Reports indicate Apple’s iPhone XS Max is by far the most popular of the iPhone XS line. The Max is the bigger of the two, with a massive 6.5-inch display. The smaller, more familiar-sized iPhone XS looks nearly identical to last year’s iPhone X, in terms of design and size.
With the release of the 6.1-inch iPhone XR just around the corner, the iPhone XS is the smallest iPhone Apple announced this year despite its price tag.
In nearly every aspect, the iPhone XS is identical to the iPhone XS Max. Both devices use the same processor, display tech, and camera setup. The only differences are the screen and battery size.
Also: The 10 best smartphones of 2018
Because the two devices are virtually identical, make sure to read my review of the iPhone XS Max for a more nuanced look at the iPhone XS.
After using an iPhone XS for a week, I found it to be every bit as good as the iPhone XS Max, with one exception.
iPhone XS: Design
Outside of the new gold color, you’d be hard pressed to tell the iPhone X and iPhone XS apart. The only visually identifiable difference I can find is a single new antenna line on the bottom left corner for the phone.
The iPhone XS measures 5.65 x 2.79 x 0.3-inches, which means cases for the iPhone X should fit the XS without issue. I say should, because there is a slight variation with the camera bump on the back of the XS, meaning iPhone X cases may not fit the iPhone XS.
What makes the iPhone XS so appealing is its size. It fits comfortably in the palm of my hand, and the entire screen is easily reachable when using the phone with one hand.
Also: Best smartphones for 2018 CNET
I’ve adjusted to the sometimes awkwardness that comes with using the Max with one hand, thanks in part to Reachability, and the rest of the time perfecting how to adjust the position of the Max in my hand.
The iPhone XS just feels like the ideal size for a phone to rest comfortably in your hand, without sacrificing a decently sized display.
The right side of the iPhone XS is where the Side button is found. It’s used to lock, wake, or summon Siri. The left side houses the mute switch, along with the volume up and down buttons. A stainless steel band wraps the perimeter of the phone, holding the glass front and back in place.
The headphone jack is still gone, as is the home button, replaced instead with navigation that’s made up entirely of gestures. A minimal design that forces you to focus on what’s on the screen, with minimal buttons and distractions is clearly the future of the iPhone.
iPhone XS: Performance
The iPhone XS uses Apple’s A12 Bionic six-core processor, with updated Neural Engine, Face ID, and 4×4 MIMO wireless tech (thus the added antenna band). According to iFixit’s teardown, the XS has 4GB of memory and a 2,658mAh hour battery. Apple is selling the iPhone XS with storage options of 64GB, 256GB, and 512GB.
The rear-facing camera features a dual 12-megapixel setup, along with a 7-megapixel front-facing camera used for selfies and Face ID.
For the past two weeks, I’ve used either the iPhone XS or XS Max, and the longer I use either phone, the more impressed I am with the camera. I’ve noticed the improvements, not in Instagram worthy photos, but instead in the everyday mundane photos we’ve come to rely on our phones to capture. For example, during a recent visit to IKEA, I snapped a photo of the location tag for a shelf I wanted to buy. When it came time to find the item in the warehouse, I opened the Photos app and opened the photo. Embarrassing as it is, the clarity in the photo was something that caught me off guard.
Also: iPhone XS: 7 things the pros need TechRepublic
In my review of the XS Max, I went into detail about reported issues with connectivity. I didn’t have a chance to run the same tests on the standard XS, because I no longer have access to an iPhone X, but in my experience with the XS, its reception and throughput have been without issue. I ran a few random speed tests in the same location as I conducted the XS Max testing, and found it to average right around the same speed as I experienced with the XS Max. However, that experience can’t be taken as gospel — there are simply too many variables involved.
In addition to display size, one trade-off users who opt for the XS instead of the XS Max will make is battery life. At the end of each day when using the iPhone XS, I was close to killing the battery. On a couple occasions, with heavier use, I had to top off the battery around 7pm. That’s about in line with my experience on the iPhone X. With the iPhone XS Max, however, I typically didn’t have to charge after a day and a half of use.
iPhone XS: Conclusion
To be clear, the iPhone XS is every bit as good as the iPhone XS Max, save for battery life. It delivers on Apple’s (now yearly) promise of being the best iPhone ever.
But as was the case with the iPhone XS Max, the biggest hurdle potential customers will have to overcome is the cost. The XS starts at $999 for the 64GB model and tops out at $1,349 for the 512GB model.
With the iPhone XR, that starts at $749, just a couple of weeks away, the iPhone XS is a perhaps the most confusing iPhone of 2018. Its display is top-notch, the camera is impeccable, and performance is as fast as you could hope from a tiny handheld computer. Yet, it’s the smallest iPhone out of the new crop, while simultaneously being the second most expensive model.
Also: iPhone XS: A cheat sheet for professionals TechRepublic
It’s hard not to look at the XS and see it as the middle child, with most of the attention going to less expensive — and more colorful — iPhone XR, all the while the iPhone XS Max is setting the example. Or, I could be looking at this way too deep and it simply boils down to your budget, or maybe what size of screen you want.
Either way, if you’re on the fence of whether or not you should upgrade to the iPhone XS, I’d wait until the iPhone XR is available and then make a decision.
Previous and related coverage:
Apple vs Samsung phones: We compare the Galaxy S series and the iPhone XS
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Six months with Apple Watch 3: I’m sold
I hadn’t worn a watch for 20 years when I bought an Apple Watch Series 3 six months ago. Now I wear it every day. Here’s why — and what I don’t like.
iPhone XS Max vs Samsung Galaxy Note 9: We compare the big phones
Apple and Samsung recently released large flagship smartphones priced at $1,000+. They are close to the same size and have the latest specs, but there are also some significant differences that will lead you to one over the other for your business needs.
Will there be an October Apple event? Signs point to yes
Once again, David Gewirtz puts on his mystical prognostication hat (okay, fine, he launches Excel) to delve into Apple announcement history. Will we see new Macs, iPads, and whatnot in October? There’s a pretty good chance, and we’ll even tell you what dates to write in your calendar.
Cymulate snaps up $70M to help cybersecurity teams stress test their networks with attack simulations – TechCrunch
The cost of cybercrime has been growing at an alarming rate of 15% per year, projected to reach $10.5 trillion by 2025. To cope with the challenges that this poses, organizations are turning to a growing range of AI-powered tools to supplement their existing security software and the work of their security teams. Today, a startup called Cymulate — which has built a platform to help those teams automatically and continuously stress test their networks against potential attacks with simulations, and provide guidance on how to improve their systems to ward off real attacks — is announcing a significant round of growth funding after seeing strong demand for its tools.
The startup — founded in Tel Aviv, with a second base in New York — has raised $70 million, a Series D that it will be using to continue expanding globally and investing in expanding its technology (both organically and potentially through acquisitions).
Today, Cymulate’s platform covers both on-premise and cloud networks, providing breach and attack simulations for endpoints, email and web gateways and more; automated “red teaming”; and a “purple teaming” facility to create and launch different security breach scenarios for organizations that lack the resources to dedicate people to a live red team — in all, a “holistic” solution for companies looking to make sure they are getting the most out of the network security architecture that they already have in place, in the worlds of Eyal Wachsman, Cymulate’s CEO.
“We are providing our customers with a different approach for how to do cybersecurity and get insights [on] all the products already implemented in a network,” he said in an interview. The resulting platform has found particular traction in the current market climate. Although companies continue to invest in their security architecture, security teams are also feeling the market squeeze, which is impacting IT budgets, and sometimes headcount in an industry that was already facing a shortage of expertise. (Cymulate cites figures from the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology that estimate a shortfall of 2.72 million security professionals in the workforce globally.)
The idea with Cymulate is that it’s built something that helps organizations get the most out of what they already have. “And at the end, we provide our customers the ability to prioritize where they need to invest, in terms of closing gaps in their environment,” Wachsman said.
The round is being led by One Peak, with Susquehanna Growth Equity (SGE), Vertex Ventures Israel, Vertex Growth and strategic backer Dell Technologies Capital also participating. (All five also backed Cymulate in its $45 million Series C last year.) Relatively speaking, this is a big round for Cymulate, doubling its total raised to $141 million, and while the startup is not disclosing its valuation, I understand from sources that it is around the $500 million mark.
Wachsman noted that the funding is coming on the heels of a big year for the startup (the irony being that the constantly escalating issue of cybersecurity and growing threat landscape spells good news for companies built to combat that). Revenues have doubled, although it’s not disclosing any numbers today, and the company is now at over 200 employees and works with some 500 paying customers across the enterprise and mid-market, including NTT, Telit, and Euronext, up from 300 customers a year ago.
Wachsman, who co-founded the company with Avihai Ben-Yossef and Eyal Gruner, said he first thought of the idea of building a platform to continuously test an organization’s threat posture in 2016, after years of working in cybersecurity consulting for other companies. He found that no matter how much effort his customers and outside consultants put into architecting security solutions annually or semi-annually, those gains were potentially lost each time a malicious hacker made an unexpected move.
“If the bad guys decided to penetrate the organization, they could, so we needed to find a different approach,” he said. He looked to AI and machine learning for the solution, a complement to everything already in the organization, to build “a machine that allows you to test your security controls and security posture, continuously and on demand, and to get the results immediately… one step before the hackers.”
Last year, Wachsman described Cymulate’s approach to me as “the largest cybersecurity consulting firm without consultants,” but in reality the company does have its own large in-house team of cybersecurity researchers, white-hat hackers who are trying to find new holes — new bugs, zero days and other vulnerabilities — to develop the intelligence that powers Cymulate’s platform.
These insights are then combined with other assets, for example the MITRE ATT&CK framework, a knowledge base of threats, tactics and techniques used by a number of other cybersecurity services, including others building continuous validation services that compete with Cymulate. (Competitors include the likes of FireEye, Palo Alto Networks, Randori, AttackIQ and many more.)
Cymulate’s work comes in the form of network maps that detail a company’s threat profile, with technical recommendations for remediation and mitigations, as well as an executive summary that can be presented to financial teams and management who might be auditing security spend. It also has built tools for running security checks when integrating any services or IT with third parties, for instance in the event of an M&A process or when working in a supply chain.
Today the company focuses on network security, which is big enough in itself but also leaves the door open for Cymulate to acquire companies in other areas like application security — or to build that for itself. “This is something on our roadmap,” said Wachsman.
If potential M&A leads to more fundraising for Cymulate, it helps that the startup is in one of the handful of categories that are going to continue to see a lot of attention from investors.
“Cybersecurity is clearly an area that we think will benefit from the current macroeconomic environment, versus maybe some of the more capital-intensive businesses like consumer internet or food delivery,” said David Klein, a managing partner at One Peak. Within that, he added, “The best companies [are those] that are mission critical for their customers… Those will continue to attract very good multiples.”
Open-source password manager Bitwarden raises $100M – TechCrunch
Bitwarden, an open-source password manager for enterprises and consumers, has raised $100 million in a round of funding led by PSG, with participation form Battery Ventures.
Founded initially back in 2015, Santa Barbara, California-based Bitwarden operates in a space that includes well-known incumbents including 1Password, which recently hit a $6.8 billion valuation off the back of a $620 million fundraise, and Lastpass, which was recently spun out as an independent company again two years after landing in the hands of private equity firms.
In a nutshell, Bitwarden and its ilk make it easier for people to generate secure passwords automatically, and store all their unique passwords and sensitive information such as credit card data in a secure digital vault, saving them from reusing the same insecure password across all their online accounts.
Bitwarden’s big differentiator, of course, lies in the fact that it’s built atop an open-source codebase, which for super security-conscious individuals and businesses is a good thing — they can fully inspect the inner-workings of the platform. Moreover, people can contribute back to the codebase and expedite development of new features.
On top of a basic free service, Bitwarden ships a bunch of paid-for premium features and services, including advanced enterprise features like single sign-on (SSO) integrations and identity management.
It’s worth noting that today’s “minority growth investment” represents Bitwarden’s first substantial external funding in its seven year history, though we’re told that it did raise a small undisclosed series A round back in 2019. Its latest cash injection is indicative of how the world has changed in the intervening years. The rise of remote work, with people increasingly meshing personal and work accounts on the same devices, means the same password is used across different services. And such poor password and credential hygiene puts businesses at great risk.
Additionally, growing competition and investments in the management space means that Bitwarden can’t rest on its laurels — it needs to expand, and that is what its funds will be used for. Indeed, Bitwarden has confirmed plans to extend its offering into several aligned security and privacy verticals, including secrets management — something that 1Password expanded into last year via its SecretHub acquisition.
“The timing of the investment is ideal, as we expand into opportunities in developer secrets, passwordless technologies, and authentication,” Bitwarden CEO Michael Crandell noted in a press release. “Most importantly, we aim to continue to serve all Bitwarden users for the long haul.”
downgrade the ‘middle-men’ resellers – TechCrunch
As well as the traditional carbon offset resellers and exchanges such as Climate Partner or Climate Impact X the tech space has also produced a few, including Patch (US-based, raised $26.5M) and Lune (UK-based, raised $4M).
Now, Ceezer, a B2B marketplace for carbon credits, has closed a €4.2M round, led by Carbon Removal Partners with participation of impact-VC Norrsken VC and with existing investor Picus Capital.
Ceezer ’s pitch is that companies have to deal with a lot of complexity when considering how they address carbon removal and reduction associated with their businesses. Whie they can buy offsetting credits, the market remains pretty ‘wild-west’, and has multiple competing standards running in parallel. For instance, the price range of $5 to $500 per ton is clearly all over the place, and sometimes carbon offset resellers make buyers pay high prices for low-quality carbon credits, pulling in extra revenues from a very opaque market.
The startup’s offering is for corporates to integrate both carbon removal and avoidance credits in one package. It does this by mining the offsetting market for lots of data points, enabling carbon offset sellers to reach buyers without having to use these middle-men resellers.
The startup claims that sellers no longer waste time and money on bespoke contracts with corporates but instead use Ceezer’s legal framework for all transactions. Simultaneously, buyers can access credits at a primary market level, maximizing the effect of the dollars they spend on carbon offsets.
Ceezer says it now has over 50 corporate customers and has 200,000 tons of carbon credits to sell across a variety of categories. and will use the funds to expand its impact and sourcing team, the idea being to make carbon removal technologies more accessible to corporate buyers, plus widen the product offering for credit sellers and buyers.
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