iPhone X teardown reveals stacked logic board, L-shaped dual-cell battery and more

Shawn Knight

TechSpot Staff
Staff member

It’s been 10 years since Apple launched the original iPhone and altered the trajectory of mobile computing. In celebration of the occasion (and because the latest iteration just launched), iFixit took its talents to Australia to play the time zone game and be among the first to get their hands on the new iPhone X.

Then, of course, they promptly set about ripping the phone to shreds for the amusement of curious eyes around the world. Here’s what they found.

Thanks to a pre-teardown X-ray, the team learned that the iPhone X is powered by two battery cells – a first for an iPhone.

Breaching the perimeter proved no more difficult than with other recent iPhones as it seems Apple has made a long-term decision to stick with the “sideways-opening” technique first found on the 7 Plus. A few more twists of the specialty screwdriver and iFixit is able to free the unibracket from the logic board for a proper look at the phone’s hardware.

As is often the case, most of the interior real estate is consumed by the battery (or in this case, batteries). There’s also a decent footprint set aside for the dual rear camera system and its various stabilization techniques but what may be most impressive is the miniaturized logic board.

iFixit describes it as incredibly space efficient with the density of connectors and components being “unprecedented.” The iPhone 8 Plus logic board, by comparison, looks “gangly and expansive.” Key to pulling this feat off was using a double-stacked board, the first time Apple has utilized this technique since the very first iPhone. A third spacer PCB that lines the perimeter of the boards connects them, a seemingly much better alternative to traditional flex cables.

The dual-cell battery, meanwhile, is a 10.35 Wh (2,716mAh) unit that’s just slightly larger than the pack in the iPhone 8 Plus (but much smaller than the 12.71 Wh battery in the Galaxy Note 8).

All things considered, the iPhone X earned a repairability score of six out of 10 (the higher the number, the easier it is to repair). Display and battery swaps shouldn’t present a major issue for skilled technicians, so long as you’ve got the right tools for the job.

That's good news for DIYers as it was recently revealed that Apple will charge $279 to repair a broken iPhone X screen if you don't have extended warranty coverage. Worse yet, all other out-of-warranty repairs will set you back $549. I'm not big on extended warranties as most are rip-offs but in the case of the iPhone X, AppleCare+ seems worth having.

With the insurance, an iPhone X screen replacement would cost just $29 and all other repairs would be $99. AppleCare+ for the iPhone X costs $199 and extends warranty coverage up to two years. More importantly, it adds up to two incidents of accidental damage coverage (let's face it, people are clumsy).

More complex at-home repairs that involve disassembly of internal cables could present additional headaches and if you manage to break the phone’s rear glass panel, well, be prepared to remove everything and replace the entire chassis.

Lead image via Lili Sams, Mashable. All others courtesy iFixit

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Skidmarksdeluxe

TS Evangelist
Meh! The Apple Care program is merely another ripoff by Apple, just another of the many thousands of cash printing machines they have in their arsenal. I include both my phones and my wife's tablet (HTC 10, Galaxy A7 & some Huawei tablet) in my house holders out and about insurance policy and only increases the monthly premium by about $5 for everything. I claimed several months ago and the device was swiftly and efficiently replaced with a brand new replacement, no questions asked.
 

petert

TS Evangelist
So you pay one grand for da phone. Then you need accessories cause by itself is pretty lame. Then you better buy some insurance, just in case. Then what most mentally challenged don't realise is that you'd better put some good quality apps on it ... games and so on ... those costs money as well ... plus you need a data contract I guess, unless you enjoy sitting on wifi. Would be shame otherwise, a full grand just to receive phone and read a bit of social media when you reach a hotspot. The price can be easily pushed towards a grand and a half, just to have an usable phone and without worries that something might happen to it and it will cost a fortune just to fix it.
 
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Sum Guy

TS Booster
What ever happened to the indestructible approach back when smart phones were just becoming a thing? The Gorilla glass was suppose to prevent these phones from being so fragile. Some screen edge protection would pretty much eliminate screen features.

I see gorilla glass as a waste of time since they make it so thin. All the manufacturers could make a few slight design changes to prevent the screen from cracking. They also could afford to make them a little thicker. No matter how indestructible they make the phone, most customers will still buy a new phone every 2 years or less.


This is in response to:
"More importantly, it adds up to two incidents of accidental damage coverage (let's face it, people are clumsy)."
 

AaronCTO

TS Rookie
I'm a Chrome Ninja.
Will the iPhone X really run Chrome better than my Samsung S4?
My boyfriend works in desktop support and loves his LG Android.
 

Bomberspell

TS Rookie
Well well... I thought Nudity wasn't allowed... NOW we get to see - IPhone X's private parts.... might wanna add the Rated " R " there - anyway, this phone is too expensive for my blood - NON the less - good review!
 

Sausagemeat

TS Maniac
I’m guessing the battery on this thing must be pretty epic, I mean it’s an iPhone 8 Plus sized battery with an OLED screen which uses quite a bit less power than an LCD right? And as someone with an 8 plus I can attest to that device having a pretty great battery already.
 

Evernessince

地獄らしい人間動物園
I’m guessing the battery on this thing must be pretty epic, I mean it’s an iPhone 8 Plus sized battery with an OLED screen which uses quite a bit less power than an LCD right? And as someone with an 8 plus I can attest to that device having a pretty great battery already.
OLED may save energy or may cost more energy depending on what's displayed. The brighter the color, the more energy consumed. LCD screens on the otherhand only consume more power as you increase the backlight brightness. So for things like browsing the web, an OLED screen would consume near it's max power consumption, simply because an overwhelming majority of webpages uses brighter, whiter colors.

Some OLED manufacturers have added a white subpixel to address this issue, which allows you to display brighter colors with less energy and it may very well be in use here.
 

Skjorn

TS Guru
I think I missed something. I keep seeing everyone call this new X phone the "iPhone Ten" instead of saying it like "ex." Are they skipping iPhone 9? Is it just the 10th anniversary model? Wtf is going on? Switching to numerals?
 

Boilerhog146

TS Evangelist
Did they get it back together and working again?or is this the first,oops , iBROKE,phone.better start that first claim.lol.let us know how that goes.