Teardown: Inside the iPhone X

Teardown: Inside the iPhone X

This is the iPhone that Steve Jobs imagined. He ran out of time to build it, but he built the team that eventually did. We beat the lines in the United States and traveled to Australia to take apart an iPhone X in the future and find out how his vision was finally brought to life.

The iPhone X opens from the side just like the 7 and 8—but inside, it’s a whole new ball game. When it comes to hardware, this is the most densely-packed gadget we’ve ever taken apart. Thanks to drastically shrinking the bezels, the iPhone X sports the largest display of any iPhone—in a smaller form factor than the “Plus” devices. That super-sized display needs a super-sized battery, and there wasn’t room with the iPhone’s traditional layout. The solution? An unprecedented degree of miniaturization of the main board. Apple effectively folded the logic board in half—and soldered the layers together—to free up valuable real estate for the Plus-sized battery. In its compact and stacked form, the iPhone X logic board takes up about 70% of the area of the iPhone 8 Plus board. Separated and spread out, the X’s board is actually 35% bigger than the one in the 8 Plus—which leaves plenty of room for new goodies, like hardware to power FaceID.

The closest thing we’ve seen to the iPhone X’s stacked logic board is the one we found tearing down the original iPhone. Of course, the new phone’s case—with its metal frame and subtle curves—also pays homage to the original. Ten years of iPhone, one design team. Even after a decade of iteration and innovation, Apple has built a device that evokes the spirit of its greatest visionary.

iPhone X Teardown Highlights:

  • For the first time in iPhone history, Apple packed in a 2-cell battery that allowed them to get creative with the shapes and placement in a space-constrained phone. It weighs in at 10.35 Wh, which is on par with the iPhone 8 Plus battery, but shy of the Galaxy Note8’s 12.71 Wh behemoth. Pretty impressive for a phone smaller than any of the aforementioned.
  • Just like we saw on the iPhone 8, Apple banished all regulatory markings from the back of the iPhone X—including the e-waste symbol. We did a little sleuthing, and that featureless backplane is possible due to the E-LABEL Act, which allows manufacturers to display those labels on the screen instead.
  • The dual rear camera has a beefy bracket that looks like it might also offer some Bendgate-proofing support. The cameras are additionally secured to the rear case with foam adhesive to keep things from jostling out of place. (These cameras really need to stay put for Portrait Mode and similar features to work their magic.)
  • With Apple’s embrace of the OLED display, repair costs for this luxury phone are likely to start high and stay there for a while. So don’t drop this thing.
  • Despite its name, the iPhone X earns a 6 out of 10 on the repairability scale. Like the 8 series, it makes battery and display replacements a priority—but it loses points for its lack of modularity and back glass replacement procedure.

Check out the full iPhone X teardown on iFixit.com for even more analysis.

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