Dual batteries, layered logic boards revealed in iPhone X teardown

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in iPhone
The customary teardown of the iPhone X by iFixit, within hours of its release, reveals Apple has made considerable changes to the internal design of the smartphone, including its layered logic boards and the use of two battery cells, a first for the product line.




Just as it did with the iPhone 8 in September, aftermarket repair firm iFixit acquired an iPhone X in Australia to take it apart as early as possible. Unlike the iPhone 8, the teardown shows that Apple has altered many aspects of the design compared to previous versions, in order to incorporate its new technology.

An initial x-ray of the iPhone X highlights Apple's use of two battery cells rather than a single component, maximizing the amount of available charge by using as much of the available space as possible, giving it a capacity of 10.35Wh. Rumors about the iPhone X suggested Apple would use an L-shaped battery, with the two cells connected together in the middle, making a similar shape.

Another space-saving technique used is the logic board sandwich, with Apple minimizing the footprint of the board by effectively soldering two smaller boards on top of each other, using a third spacer PCB with through-hole vias to connect them. Compared to the iPhone 8 Plus logic board, the sandwich used in the iPhone X takes up approximately 70 percent of the space when assembled, but approximately 135 percent when flattened out.

It is noted by iFixit that Apple has put considerable effort into cramming components onto the logic board, suggesting it to be unprecedented. Due to the high density of components, iFixit suggests "ounce for ounce, even an Apple Watch has more bare board" than the iPhone X.

Apple has designed a large number of the chips used on its logic board, including the A11 SoC, the audio codec, power management IC, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth module, and the audio amplifier. Qualcomm also makes an appearance, supplying the modem and gigabit LTE transceiver, while other chips are provided by Texas Instruments, NXP, STB, Skyworks, Toshiba, and Broadcom.




The iPhone X is held closed by unusual pin-like pentalobe screws which fastens onto the frame instead of the display, while leaving an unthreaded section for holding the display. It is thought this has been done to give the display some flexibility in its mounting, as well as making room for the Lightning connector.

Opening from the side, there is a single bracket on the top surface that covers all of the logic board connectors, with other cables connecting the display assembly to the rest of the iPhone X. It is noted that the front camera array is mounted to the main casing instead of the display assembly, unlike earlier iPhones.

The TrueDepth camera system is revealed to be in two parts, with the flood illuminator embedded in the display assembly, while the IR dot projector, IR camera, and front-facing camera are on a separate bracket. Once the logic board and battery are removed, the dual rear camera array is accessible, with it being supported by a foam adhesive providing a level of "airbag-style" protection.

Heading towards the back of the assembly, the lower speaker enclosure is attached with adhesive for waterproofing, beside the linear oscillator vibration motor-based Taptic Engine. The Lightning connector is seemingly reinforced with a wider bracket, as well as through-holes to allow it to attach to the long pentalobe screws.

The earpiece speaker on the display assembly has been redesigned with a duct to channel sound out through the screen. Also on the display assembly is a loudspeaker, microphone, ambient light sensor, flood illuminator, and proximity sensor, which iFixit says is "the most complex upper display component collection we've seen yet."

In the middle of the back casing is the wireless charging coil, the side buttons, and a multifunction cable holding the quad-LED True Tone flash and the power button.

The iPhone X has been given an iFixit "repairability" score of 6 out of 10. While Apple does score points for making it easier to perform display and battery repairs, as well as a cracked display replaceable without interfering with Face ID's biometric security, iFixit knocked down the score for its use of adhesives for waterproofing potentially interfering with repairs, complex and hard to replace cable assemblies, and the need to replace the entire chassis if the rear glass breaks.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 24
    I can think of no one other than Apple’s competitors being aided by such teardowns, which they’d do also as soon as the product is released.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 24
    Tech tear-down porn. How many new iPhones are lost to people who profit from destroying them to promote their websites, YouTube channels (amateur "drop tests") and the like?
    mwhiteracerhomiegilly33watto_cobrajony0
  • Reply 3 of 24
    Easier repairs lead to higher Apple care prices. That’s crazy! Apple business model is like no other. Can’t get mad. They only charge what people are willing to pay ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ 
  • Reply 4 of 24
    Tech tear-down porn. How many new iPhones are lost to people who profit from destroying them to promote their websites, YouTube channels (amateur "drop tests") and the like?
    Those iPhones deserve better.
    chiamwhiterepressthiswatto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 24
    macxpressmacxpress Posts: 4,722member
    Tech tear-down porn. How many new iPhones are lost to people who profit from destroying them to promote their websites, YouTube channels (amateur "drop tests") and the like?
    Yeah I don't understand why people order one and then just see how much they can destroy it on camera just to make a buck or two. Its not like Apple doesn't test this stuff before releasing it to the public. They have far more stringent testing than any street person can do. I guess people will do anything these days to make quick buck. The thing that sucks is...someone didn't get an iPhone X because this this person(s). I seriously doubt Apple is going to make a phone totally indestructible. When you drop it on a hard surface, we all know damn well what's gonna happen to it so why do we need video after video after every release. This is why you put a case on it to help protect it in case something like this should happen. In the real world though, how many iPhones are dropped from forehead height? I'd think usually its from hip height (coming out of your pocket), or table height.
    edited November 2017 pscooter63mwhitewatto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 24
    Yeah, but "Does it Blend???"

    :-)

    airnerdbaconstangrepressthiswatto_cobra
  • Reply 7 of 24
    chabigchabig Posts: 622member
    I can think of no one other than Apple’s competitors being aided by such teardowns, which they’d do also as soon as the product is released.
    As you said, competitors buy their own phones and do their own teardowns. These are for public consumption and don't benefit anyone other than us.
    netmagemike1jony0
  • Reply 8 of 24
    I find every part of the ifixit reviews helpful except the obsolete “repairability” score. I’m never going to risk a user repair when the geniuses can do it under warranty, LOL. 

    netmageasdasdpatchythepiratebaconstangSpamSandwichrepressthisgilly33watto_cobrajony0
  • Reply 9 of 24
    airnerdairnerd Posts: 617member
    Tech tear-down porn. How many new iPhones are lost to people who profit from destroying them to promote their websites, YouTube channels (amateur "drop tests") and the like?
    As an AAPL investor, I couldn't care less :)
    king editor the gratewatto_cobra
  • Reply 10 of 24
    airnerdairnerd Posts: 617member
    I find every part of the ifixit reviews helpful except the obsolete “repairability” score. I’m never going to risk a user repair when the geniuses can do it under warranty, LOL. 

    Not everyone keeps their phones only until warranty is up.  I personally have replaced a lot of things on my phones over the years (screen on 3G, lock button/speaker/screen on 4S, screen on 6) and like the fact the repair-ability score.  I can tell you that Apple must pay attention too because each phone has been easier and easier to replace the screen.  That 3G screen was the WORST to repair.  The 6 took about 5 minutes and I had never done one and just watched a tutorial video.  

    With that said, no phone will ever be able to be waterproof and easy to repair.  If you want to keep water out you have to use some serious sealant, and that means tough to open.  I'm good with that.
    rhinotuffStrangeDayswatto_cobra
  • Reply 11 of 24
    zoetmbzoetmb Posts: 2,387member
    I find every part of the ifixit reviews helpful except the obsolete “repairability” score. I’m never going to risk a user repair when the geniuses can do it under warranty, LOL. 

    I don't see those scores as obsolete.  While it's certainly true that one would have a phone fixed under warranty, cracked screens and the like aren't covered and when the warranty expires in a year (if one doesn't buy Apple Care, which is insult added to injury), it would be nice to be able to repair one's own phone.   Having said that, the jack on my iPhone 4 or 5 wore out and I couldn't charge the phone any longer.   I bought a replacement part from iFixIt and followed the instructions and the new jack did work, but I couldn't stop the phone from constantly rebooting.   So I wound up having to buy a new phone anyway.   But then I transplanted that screen into a friend's phone and that worked pretty well, so the iFixIt instructions were quite helpful.    And it just so happens that the Lightning jack is now starting to be unreliable on my iPhone 6.   It would have been nice to have that phone last longer or be repairable because I would have given it to a young relative who needs a new device. 

    It doesn't bother me when iFixIt takes apart a phone because they themselves have to document the process and repair possibilities.   But when some idiot on YouTube buys a phone and destroys it, it drives me nuts.  And I find it hard to believe that these people get enough income from their small share of the advertising revenue to make it worth it, but on the other hand, who can afford to destroy a $thousand phone just for the fun of it?
  • Reply 12 of 24
    asdasdasdasd Posts: 5,199member
    macxpress said:
    Tech tear-down porn. How many new iPhones are lost to people who profit from destroying them to promote their websites, YouTube channels (amateur "drop tests") and the like?
    Yeah I don't understand why people order one and then just see how much they can destroy it on camera just to make a buck or two. Its not like Apple doesn't test this stuff before releasing it to the public. They have far more stringent testing than any street person can do. I guess people will do anything these days to make quick buck. The thing that sucks is...someone didn't get an iPhone X because this this person(s). I seriously doubt Apple is going to make a phone totally indestructible. When you drop it on a hard surface, we all know damn well what's gonna happen to it so why do we need video after video after every release. This is why you put a case on it to help protect it in case something like this should happen. In the real world though, how many iPhones are dropped from forehead height? I'd think usually its from hip height (coming out of your pocket), or table height.
    I mean, presumably they get the money back in paid for views etc. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 13 of 24
    An amazing example of manufacturing and design to cram so much into a phone. And despite all this still scoring a respectable 6 out of 10.
    patchythepirateracerhomiebaconstangpscooter63caliwatto_cobra
  • Reply 14 of 24
    Hawk5263 said:
    Easier repairs lead to higher Apple care prices. That’s crazy! Apple business model is like no other. Can’t get mad. They only charge what people are willing to pay ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ 
    i didn't read the ifixit tear down. did they say its easier to repair? the screen costs more than previously doesnt it?
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 15 of 24
    macxpressmacxpress Posts: 4,722member
    Hawk5263 said:
    Easier repairs lead to higher Apple care prices. That’s crazy! Apple business model is like no other. Can’t get mad. They only charge what people are willing to pay ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ 
    i didn't read the ifixit tear down. did they say its easier to repair? the screen costs more than previously doesnt it?
    6/10 was the score. 
  • Reply 16 of 24
    avon b7avon b7 Posts: 3,185member
    I can think of no one other than Apple’s competitors being aided by such teardowns, which they’d do also as soon as the product is released.
    EDIT. Sorry. Read the post the wrong  way round.
    edited November 2017
  • Reply 17 of 24
    Tech tear-down porn. How many new iPhones are lost to people who profit from destroying them to promote their websites, YouTube channels (amateur "drop tests") and the like?
    I love the iFixIt tear downs not because I want to fix them but because Apple doesn’t show their construction. These tear downs are a public service really.

    It’s so fascinating to see how much Apple can cram into a small case. They’ve taken what they’ve done with the MacBooks and found a way to do that to an iPhone which makes sense.

    I love Apple because after having spent 18 years working in IT as a Systems Engineer and having to repair many desktops and laptops no one else comes close to Apple’s designs even with these tear downs coming out.

    Compare a MacBook Pro to a high end HP or Lenovo or Dell or even Alienware and you’ll see the pathetic designs of those machines in comparison.

    To fit so much tech in such a tiny space is a phenominal achievement.
    GilmoreActualcaliSoliwatto_cobra
  • Reply 18 of 24
    sergiozsergioz Posts: 219member
    Tech tear-down porn. How many new iPhones are lost to people who profit from destroying them to promote their websites, YouTube channels (amateur "drop tests") and the like?
    Don't worry they are paid for!
  • Reply 19 of 24
    calicali Posts: 3,495member
    Tech tear-down porn. How many new iPhones are lost to people who profit from destroying them to promote their websites, YouTube channels (amateur "drop tests") and the like?
    And it's usually some snarky sarcastic anti-Apple exaggeration. "Look the iPhone screen breaks because it's glass" and idiots regurgitate that crap even in real life. I've heard sheep repeat "iPhones break easily" and "the iPhone glass screen breaks".
    suddenly newtonwatto_cobra
  • Reply 20 of 24
    SoliSoli Posts: 8,464member
    I find every part of the ifixit reviews helpful except the obsolete “repairability” score. I’m never going to risk a user repair when the geniuses can do it under warranty, LOL. 
    And when the warranty has expired or one has broken the display that isn't covered under the factory warranty?
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