AU­TOPSY

Maximum PC - - TABLE OF CONTENTS -

We strip down the Ap­ple iPhone 8 to its core.

BACK­GROUND

Ap­ple’s skipped its iPhone “S” up­date, so we skipped ahead a cou­ple time­zones. We went to Cir­cuit­wise head­quar­ters, in Syd­ney, Aus­tralia, for our iPhone 8 tear­down. Time to find out whether Ap­ple’s merely play­ing nu­mer­i­cal catch-up to Sam­sung’s Gal­axy S8 line, or if glass back­ing and wire­less charg­ing war­rant skip­ping ahead a grade.

MA­JOR TECH SPECS

• A11 Bionic chip, with em­bed­ded M11 mo­tion co­pro­ces­sor

• 64GB or 256GB on­board stor­age ca­pac­ity

• 4.7-inch IPS mul­ti­touch 1334x750 (326 ppi) Retina HD dis­play

• 12MP cam­era with f/1.8 aper­ture, op­ti­cal im­age sta­bi­liza­tion,

and 5x dig­i­tal zoom

• 7MP Face­Time HD cam­era with f/2.2 aper­ture and 1080p HD

record­ing ca­pa­bil­ity

• Sup­port for fast-charge and Qi wire­less charg­ing

• 802.11a/b/g/n/ac Wi-Fi, MIMO, Blue­tooth 5.0, and NFC

KEY FIND­INGS

• Fea­tures in­clude a solid-state home “but­ton,” with Touch ID fin­ger­print sen­sor, and a (still) IPS dis­play, sim­i­lar to the one in the iPhone 7 (but now fea­tur­ing True Tone). On the back, we spy the snazzy new glass back­ing, with its seven-layer color fin­ish. Ap­ple as­sures us that it is re­in­forced with “an in­ter­nal laser-welded steel and cop­per struc­ture,” but time and dura­bil­ity tests will tell if this phone will suf­fer from a snap, crackle, pop—or an­other Bendgate.

• As we crack open the dis­play, we are greeted by the dis­play ca­ble bracket, but in­stead of the cursed tri-point screws, we’re met by friendly Phillips #000 screws! We de­cou­ple a few ca­bles—bat­tery, dis­play, and home but­ton—and the dis­play is free! We note a lack of gas­kets on the dis­play’s pen­talobe tabs, pre­vi­ously seen in the iPhone 7. How­ever, both the iPhone 7 and 8 have an IP67 wa­ter re­sis­tance rat­ing.

• A new Light­ning port bracket seems to re­in­force the new peach-col­ored port and trap the Tap­tic en­gine. Up un­til now, we’ve plugged along with our Phillips screw­driver—but in re­mov­ing this bracket, we en­coun­tered our first tri-point screw. We sus­pect the col­ored Light­ning port could be made of a heat-trans­fer­ring plas­tic to al­low for safer fast-charg­ing.

• We take a stab at sep­a­rat­ing the rear glass, but after a lot of heat and wet­work, we’ve in­stead shiv­ved our way un­der the re­in­force­ment panel. After more ar­du­ous stab­bing, we get the seven-layer bur­rito glass sand­wich off the mid­frame. This isn’t what we thought Ap­ple meant when it said the glass was stronger. The process left the back­ing plate a bit bent.

• Re­pairabil­ity Score: 6 out of 10 (10 is eas­i­est to re­pair). The two most com­monly re­placed com­po­nents, dis­play and bat­tery, re­main straight­for­ward to ac­cess with the proper knowl­edge and tools. Wire­less charg­ing means less strain on your Light­ning port, a com­mon point of fail­ure. Wa­ter and dust seals com­pli­cate re­pair, but make the need for dif­fi­cult liq­uid-dam­age re­pairs less likely. The bat­tery con­nec­tor sports com­mon Phillips/JIS fas­ten­ers—but you still need up to four dif­fer­ent driver types for many re­pairs. The dura­bil­ity of the glass back re­mains to be seen—but re­place­ments are likely to be very dif­fi­cult. The iPhone’s lower com­po­nents, once read­ily re­moved, now lie trapped un­der a fussy com­bi­na­tion of brack­ets and del­i­cately folded flex ca­bles.

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