Everything coming to Apple TV+ that we know about so far

The streaming video environment is more crowded than ever these days. Not to be left out, Apple launched Apple TV+ on November 1 and has been slowly adding original content. They’ve since signed overall deals with the likes of Alfonso Cuaron, Kerry Ehrin, Jon M. Chu, Justin Lin, Jason Katims, Lee Eisenberg, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Meryl Streep, and studios A24, Imagine Documentaries, and Oprah. Clearly, they mean business.

With so many options out there, cord cutters have a lot to consider when it comes to deciding which streaming service to invest in. Of course, one of the biggest factors will be just how compelling each service’s movies and television shows are. In order to help you make an informed decision, here’s all the original content already on Apple TV+, what we know is coming, as well as everything that’s been rumored so far.

Released

Mythic Quest: Raven’s Banquet

Co-created by It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia creators/stars Rob McElhenny and Charlie Day (as well as Megan Ganz), Mythic Quest: Raven’s Banquet follows a team of video game developers and stars McElhenney as the fictional company’s creative director, Ian Grimm. It was recently renewed for a second season.

Little America

This anthology series developed by the Oscar-nominated writing duo of The Big Sick, Kumail Nanjiani and Emily V. Gordon, explores the immigrant experience by focusing on the true stories of immigrants in the U.S. “We wanted to focus on the immigrants doing everyday life stuff,” explained Nanjiani. The majority of writers and directors are either immigrants or the children of immigrants, and the show is intended to remind audiences that there’s “no such thing as the other. Only us.”

For All Mankind

A sci-fi series from Battlestar Galactica‘s Ronald D. Moore that explores what would have happened if the international space race had continued long after it actually ended. The first trailer for the alternate-history series debuted June 3 during Apple’s keynote presentation at its annual Worldwide Developer Conference.

The Elephant Queen

This documentary narrated by Chiwetel Ejiofor (12 Years a Slave) follows a mother elephant, Athena, as she travels across the African savannah with her herd following the loss of their waterhole.

The Morning Show

One of the biggest projects Apple is working on — given both its A-list cast and Apple’s resource investment — is this series that explores the behind-the-scenes drama of a morning TV news show. The Morning Show will team Reese Witherspoon and Jennifer Aniston both in front of the camera and as producers, while also bringing Steve Carell back to television. The series will “pull back the curtain on the power dynamic between women and men,” according to Witherspoon and Aniston. Apple has already ordered two seasons of the series.

Ghostwriter

A reboot of the popular 1990s children’s series of the same name, the new version will follow a group of kids who must solve the mystery of a ghost’s unfinished business after it begins bringing fictional characters to life in their neighborhood.

See

A fantasy epic starring Jason Momoa and Alfre Woodard, the series is set centuries after a virus has killed off all but a few million people and rendered the survivors blind. Momoa asked the audience at Apple’s presentation to close their eyes, saying, “Imagine every human experience available to you … experienced in this way.”

Helpsters

Developed with Sesame Workshop and featuring both new and familiar puppets from the Sesame Street world, the kid-friendly series will use principles of coding to solve problems.

Snoopy in Space

The beloved Peanuts character Snoopy heads off into space for this animated adventure that has him take command of the International Space Station. Hilarity is likely to ensue.

Dickinson

A comedy series based on the life of poet Emily Dickinson that stars Hailee Steinfeld (Bumblebee) as Dickinson and Jane Krakowski (30 Rock) as her mother.

Dear…

From Emmy and Peabody winner R.J. Cutler, this series will profile internationally-renowned leaders like Oprah Winfrey, Spike Lee, Yara Shahidi, Stevie Wonder, Misty Copeland, and many more using letters written to them from fans as a medium.

Amazing Stories

A revival of the sci-fi /fantasy anthology series of the same name, Amazing Stories has Steven Spielberg on board as producer. (Think Jordan Peele’s new Twilight Zone series, but on Apple’s service instead of CBS All Access.) According to Spielberg, the first season is intended to provide a “single thematic experience” for audiences despite telling stand-alone stories. One episode will feature a World War II pilot whose plane travels into the present day.

Here We Are: Notes for Living on Planet Earth

Meryl Streep will provide voiceover narration of this upcoming animated short film about Earth Day. Jacob Tremblay (Room) voices a 7-year old child who learns about the planet. Chris O’Dowd and Ruth Negga provide the voices for his parents.

Defending Jacob

Based on the 2012 New York Times best-selling novel of the same name, Defending Jacob tells the story of a crime that shakes a small Massachusetts town to its core. It stars Chris Evans, Michelle Dockery, Jaeden Martell, Cherry Jones, Pablo Schreiber, Betty Gabriel, and Sakina Jaffrey.

Visible…

This docuseries is produced by Ryan White, Jessica Hargrave, Wanda Sykes, and Wilson Cruz and focuses on the LGBTQ movement’s impact on television. It will feature narration from Janet Mock, Margaret Cho, Asia Kate Dillon, Neil Patrick Harris, and Lena Waithe.

Central Park

Central Park First Look for Apple TV+

An animated musical comedy from Bob’s Burgers creator Loren Bouchard, Nora Smith, and Josh Gad, Central Park will follow the Tillermans, a family that lives in Central Park. The voice cast includes the likes of Josh Gad, Leslie Odom Jr., Kristen Bell, Kathryn Hahn, Tituss Burgess, Daveed Diggs, and Stanley Tucci. From the first-look image, it looks like it will be made in a similar animation style to Bob’s Burgers.

Little Voice

J.J. Abrams and musician Sara Bareilles team up for this series that follows a young musician in New York City learning to find herself and her voice. Bareilles will serve as co-creator, co-producer, and composer on the series.

Trying

Apple’s first original series from the U.K., Trying stars Rafe Spall and  Esther Smith as a couple who are trying to have a baby. Apple, however, describes the series’ larger theme as about “growing up, settling down and finding someone to love.”

Servant

This series from Sixth Sense filmmaker M. Night Shyamalan follows a Philadelphia couple whose marriage is disintegrating after a terrible tragedy, and the mysterious force that enters their lives. Rupert Grint, Lauren Ambrose, and Toby Kebbell star in the series.

Time Bandits

Thor: Ragnarok and What We Do in the Shadows director Taika Waititi has been hired by Apple to helm a TV adaptation of the 1981 fantasy film Time Bandits, which follows a young boy who embarks on a series of time-traveling adventures with a group of dwarfs.

More Animal Crossing: New Horizons details revealed in Nintendo Direct

After a quiet lull, Nintendo revealed a swatch of new details about Animal Crossing: New Horizons in its latest Direct presentation. The 25-minute video unveiled new customization tools and confirmed the return of several familiar features and faces.

The Deep Dive Into Deserted Life livestream made it clear that New Horizons won’t be a departure for the series. Several staples of the franchise made an appearance in the presentation, including buildings like Nook’s Cranny, Able Sisters, and the Museum.

Previously, Nintendo only detailed Resident Services, where players can craft items. The Direct gave more details about its function, showing how it can be used to customize furniture with hand-made designs and make changes to houses once players upgrade their tent. When Resident Services expands, it will allow players to build bridges and slopes around town through a Construction Consultant feature.

The building will be home to fan-favorite Isabelle, who will return for the game.

Other new customization features will allow players to alter an island’s terrain, letting them add or remove cliffs and rivers via an Island Designer App in the game’s Nook Phone. The app will also allow players to freely pave paths around their island once unlocked.

Home decoration receives a slight overhaul, allowing players to select and move multiple pieces of furniture at once.

A big part of Animal Crossing’s appeal is its online and local multiplayer modes, which are handled through an island’s airport for New Horizons. Among the new features is Party Play, which allows four of one island’s residents to play together on one Switch. Online play will feature a restriction that prevents players from using axes and shovels on the island unless they are designated as a “Best Friend.”

Regular free updates are planned for the game, which will bring seasonal events. The first will be available on launch day, bringing a Bunny Day event to the game. So far, Nintendo only revealed that free updates will include more events, something that’s always come baked into the game, and further amiibo support. Beyond the updated content, the game features regular seasonal activities and recurring events such as fishing tournaments and bug-offs.

New Horizons will utilize the Nintendo Online app with a Nook Link tool. In addition to providing communication options via voice or text, the app will allow players to scan QR codes from Animal Crossing: New Leaf and Happy Home Designer and import custom designs into New Horizons.

Amiibo support returns to the series, letting players invite villagers to their island through the new Campground building.

While all of the new features are exciting for fans, the Direct did feature one rub. Nintendo touched on the game’s controversial decision not to allow cloud saves, saying that players would only be able to recover lost save data through a service backup in “special cases.” However, players can only retrieve their data once, and they have to be a Nintendo online member. It’s also available “sometimes after launch,” so it won’t be in the game come release day.

The short video is packed with even more details, from bee stings to returning characters like Gulliver and Sahara, giving the sense that New Horizons is a more of a traditional Animal Crossing game than its deserted island setting initially implied. We’ll soon see what else returns to the game when it launches March 20, just after its special-edition Switch arrives.

More Animal Crossing: New Horizons details revealed in Nintendo Direct

After a quiet lull, Nintendo revealed a swatch of new details about Animal Crossing: New Horizons in its latest Direct presentation. The 25-minute video unveiled new customization tools and confirmed the return of several familiar features and faces.

The Deep Dive Into Deserted Life livestream made it clear that New Horizons won’t be a departure for the series. Several staples of the franchise made an appearance in the presentation, including buildings like Nook’s Cranny, Able Sisters, and the Museum.

Previously, Nintendo only detailed Resident Services, where players can craft items. The Direct gave more details about its function, showing how it can be used to customize furniture with hand-made designs and make changes to houses once players upgrade their tent. When Resident Services expands, it will allow players to build bridges and slopes around town through a Construction Consultant feature.

The building will be home to fan-favorite Isabelle, who will return for the game.

Other new customization features will allow players to alter an island’s terrain, letting them add or remove cliffs and rivers via an Island Designer App in the game’s Nook Phone. The app will also allow players to freely pave paths around their island once unlocked.

Home decoration receives a slight overhaul, allowing players to select and move multiple pieces of furniture at once.

A big part of Animal Crossing’s appeal is its online and local multiplayer modes, which are handled through an island’s airport for New Horizons. Among the new features is Party Play, which allows four of one island’s residents to play together on one Switch. Online play will feature a restriction that prevents players from using axes and shovels on the island unless they are designated as a “Best Friend.”

Regular free updates are planned for the game, which will bring seasonal events. The first will be available on launch day, bringing a Bunny Day event to the game. So far, Nintendo only revealed that free updates will include more events, something that’s always come baked into the game, and further amiibo support. Beyond the updated content, the game features regular seasonal activities and recurring events such as fishing tournaments and bug-offs.

New Horizons will utilize the Nintendo Online app with a Nook Link tool. In addition to providing communication options via voice or text, the app will allow players to scan QR codes from Animal Crossing: New Leaf and Happy Home Designer and import custom designs into New Horizons.

Amiibo support returns to the series, letting players invite villagers to their island through the new Campground building.

While all of the new features are exciting for fans, the Direct did feature one rub. Nintendo touched on the game’s controversial decision not to allow cloud saves, saying that players would only be able to recover lost save data through a service backup in “special cases.” However, players can only retrieve their data once, and they have to be a Nintendo online member. It’s also available “sometimes after launch,” so it won’t be in the game come release day.

The short video is packed with even more details, from bee stings to returning characters like Gulliver and Sahara, giving the sense that New Horizons is a more of a traditional Animal Crossing game than its deserted island setting initially implied. We’ll soon see what else returns to the game when it launches March 20, just after its special-edition Switch arrives.

Netflix teases time-twisting season 2 of The Umbrella Academy

It’s been just over a year since the premiere of The Umbrella Academy on Netflix, and with filming on the second season concluded, fans are finally getting a peek at what season 2 will bring for the show’s dysfunctional family of superheroes.

Netflix released a series of posters on Twitter featuring each of the show’s main characters’ eyes framed by an umbrella-shaped pattern. The series of character-specific images were preceded by a promotional image for the second season with the tagline “When are they?”

“This time travel thing? It gets messy,” Netflix wrote in the accompanying tweet. “The cast of Umbrella Academy is back for Season 2!”

After the first season of The Umbrella Academy ended on a cliffhanger that saw the siblings journey back in time — with some help from Number Five (Aidan Gallagher) — in the midst of an apocalyptic event, fans were left wondering where the next season would send the reluctant heroes. The Netflix teasers suggest that a journey through time is indeed in their future (or is it their past?), but judging by the events of the first season, their adventure isn’t likely to go smoothly.

Netflix renewed The Umbrella Academy in April 2019, just two months after the series launched on the streaming service. There’s no word on when the second, 10-episode season will premiere, but filming on the new season reportedly concluded in November 2019.

The Umbrella Academy is based on the comic book series of the same name written by Gerard Way and illustrated by Gabriel Bá, and was developed for TV by Steve Blackman (the Fargo TV series) and Jeremy Slater (Death Note). The series follows a group of adopted siblings with extraordinary powers who spend their childhood as a superhero team, only to grow estranged in later years. They reunite years later when their father dies, only to find themselves caught up in a world-threatening mystery tied to their past.

Season 2 of The Umbrella Academy is expected to bring back first-season stars Ellen Page, Tom Hopper, Emmy Raver-Lampman, Robert Sheehan, David Castañeda, Aidan Gallagher, and Justin Min, as well as Cameron Britton and Mary J. Blige, who portrayed the time-hopping mercenaries Hazel and Cha-Cha. Several new cast members for season 2 were also announced, with Ritu Arya, Yusuf Gatewood, and Marin Ireland all joining the series.

Arya will portray Lila, “a chameleon who can be as brilliant or as clinically insane as the situation requires,” while Gatewood will play Raymond, “a born leader with the smarts, gravitas, and the confidence to never have to prove it to anyone.” Ireland will play Sissy, “a fearless, no-nonsense Texas mom who married young for all the wrong reasons.”

Westworld Season 3 trailer: HBO sends the show into the unknown

HBO’s Westworld ventures into a brave, new world in its third season, and the stakes have never been higher.

The season 3 trailer for Westworld arrived online Thursday in advance of the show’s return in March, and it offers a preview of the war to come between the android hosts — now free of the confines of the titular, high-tech amusement park — and the unsuspecting human world.

Over the course of the series’ first two seasons, the park’s androids achieved a form of sentience and eventually rid themselves of human control, staging an uprising that swept across the park and left more than a few human bodies in its wake. In the second season, several hosts managed to find a way out of the park, and the third season picks up in the aftermath of their departure from the park’s borders.

Along with chronicling the androids’ experiences in the human world, the season is also expected to introduce another new theme park — this time, with a World War II theme. The latest trailer offers a preview of some of the environments and tense events the new park holds for its visitors, whether android or human.

Season 3 of Westworld brings back many of the show’s regular cast members, including Evan Rachel Wood as Dolores, Thandie Newton as Maeve, Jeffrey Wright as Bernard, Tessa Thompson as Charlotte, and Ed Harris as William.

The series also adds a few familiar faces to the third-season cast, including Breaking Bad star Aaron Paul, Master of None actress Lena Waithe, Black Swan actor Vincent Cassel, musician Kid Cudi, and professional football player Marshawn Lynch.

Created by Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy, and executive produced by the aforementioned duo along with  J. J. Abrams, Jerry Weintraub, and Bryan Burk, HBO’s Westworld series is based on the 1973 film of the same name that was written and directed by Michael Crichton. Westworld consistently ranks among the premium cable network’s most-watched shows. The series’ first season still holds the record as the network’s most popular first season of any original series produced by HBO so far.

Season 3 is scheduled to premiere March 15.

Trends with Benefits podcast

The continuing evolution of Visual Effects never ceases to amaze, when it comes to the Academy Awards nominees. On this episode we will be covering the Oscar nominees of 2020, The Lion King, Star Wars: Rise of Skywalker, The Irishman, Avengers: Endgame, and 1917.

Today’s podcast cast includes: Caleb Denison, Adrien Warner, Ryan Waniata, and Greg Nibler.

Trends with Benefits

Each week, we gather a roundtable of tech experts, along with celebrity guests to discuss all things technology-related on Trends with Benefits. We will recap the most important tech stories to surface throughout the week and include any late breaking tech headlines. This is your go to source for topical, informative, fun conversations about the technology that is changing our lives, all in a one-of-a-kind podcast.

Trends with Benefits also streams live each week at 2:30 p.m. PT. The video podcast is available on Facebook,  YouTube and Twitch, giving you the opportunity to join in and ask questions. You’ll get your chance to voice your opinions along with the experts on the show.

Every week the podcast is different, covering the entire range of tech topics available at Digital Trends: Smart home devices and smart speakers are evolving rapidly. They provide new levels of convenience at home, but does Google Home or Amazon Alexa invade your privacy?

With how essential smartphones are to everyday life, Trends with Benefits dices deep into all the latest iPhone and Android news, along with providing real life reviews of all the newest phones.

How we watch television is evolving as streaming services like Netflix and Amazon Prime Video compete with cable companies. The TV in your living room is also transforming to take advantage of cord-cutting. Our TV expert Caleb Denison weighs in with all the latest inside information on where TV trends are headed. For weekly recommendations of what shows to stream and movies to watch listen to our other podcast Between the Streams.

Nearly anything Elon Musk does is fair game to talk about on Trends with Benefits. From Tesla to SpaceX to the Boring Co. we cover it all.

Other regular topics include virtual reality and augmented reality, the latest gaming consoles, artificial intelligence (AI) and robots. We love to talk about robots.

Be sure to catch each half-hour episode. Please subscribe now and share Trends with Benefits with your fellow tech enthusiasts. Send in your questions to podcast@digitaltrends.com.

Host Greg Nibler @GregNibler is a media personality, writer, actor, and all around funny guy. Check out his other podcast Funemployent Radio.

Other regular guests include:

The best Nintendo Switch games (February 2020)

The new year has been good to the Nintendo Switch. The console/handheld hybrid has enjoyed a lofty time on the market already, but a slew of promising ports in the first few months of the year has eased Christmas 2019 adopters into a healthy diet of new titles to enjoy.

Ports of existing gems like To the Moon and Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE Encoure cover two sides of the RPG market, whereas the newly completed Kentucky Route Zero has something for those who like to settle down with a classic point-and-click adventure. Whatever you’re in the market for, we rounded up the best Nintendo Switch games you can find, with just the right amount of context to fuel your next obsession.

Astral Chain

PlatinumGames has established itself as one of the best action game studios in the world, with critical darlings like Bayonetta 2 and the existential Nier: AutomataAutomata lead designer Takahisa Taura was given his first chance to direct with the Switch-exclusive Astral Chain, which doubles down on the insane action that PlatinumGames has prided itself on for the last decade. Rather than the post-apocalypse, you’re in a bustling city that is under attack by mysterious interdimensional forces, and it’s up to you to stop it.

You won’t work alone, however, as Astral Chain pairs the protagonist with several “Legion” characters who can attack in unison. This mix of direct and indirect combat is at the heart of the game, but you will also investigate mysteries and solve puzzles along the way. And you can pet the game’s dog-like Legion, so you know it’s good.

Hotline Miami Collection

One of the most stylish and innovative action games to release in the last decade, the original Hotline Miami was oozing with ’80s Miami Vice flair, but it was its ridiculously tough shooting combat that won players over. With death coming swiftly for both you and your enemies, it demands your full attention, and its bundled with the sequel Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number on Switch. Of course, as you play you will have to ask yourself a tough question: “Do you like hurting other people?”

The Switch itself is also an ideal platform for the game, as its simple control scheme doesn’t need a full-sized controller to be used effectively. All you need are your wits and your attention span, because failing to notice the positions of all the enemies in a building will be your downfall. If that happens at the end of a stage, it’s absolutely devastating, and will give you the angry burst of energy and drive you’ll need to beat it on the next try.

My Friend Pedro

What do you get when you combine the precision-shot action of Hotline Miami, the acrobatics of Trials, and the slow-motion bullet time effect from the Max Payne series? If that formula also includes one sentient banana, then you are either tripping on acid or playing My Friend Pedro. Split across several creative and perplexing levels, your goal is simple: Kill everyone and reach the exit. That’s easier said than done, of course, especially when turrets are locking onto your position to deliver a torrential downpour of bullets.

My Friend Pedro is the perfect game to play in the Switch’s handheld mode, too, because a level typically only takes a few minutes to complete. A surreal story gradually unravels as you progress, and special vehicular sections offer a nice burst of all-out action that differs from the methodical play of the rest of the game.

Enter the Gungeon

Developed by Dodge Roll and published by renowned indie studio Devolver Digital, Enter the Gungeon is one of the Switch’s absolute must-play indie titles. Enter the Gungeon is a challenging dungeon crawler with twitchy shooting mechanics and copious amounts of loot to uncover. It’s also a roguelike, though not in the traditional sense. All rooms stay the same, but the enemies, treasure, and location of the rooms are randomly generated.

Working your way deeper and deeper into the dungeon is a difficult task filled with worthwhile rewards. With great mechanics, entertaining lore, and mysteries to discover in every dark corner, Enter the Gungeon is an enthralling action experience. Although available on PS4, Xbox One, and PC, the top-down retro aesthetic feels great when playing in handheld mode on the Nintendo Switch.

Splatoon 2

The original Splatoon reinvented the multiplayer shooter by taking the emphasis off of simply eliminating enemies, and its unique ink-spraying online matches were unlike anything we had ever seen before. The Switch sequel, Splatoon 2, largely sticks to the formula we saw previously, but its inventive new multiplayer maps and weapons make the game even more engaging. The game’s humor is also back in full force, with puns galore and user-created artwork that is both hilarious and terrifying.

For those more interested in playing cooperatively, the Salmon Run mode is a great addition to Splatoon 2. Groups of four players must collect golden eggs while fending off waves of evil Salmonids, and it’s as ridiculous as it sounds. Just make sure all your friends have their own systems, as the game doesn’t support split-screen multiplayer.

Ape Out

Ape Out is a top-down kill fest starring an ape that makes humans explode into a pile of blood-soaked limbs. The latest game from Devolver Digital is simplistic but wonderful. In each of the game’s four chapters, you’re tasked with navigating an ape from captivity to freedom. The road to freedom is paved with gun-wielding guards that will shoot rather than ask questions. Thankfully, you can turn every guard into mush by shoving them, or you can use them as body shields before tossing them aside.

Ape Out maintains an addictive rhythm thanks to its jazzy soundtrack that interacts with what is happening on screen. Snare drums beat continuously, picking up the pace when in danger, and cymbals crash to mark the deaths of enemies. Ape is challenging but never feels unfair. Randomization keeps each successive retry feel as intense as the last.

No new DLC planned for Super Smash Bros. Ultimate beyond second Fighter Pass

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate received a sixth downloadable fighter on January 28and another batch of characters is in the works, but the 2018 release is nearing the end of its life span. Game director Masahiro Sakurai confirmed that the upcoming Fighter Pass Vol. 2 will be Ultimate’s final DLC.

The information comes from Sakurai’s latest column for Famitsu where he outlined the end of Smash’s content plans and said Nintendo isn’t working on the next Super Smash Bros. installment, either. That makes sense considering that there has never been more than one Smash Bros. game per Nintendo system.

The Fighter Pass will feature another six downloadable characters, all of which are chosen by Nintendo, according to Sakurai. All of the new characters will come to the game by January 31, 2021, meaning the game’s life cycle will span three years.

By Nintendo’s standards, three years is a long time for Switch games. Splatoon 2 got regular updates for a year and a half following its release while Arms stopped receiving new content after six months.

Despite the generous timeline, the revelation may make fans wary. With only six characters left, Nintendo only has a few opportunities to grant players’ loftiest wishes. Ultimate’s first fighter pack ended with a whimper when Fire Emblem: Three Houses’ hero Byleth became the game’s 75th character. Many fans were disappointed by the announcement, and Sakurai agreed there are too many sword characters.

Even with the end looming, the final characters won’t spell the end for Nintendo’s hit multiplayer game. Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is still a staple of the competitive fighting game circuit, and it shows no signs of slowing down in popularity. It will once again grace EVO’s stage this year, replacing Super Smash Bros. Melee for the second year in a row.

As for the game’s director, Sakurai is free to move on to new projects once Ultimate support ends. In his column, Sakurai notes that he was unable to work on anything else during Smash Bros. development. The last non-Smash project that Sakurai worked on was 2012’s Kid Icarus: Uprising, so hopefully, the beloved director will get a chance to work on something new in 2022.

Samsung Galaxy S20 Plus vs. iPhone 11 Pro Max: Get Plus or go Max?

Love a big phone? The new Samsung Galaxy S20 Plus is one of the biggest and best around, with a massive 6.7-inch Dynamic AMOLED display and an incredibly versatile quad-lens camera. But it’s not the only big phone out there, and it seems everyone has one they prefer. For many, Apple’s iPhone 11 Pro Max is the big phone of choice, with powerful flagship hardware, a long-lasting battery, and a jaw-droppingly good camera.

If you’re due an upgrade, or simply want something new and shiny, both of these massive, powerful flagships are tempting purchases. But at over $1,000 for each, it’s unlikely you can buy both. Which is better for you? We found out.

Specs

Samsung Galaxy S20 Plus Apple iPhone 11 Pro Max
Size 161.9 x 73.7 x 7.8 mm (6.4 x 2.9 x 0.3 inches) 158 x 77.8 x 8.1mm (6.22 x 3.06 x 0.32 inches)
Weight 186 grams (6.6 ounces) 226 grams (7.97 ounces)
Screen size 6.7-inch Dynamic AMOLED 2X 6.5-inch Super Retina XDR OLED
Screen resolution 3200 x 1440 pixels (525 pixels per inch) 2688 x 1242 pixels (458 pixels per inch)
Operating system Android 10 (under One UI 2.0) iOS 13
Storage space 128, 512GB 64, 256, 512GB
MicroSD card slot Yes, up to 1TB No
Tap-to-pay services Samsung Pay, Google Pay Apple Pay
Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 Apple A13 Bionic chip
RAM 12GB 4GB
Camera Quad lens 12-megapixel, 64-megapixel telephoto lens, 12-megapixel ultrawide lens, and ToF sensor rear, 10-megapixel front Triple lens 12MP wide, 12MP ultra-wide, and 12MP telephoto rear; 12MP TrueDepth front
Video 8K at 30 fps, 4K at 60 frames per second, 1080p at 240 fps, 720p at 960 fps 4K at up to 60 frames-per-second, 1080p at 240 fps
Bluetooth version Bluetooth 5.0 Bluetooth 5.0
Ports USB-C Lightning
Fingerprint sensor Yes, in-display No, Face ID instead
Water resistance IP68 IP68
Battery 4,500mAhFast charging (25W)

Qi wireless charging

3,969mAhFast charging (18W)

Qi wireless charging

App marketplace Google Play Store Apple App Store
Network support AT&T, T-Mobile, Sprint, Verizon AT&T, T-Mobile, Sprint, Verizon
Colors Cosmic Gray, Cloud Blue, Cosmic Black Midnight Green, Space Grey, Silver, Gold
Price $1,200 $1,100
Buy from Samsung, AT&T Apple, Best Buy
Review score Hands-on review 4.5 out of 5 stars

Looks aren’t everything, but when you’re spending so much, you want something you can show off. Thankfully, both of these phones are stunners. The Galaxy S20 Plus is probably the more unique of the two, with a sleek bezel-less design with curved edges, and a single hole-punch for the selfie camera. But the iPhone 11 Pro Max is no ugly duckling, and while the notch is sizable, the bezel-less design is no less stunning.

The iPhone 11 Pro Max has a slightly smaller display, but it’s still huge. The 6.5-inch Super Retina XDR display runs a 2688 x 1242 pixel resolution, and it’s crisp with deep colors and inky blacks. The S20 Plus’ 6.7-inch Dynamic AMOLED 2X display has a sharper 3200 x 1440 pixel resolution, though you’ll be hard-pressed to tell the difference in real use. The S20 Plus’ display also has the option for a super-smooth 120Hz refresh rate, which will please gamers.

There’s a substantial difference in weight though, and that’s down to build materials. The iPhone 11 Pro Max has a stainless steel frame, which is likely to be stronger than the S20 Plus’ aluminum frame. Durability differences end there though, and both have an IP68-rating for dust and water-resistance.

It’s very hard to separate these two, but based on the screen, the S20 Plus has to take the win.

There’s power-a-plenty here, and both phones have top flagship specs. The S20 Plus is rocking the latest Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 processor, while the iPhone uses Apple’s A13 Bionic processor. Benchmark scores between the two processors are split as to which is the more powerful, but what’s sure is you’re not going to lack power either way. Both phones will offer smooth performance in apps and games alike.

The S20 Plus has three times more RAM than the iPhone, but this isn’t the slam dunk you’d expect since iOS and Android handle RAM differently. But there’s more of a difference with storage. Apple really needs to ditch 64GB as a storage option on the basic iPhone, as it just isn’t enough. The S20 Plus starts at 128GB, and has support for 1TB MicroSD cards as well. The iPhone’s 256GB and 512GB models are better, but paying over $1,000 for 64GB of storage just isn’t acceptable.

Things are rosier for the iPhone where battery life is concerned. A full charge will take you into the next day and beyond, with our review unit hitting 35% at 5 a.m. after coming off the charger at 8 a.m. the day before. We haven’t had a chance to test the S20 Plus’ battery yet, but we’re not sure if it will be able to match that feat. The S20 Plus’ 25W charging is faster than the iPhone’s 18W charging, but the difference is small. Both have wireless charging too.

The differences between the two are slight, we’re calling this round a tie pending further testing

Camera

The latest iPhones and Galaxy phones have had significant camera upgrades, making this an important category. The iPhone 11 Pro Max sports a triple-lens camera configuration on the back, with wide, ultra-wide, and telephoto lenses (all 12-megapixel), and a 12-megapixel TrueDepth selfie lens around the front. It’s a phenomenal camera, and although we have some issues with the ultra-wide-angle lens, it’s absolutely the best camera phone at the moment. Smart HDR has been improved, and produces even better composite images than before, and the new Night Mode is excellent. The 12-megapixel selfie camera is similarly impressive.

Is the Galaxy S20 Plus the camera to surpass the iPhone 11 Pro Max? We haven’t had enough time with it yet, but it shows promise. Samsung has squeezed an enormous quad-lens camera onto the back, and it’s comprised of a 12-megapixel wide-angle lens, a 64-megapixel telephoto lens, a 12-megapixel ultra-wide lens, and a Depth Vision (time-of-flight) sensor. This powerful and versatile setup is completed by some new features, including a 3x optical zoom and 30x digital zoom, as well as Space Zoom A.I. stabilization. It can also shoot video in 8K.

Software and updates

Android vs. iOS is a tale as old as time, and it’s repeated here. You probably know which one you prefer at this point, but if you don’t, there’s plenty to love about both and we wager you can get used to either pretty quickly. Samsung’s One UI interface is a good Android skin, with plenty of customization options and some fun cosmetic touches.

But Samsung’s Achilles’ heel has always been updates, and it’s here the iPhone really shines. Fresh iOS updates come through on the day of release, and the iPhone 11 Pro Max can expect to be updated for years to come. Samsung’s flagships have to wait at least six months for the latest version of Android, and tend to be cut off from updates after two years. Apple’s record on updates is stellar, and that wins it this round.

Special features

The iPhone 11 Pro Max doesn’t have too many special features outside the powerful camera software, but the features it has are polished and impressive. There’s the Face ID-powered Animoji and Memoji, and there are whispers the spatially aware U1 chip could end up being used for something other than the upgraded AirDrop.

The Galaxy S20 Plus is packed with special features. The Bixby button may have gone, but Samsung’s A.I. Bixby remains, and you can choose between that and the Google Assistant. There’s also the DeX desktop mode, Wireless PowerShare, the in-display ultrasonic fingerprint scanner, and — most importantly — 5G is built into every S20 Plus. While it may seem a little odd to list this in special features, the inclusion of 5G helps to future proof this phone.

The Galaxy S20 Plus’s array of special features and support for 5G makes this a one-sided contest.

Price and availability

The Samsung Galaxy S20 Plus is available for pre-order from February 21, and will release on March 6. It will start from $1,200 for the 128GB model, and will work on most U.S. carriers — though you’ll need to make sure your carrier has a 5G network to use 5G. The iPhone 11 Pro Max is currently available, and it starts at $1,100. Like the S20 Plus, it’s available on most U.S. carriers and from many stores.

Overall winner: Samsung Galaxy S20 Plus

Samsung vs. Apple is a battle almost as old as smartphones themselves, and this time, Samsung’s new contender has come out on top. Based on the spec sheet and the categories above, the Samsung Galaxy S20 Plus is the stronger choice. It has powerful flagship specs, an exceptional screen, 5G support, and a galaxy of features. But it’s a tight contest, and if you prefer Apple or iOS, or really love the great camera or long battery life, the iPhone 11 Pro Max is still a great choice.

But if you don’t care whether you’re using iOS or Android, and simply want the best phone, go for the Samsung Galaxy S20 Plus.

Qualcomm’s X60 5G modem will power the next generation of 5G flagship phones

Qualcomm is bringing the 5G connectivity in today’s phones to the next level: The company has announced the new Qualcomm X60 modem, which Qualcomm says will help bring 5G into the mainstream through a new generation of flagship smartphones.

5G in general is likely to take off in 2020. Carriers including Verizon, AT&T, and the new T-Mobile/Sprint are finally widely rolling out their 5G networks, and smartphone manufacturers like Samsung are beginning to build 5G into their smartphones by default — rather than offering a special 5G-enabled version of a device that costs a lot extra.

The X60 is Qualcomm’s 3rd-generation 5G modem, and offers a few features over previous-generation 5G modems. For example, the modem is built on a 5-nanometer process — down from 7 in previous-generation modems. Not only that, but the modem offers features like millimeter-wave-sub6 spectrum aggregation. The result? You’ll get faster 5G connectivity, that can more easily switch between different types of 5G waves, and take advantage of the connections that are available. According to Qualcomm, the modem will deliver download speeds of up to a whopping 7.5 gigabits per second, and upload speeds of up to an impressive 3 gigabits per second — though the speeds you get will obviously vary widely depending on things like what your carrier offers and how many people are connected to the cell tower.

The X60 modem also comes with Qualcomm’s new QTM535 antenna module, which is built to offer better millimeter-wave performance. The antenna design is sleeker and more compact than previous-generation antennas, freeing up space inside a phone for other things, or allowing companies to make slimmer devices. (Although companies like Apple think it isn’t small enough.)

“Qualcomm Technologies is at the heart of 5G launches globally with mobile operators and OEMs introducing 5G services and mobile devices at record pace,” said Qualcomm in a statement. “As 5G standalone networks are introduced in 2020, our third-generation 5G modem-RF platform brings extensive spectrum aggregation capabilities and options to fuel the rapid expansion of 5G rollouts while enhancing coverage, power efficiency and performance for mobile devices.”

Qualcomm says the X60 modem will ship to manufacturers in the first quarter of 2020, and is expected to be available in commercial devices in early 2021. Because of the timeline, we expect the modern to ship alongside the next-generation Qualcomm mobile platform, which will be a follow-up to the Snapdragon 865.