest iPhone in town, the XS Max is the one for you. It's glorious.

Apple iPhone X1 (2019)

The next iPhone models are due to be announced in September 2019 with talk of a change in the camera setup on the rear.

You can read all the rumours surrounding the successors to the iPhone XS and XS Max in our iPhone XI feature and the rumours surrounding the iPhone XR successor in our iPhone XR 2019 feature.