For the past few years Apple’s iPhone release schedule has been fairly predictable: release a new model one year, and follow it up with a similar-looking phone featuring a spec bump. That’s how we went from the iPhone 4 to 4S, 5 to 5S, and 6 to 6S.

But this year the company is shaking things up a bit. Instead of the iPhone 7S you’d expect, Apple is launching three new phones: an iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, and iPhone X.

The iPhone X represents a major design overhaul. The iPhone 8 series phones… are pretty much what you would have expected from iPhone 7S phones. They look nearly identical to last year’s models, but have beefier hardware.

Now the folks at iFixit have cracked pen the case of an iPhone 8 to see if it’s what’s on the inside the counts. And they’re pretty sure this is basically an iPhone 7S in all but name.

Since iFixit is an online repair shop and community, the goal of its official teardowns is usually to see what it will take to repair a broken device. The iPhone 8 gets a decent score of 6 out of 10, since the display and battery are relatively easy to replace… and those are the things you’re most likely to need to replace.

The phone has a case design that’s quite similar to the iPhone 7, and for the most part things on the inside are in the same place. But it looks like Apple has ditched its proprietary tri-point screws for Phillips #000 screws, which means one less specialized piece of hardware is needed to disassemble the iPhone 8.

Apple says the speakers are a bit louder, and the battery life is similar to the iPhone 7, even though there’s a slightly smaller battery in the new model. The LTE modem has been updated from a Cat 12 model to a Cat 16 version. And there’s a wireless charging coil.

Update: Apparently only some models have the Qualcomm X16 Gigabit LTE Cat 16 modem, while others have an Intel modem do not… which is why Apple isn’t positioning the iPhone 8 as a phone with Gigabit LTE. 

But the biggest change is probably the new Apple A11 Bionic processor and the updated cameras. Early indications reveal that the new processor is a pretty major improvement: after running some tests, Tom’s Guide says the A11 Bionic is not only the fastest mobile chip to date, but it also outperforms a MacBook Pro with an Intel Core i5 processor in some benchmarks.

Realistically, that’s more power than you need if you primarily use your phone to surf the web, send text messages, and play Angry Birds. But the extra power enables next-gen applications such as high-performance virtual reality and augmented reality experiences or apps that make use of machine learning.

As for the new cameras, DxOMark says they’re better than the Google Pixel’s, which had been the previous champ in the DxOMark rankings. The Pixel has a score of 90, while the single-camera Apple iPhone 8 gets a 92 and the dual-camera iPhone 8 Plus gets a 94.

DxOMark recently revamped its scoring to account for modern smartphone camera features such as dual-camera devices. And there’s certainly a bit of subjectivity involved: while the organization has a standardized set of criteria, you may prefer a camera with strengths in different areas. But it certainly seems like the iPhone 8 is an upgrade over the 7 when it comes to photography and CPU and graphics performance.

It’s just not entirely clear at this point whether there’s any consistent explanation for Apple’s choice in iPhone names.

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11 replies on “Apple iPhone 8 teardown reveals an iPhone 7 (with better CPU & cameras)”

  1. I severely doubt the iPhone X is nearly fast as a 2015 MacBook Pro 13″ Retina.

    Especially the “slower” iPhone 8, against the faster 2017 MacBook Pro’s, let alone exceed it.
    GeekBench is hands-down the most deceptive benchmarking tool out there.

  2. TI lost the battery charger chip, NXP got the battery charger (likely for it’s USB PD features) and broadcom got the wireless charger chip. An un-named company made the 3 Apple branded PMIC chips (I hear they are very smart people).

    1. My mistake, the NXP chip is just the USB enumeration IC. The charger chip is not listed. There are a couple of chips that Fixit did not comment on. It is likely that TI kept the charger socket and it is just not identified.

  3. X usage is not coherent with Microsoft Xbox One X, which is a slightly upgraded Xbox One, while iPhone X seems to be a new generation.

    Cannot wait for the next step in the nonconsecutive version number war (ref. XKCD Phone 6). Hope there will be an iPhone XI instead of an iPhone X 2.

      1. I proclaim the successor to the iPhone X to be the McJobs. As the first phone named after Steve Jobs it will have a 14 inch screen, be capable of connecting to a HDMI equipped monitor, transmit through that HDMI port at 8K, feature a full QWERTY keyboard, two headphone jacks, 32GB of RAM, an Intel Core i9 CPU, both lightning and 30-pin charging ports and its home page will feature a picture of Steve Jobs himself painted in clown makeup, wearing a clown nose, a bright purple clown costume and a large, fluffy red wig. The phone will start at $10,000 for the 128TB model and go up to $169,000 for the 1024TB version. A buyer can get a $10,000 discount on the 1024TB version if he signs his “soul” over to the ghost of Steve Jobs. A phone named after Steve Jobs has to do a “job” on a buyer’s bank account, doesn’t it? 🙂

    1. I forgot about the Google Nexus 5X. Hope there will be new 5″ Nexus phones, so we know here we are going.

      1. You know that Project Scorpio is basically a Xbox 1.5, right?

        Sure the base XB1 was slightly behind the base PS4, and the refined XBX is slightly infront of the PS4 Pro… making the difference seem much larger.
        However, the Project Scorpio is definitely a PS4 Pro competitor, rather than a kick ass new Xbox Two because Microsoft didn’t use newer microarchitecture and designs (mainly lacks SSD, no Ryzen, and not Vega). If it made those changes, then it definitely would be a Xbox Two and better poised to take on current Gaming PC’s.

    2. But it’s the X-Box One X (eks) and the iPhone X (ten)… 7 ate 9?

      +1 on YCAU’s suggestion tho!

      1. Well, I made wild assumptions based on articles I skimmed through, never heard it pronounced. A big mistake on my part.

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