HOW IT’S DONE
Last year’s iPhone X had a weird name and the most advanced internals we’d ever seen. Now Apple turns it up to 11 with the iPhone XS and XS Max. We’re taking apart the XS, so grab hold of your Roman numerals, and let’s get started.
MAJOR TECH SPECS
• Hexa-core A12 Bionic SoC with a
“next-gen” Neural Engine • 5.8-inch (2,436 x 1,125-pixel) 458 ppi Super Retina OLED display ≠ with True Tone, wide color gamut, and 3D Touch • 12MP rear cameras (wide-angle ≠ and telephoto) with f/1.8 and f/2.4 apertures and OIS, and 7MP selfie cam paired with TrueDepth Face ID hardware • 64GB of onboard storage (256 and
512GB optional configs) • Gigabit-class LTE (not 5G), as well as 802.11a/ b/g/n/ac Wi‑Fi, with MIMO, Bluetooth 5.0, and NFC • Improved dust and water resistance
with an IP68 rating
Apple may be changing up its naming scheme, but we’re glad it left the opening procedure alone. Our iOpener softens the hidden adhesive, then a suction handle and halberd spudger free the display. Though we feared Apple might use more adhesive to achieve that IP68 rating, we fared no worse than with ye olde IP67-rated predecessors. With the topside peripherals dispatched, we can turn our attention to the most important part of every S-series iPhone: the logic board. Having seen this kind of board before, we’ve got good at pulling this PCB sandwich apart. The S-year often comes with a camera upgrade, and Apple had a lot to say about these new sensors. The wide-angle sensor size has been increased by 32%, and pixel size has also been increased. One thing Apple forgot to mention about the new camera: All that 32% had to go somewhere, and the camera bump had to grow a little — your iPhone X case may not fit your iPhone XS. The XS packs a 10.13Wh battery (2,659mAh at 3.81V), weighing 39.5g — slightly downgraded from last year’s X. But this decrease in capacity comes with a wild new battery configuration. Rather than using two cells to fill this L-shaped recess, Apple has constructed an all-new single-cell battery. What was revolutionary last year is quickly becoming standard — the XS comes with a sensor array for Apple’s fancy Face ID tech. The Taptic engine and loudspeaker come out in an assembly, but easily separate. It looks like the rear glass is still sandwiched between the camera bump and the frame with dozens of tiny welds. Despite the many improvements, it’s got the same iPhone 8/iPhone X back glass construction, meaning one tiny crack calls for a whole chassis replacement.≠ ≠ Repairability score: 6 out of 10 (10 is easiest to repair). Critical display and battery repairs remain a priority in the iPhone. A display can be replaced without removing the Face ID hardware. Liberal use of screws is preferable to glue — but you need Apple-specific drivers (Pentalobe and tri-point) in addition to Phillips. Waterproofing complicates some repairs, but makes water damage less likely. Glass on front and back doubles the likelihood of drop damage and if the back glass breaks, you’ll be removing every component, and replacing the entire chassis.
Apple’s Face ID technology makes another appearance.
You get into the new iPhones the same way you do the previous ones.