5 things we just learned from the iPhone 8 teardown

After a giant leak, a huge reveal, and a full week with Apple’s new iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus, you’d think we’d know everything about the company’s latest phones. But new details keep trickling out. (Did you know you can charge faster with a USB-C cable?)


Now, we’re seeing the first teardown experts rip apart the iPhone 8 to show us its gleaming guts, and we’ve learned a few brand-new things as a result. So here’s what iFixit discovered in their brand-new teardown.

1) The iPhone 8’s battery is… smaller?

Yep. While Apple claims you’ll get the same battery life from an iPhone 8 as an iPhone 7, iFixit discovered the new phone actually has a smaller-capacity Lithium-ion battery pack inside. 

ifixit-iphone-8-002

iFixit examines the iPhone 8’s new battery.


iFixit

It’s rated at 6.96 watt-hours (roughly 1822mAh), compared to the 7.45Wh (1960mAh) battery you’d find in an iPhone 7. 

Those numbers line up with documents Apple filed with Tenaa, the Chinese equivalent of the FCC.  

2) The iPhone 8 modem is technically Gigabit LTE-ready

Why didn’t Apple future-proof the iPhone 8 for the latest, greatest high-speed cellular networks? We may never know. 

What makes it doubly frustrating: The chips inside at least some iPhone 8 models are technically capable of doing so. iFixit discovered a Qualcomm X16 modem inside its iPhone 8 that has the capability to support Gigabit LTE, and the Qualcomm WTR5975 RF transciever chip designed to complement it in Gigabit LTE phones. 

ifixit-iphone-8-003

The iPhone 8, fully torn down.


iFixit

Does that mean the iPhone 8 could be updated to support Gigabit LTE? Not likely. Particularly if, as rumored and as Apple has done before, some iPhones use Intel modems instead of Qualcomm ones. (Intel doesn’t have a Gigabit LTE modem yet.) 

You might want to check out this article we wrote about the Apple-Qualcomm legal spat, because it may have something to do with why the new iPhones don’t have this technology. (At least LTE-Advanced, which they do support, is pretty fast.)

3) If that glass back cracks, it won’t be easy to replace

iFixit had a heck of a time prying off the iPhone 8’s new rear cover glass, which is attached to a steel reinforcement plate with what appears to be loads of glue. The repair firm tried to soften it, but wound up having to slice through with a knife — damaging the metal a bit in the process. 

Sure, adhesive is necessary for a water-resistant phone, but it means you’d have a heck of a time replacing the glass yourself. Which also explains why Apple will probably charge $99 to repair a cracked glass back — even if you’ve got AppleCare+.

Curious what a thoroughly cracked iPhone 8 looks like? It’s not a pretty sight:

4) How the iPhone’s wireless charging works

What’s the quickest way to an iPhone 8’s heart? Through the charging coil!

That’s what iFixit and friends discovered when they X-rayed the new iPhone:

iphone-8-ifixit-x-ray-wireless-chargingEnlarge Image

That’s an inductive charging coil, right underneath the back of the phone.


iFixit/Creative Electron

There’s nothing all that special about an inductive charging coil these days, of course — you can add one to any iPhone for just $13. (Here’s how they work.)

But it’s neat to see anyhow — particularly compared to the rest of the phone. 

5) Inside, the Lightning port matches the phone’s color

Okay, it’s not exactly a revelation — but it’s interesting nonetheless. Apple has long been obsessed with making its devices beautiful inside and out, dating back (at least) to the time every member of the Macintosh team signed the inside of the case.

(There are also stories of how Steve Jobs had the NeXT factory repainted when he didn’t like the color inside.)

ifixit-iphone-8-005


iFixit

Anyhow, it turns out that the new housing for Apple’s Lightning port now matches the inside of the phone. If that makes you happy inside, Apple’s job is done.

Our iPhone 8 review: It’s a solid pick.

iPhone 8: Should you upgrade? Our guide to exactly what you’ll get — and lose — by buying a new iPhone.


Do you have an unusual story to tell? E-mail stories@tutuz.com