The iPhone Xs and Xs Max are more water-resistant than prior models. Photo: Apple

The first iPhone Xs and Xs Max reviews are in —and while there's a consensus that the Max's big is truly beautiful, there's also a raft of critics saying you might want to wait for the more humanly priced iPhone Xr next month.

Why it matters: The iPhone is Apple's most important product and the iPhone X has been its best seller. The new phones are modest updates, with the big-screen Max option being the most visible difference, along with a faster processor and new camera tricks.

What they're saying:

  • The Wall Street Journal's Joanna Stern: "The Max just feels like a blown-up iPhone, when it could be a new sort of computer" and "One-handed use is a struggle at times with smaller hands, especially typing."
  • The Verge's Nilay Patel: "[The Max has] a gigantic, beautiful screen, and I have enjoyed looking at it a lot," but "the Pixel 2 still has a better camera than the iPhone Xs."
  • Wired's Lauren Goode: "This year’s phones don’t spark strong feelings — except maybe chagrin that they cost so much."
  • The New York Times' Brian X. Chen: "By eliminating the bezels, which are the screen’s borders, Apple did a terrific job of increasing screen size without adding bulk or compromising the usability of the Xs Max. I still think the smaller XS is a better fit for most people."
  • BuzzFeed's John Paczkowski: "Apple has certainly improved the iPhone with the Xs and the Xs Max... But, crucially, it hasn't improved my experience of the iPhone."

Go deeper: Here's our hands-on first look at the iPhone Xs and Xs Max. We'll have our full review in the coming days.

Early sales: Loup Ventures' Gene Munster measured the earliest pre-order data and found significantly shorter lead times for the iPhone Xs and iPhone Xs Max than for last year's iPhone X. However, given that the iPhone X was a big leap forward, that's not terribly surprising.

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Taiwan on Thursday marked no locally transmitted coronavirus cases for 200 days, as the island of 23 million people's total number of infections reported stands at 550 and the COVID-19 death toll at seven.

Why it matters: Nowhere else in the world has reached such a milestone. While COVID-19 cases surge across the U.S. and Europe, Taiwan's last locally transmitted case was on April 12. Experts credit tightly regulated travel, early border closure, "rigorous contact tracing, technology-enforced quarantine and universal mask wearing," along with the island state's previous experience with the SARS virus, per Bloomberg.

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