The iPhone XS and XS Max sport an extra antenna band for Gigabit LTE, as spotted in an iFixIt teardown. And the new phones are seeing blazing fast download speeds. But that’s something you'll see only if you can connect to your carrier’s LTE network — and some early buyers are reporting huge problems with their connectivity.
According to some iPhone XS and XS Max buyers on Apple’s Support forums and Reddit, their new iPhones struggle to connect to LTE networks and are overall significantly slower when it comes to web page loading times. Many reports come from buyers who are comparing their new device’s speeds and connectivity to an older iPhone side-by-side. In these cases, a new iPhone has no cell signal, while the older one has full bars. The problems don't appear to be limited to a specific carrier.
The reported issues don't just involve cellular connectivity, either. Wi-Fi signals are weak, some buyers have reported, even when sitting right next to a router.
Anecdotally, my husband is experiencing the same issues with his iPhone XS Max on AT&T in New York City, where we typically have good coverage.
If the issue is software-based, Apple will likely fix it with an over-the-air update. If the hardware is to blame, that would be a significantly bigger deal. As with any product launch, it's difficult to gauge just how widespread the issue is.
We've reached out to Apple for comment and will update this story if the company responds.