• iPhone 8 Teardown Reveals Smaller Battery, 2GB of LPDDR4 RAM: iFixit

    0 comments / Posted on by Nikko Parin

    iFixit is back doing what it does best - tearing into the latest Apple products to get a better look at what the newest premium devices have to offer. Following the launch of the iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, and iPhone X, iFixit has begun its teardown work - starting with the iPhone 8. The teardown not only confirms what we know about battery and waterproofing, but also some other minute details of the iPhone 8.

    When Apple launched the iPhone 8, it confirmed that the newest models come with batteries smaller than their predecessors. To be more specific, the iPhone 8 features a a3.82 V, 1821mAh battery, compared to the 1960mAh battery inside the iPhone 7 - and iFixit confirms this. That would have been a cause for concern for many, but given Apple's optimisation and the battery efficient A11 Bionic chipset, the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus should last just as long as their predecessors despite having smaller batteries.

    Apart from the new A11 Bionic chip, iFixit also confirms some other hardware details, including 2GB of LPDDR4 RAM, a Qualcomm MDM9656 Snapdragon X16 LTE modem, and some other chips like NXP 80V18 Secure NFC Module, Skyworks 77366-17 Quad-Band GSM Power Amplifier Module, Skyworks SkyOne SKY78140, Avago 8072JD130, and P215 730N71T.

    On the back side of the board, iFixit found a Toshiba TSBL227VC3759 64GB NAND flash storage, Qualcomm WTR5975 Gigabit LTE RF transceiver and PMD9655 PMIC, Apple's own WiFi/Bluetooth/FM radio module, among other things.

    During the teardown, iFixit noticed the same seals, rubber gaskets as the iPhone 7 and some added adhesive, which is not a bad thing as far as water resistance goes. Both the iPhone 7 and iPhone 8 are IP67 certified. It also plucked the main camera module confirming the same f/1.8, 6 element lens as the iPhone 7, but with bigger sensors. This means larger individual pixels, more light and improved colours with the iPhone 8. iFitix also noticed magnets in the four corners of the camera that would give the camera some advanced vision through OIS.

    The rear casing also keeps the Qi enabled wireless charging coil that uses an oscillating magnetic field to generate an alternating current, which is then converted into direct current to charge up the battery, iFixit explains. The three new iPhone announced by Apple are the first by the company to support wireless charging. The teardown also revealed a new Lightning port bracket that better reinforces the connector. Notably, since the new iPhones come with glass backs, iFixit had to work a little harder to remove the glass layer, which seems to be a down side as far as repairability is concerned.

    Those who want a complete breakdown of the iPhone 8 can head over to iFixit's website. You can also expect them to teardown the iPhone 8 Plus, Apple Watch Series 3, and Apple TV 4K soon enough, while you may have to wait a bit longer for the anticipated iPhone X teardown.




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  • The state of the smartphone, iPhone X edition

    0 comments / Posted on by Nikko Parin

    10 years ago, Apple's first iPhone changed the world. It proved that an always-on, always-connected pocket computer wasn't just for nerds.

    Now smartphones are just "phones," and it's sometimes tough to keep track of the dizzying array of new features they offer. (Even for us here at CNET.)

    So in honor of the iPhone X, the tenth-anniversary iPhone, let's remind ourselves just how far the smartphone has come -- and where it has room to grow.


    Table stakes

    The very first smartphones, such as 1994's IBM Simon, could barely be considered smart. They were glorified personal digital assistants (PDAs) with a cellular modem so you could also make calls. If you could so much as tap a number in your address book app and have it automatically pasted into the phone dialer app, that was considered state-of-the-art.

    By 2007, the original iPhone was far more sophisticated,  but even it didn't have GPS, 3G data, a hardware keyboard, Palm Pilot-esque stylus, a removable battery or stereo Bluetooth support, many of which were considered table stakes for high-end phones at the time.

    In 2017, these are the features you can take for granted in a high-end phone:

    • Big, beautiful screen: The race for bigger screen sizes is over. Most high-end phones will have a 5-inch screen or larger, while Plus-sized phones range range between 5.5 and 6.3 inches regardless of manufacturer. And unless the company cheaped out, you'll be looking at a crisp display and won't see pixels with a naked eye.
    • Speedy processor: These days, there's enough power to run practically any app or game on any modern device. Don't pay attention to megahertz, unless you're doing something extreme.
    • Enough camera megapixels: 12 megapixels are all you need for crisp, detailed photos, and cramming in more of them can actually hurt low-light camera performance. That's why some of our favorite phone cameras -- including those found on the iPhone, Pixel and Galaxy -- stop around 12. More isn't necessarily bad, but it's generally not better.

    • Metal and glass: For a while there, metal and glass phones were premium, and plastic was still OK. Now, hefty, shiny materials are table stakes for high-end handsets and are even trickling down to inexpensive phones such as the Moto G5 Plus.
    • Thin is in: The majority of recent phones are as thin as four or five US quarters stacked together. That's between 7mm and 8.75mm, if you don't have those coins handy.
    • 4K and slow-mo video: They're nice to have, but there's nothing special about these capabilities anymore.
    • 32GB of storage: It's the bare minimum you should consider. The latest iPhones now start with 64GB.

    • Fast Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and LTE cellular: Some phones do have slightly faster versions of these wireless technologies than others, but only under certain circumstances. This may change as Gigabit LTE and 5G roll out.
    • Fast charging: Ditto -- some phones and chargers are faster than others, but practically every new, high-end phone can charge faster than the ones that came out a couple of years ago.
    • Voice assistants: Whether it's Apple's Siri, the Google Assistant or Samsung's Bixby, it's trendy to be able to control parts of your phone with voice commands. But most phones can download one after the fact even if they aren't integrated.


    Are these features are essential for a modern phone? Hard to say, but these are the trends that separate the latest, greatest handsets from everything else.

    • A camera that "just works": There's no magic bullet here, but the combination of wide apertures, fast autofocus, image stabilization, automatic HDR modes and good software mean that today's top phones can make nearly every picture you take a "good one." It's one of the main things separating high-end phones (such as the iPhone, Samsung Galaxy and Google Pixel) from cheaper handsets.
    • AMOLED displays: Samsung has a near-monopoly on phone-sized OLED screens. But their vibrant colors, inky blacks, power efficiency and VR compatibility have made these screens a must-have for flagships including the LG V30, Motorola Z2 ForceZ2 Play, Google Pixel, OnePlus 5 and now the iPhone X as well.
    • The front is all screen: The Sharp Aquos CrystalXiaomi Mi Mix, Samsung Galaxy S8 and Note 8the Essential Phone and now the iPhone X all have screens that cover nearly their entire front. It's a way to fit a bigger screen into the same size phone, and it's the new hotness.
    • Dual cameras: The iPhone 7 Plus proved twin rear cameras can make for stellar photos by "zooming" in on subjects, or simulating the buttery blurry background of a DSLR with portrait mode. Now, they're becoming a bona fide trend, and the Note 8 and iPhone X are upping the ante with dual optical image stabilization as well.
    • Tumble-tough materials: Whether it's the shatterproof screen of a Motorola Z2 Force or the titanium frame and ceramic back of an Essential Phone, some of today's flagships can take a drop better than others. Our Galaxy S8 drop testshowed that Corning's Gorilla Glass 5 also does an OK job, and it's the material likely to appear on an increasing number of phones. The new iPhone X also has a stainless steel band that could theoretically resist scratches better than aluminum.
    • Water resistance: Starting with the Galaxy S7 and iPhone 7, today's slim Samsung and Apple flagships can often survive a dunk in the pool. (Also see: LG G6HTC U11.) Don't do it on purpose, though, and make sure you're buying a phone rated IP67 or IP68. Anything less, like the Google Pixel's IP53, may not even survive a steamy shower.
    • Fingerprint scanner: For whatever reason, the fingerprint scanner still isn't ubiquitous on top-tier phones, but it can unlock the ability to easily tap-to-pay at retail stores (and sometimes train and subway stations) around the globe. If a flagship phone -- such as the new iPhone X -- doesn't have it, we ask why.

    • USB-CThis upgraded version of the micro-USB port is less likely to bend or break. It doesn't care which direction it's flipped, lets phones and laptops share the same power adapters, and can (theoretically) connect with a wider array of peripherals. No wonder most new phones are adopting it. (You can even charge the new iPhones faster with one.) It's not a micro-USB port, though, so your old cables will be no good.
    • SD card for expandable storage: SD cards are back and bigger than ever -- so long as we're talking Android phones. The iPhone, and phones that want to be the iPhone, still leave them out.
    • Easy SIM swap: Unlocked phones will increasingly let you switch between any major carrier just by swapping a SIM. Some phones -- the Google Pixel, Essential Phone, and Moto Z2 Play -- are pretty safe bets.  But sometimes you'll need to buy one specific version (iPhone), a phone might be missing a particular carrier (the unlocked HTC U11 doesn't do Sprint), or you'll have to jump through other hoops. Motorola's compatibility checker shows how confusing it can be.
    • Virtual reality: Stick your phone into a headset for a taste of the future. Any modern Samsung Galaxy phone can plug into a Samsung Gear VR, and there are currently 11 handsets that work with Google's Daydream View.


    Only a handful of phones have these features, and it's not always clear why. But their manufacturers use them as selling points.

    • Wireless (inductive) charging: This feature, where you can drop your phone on a charging pad instead of plugging it in with a cable, was actually on the decline until Apple announced that every new iPhone will support it. You can also find it on every recent Samsung Galaxy (S6, Note 5 and newer).
    • Iris and facial recognition: Log into your phone with your eyes or face. Standard on Samsung's Galaxy S8 and Note 8, the LG V30 and the new iPhone X, as well as some niche phones in Asia. Just know that not all facial recognition tech is created equal.
    • Snap-on modular accessories: Only Motorola's Z series and the new Essential Phone currently support modular parts since Google and LG abandoned the idea. So far, they're mostly just niche camera add-ons and beefy battery packs, but the sky's theoretically the limit.
    • Curved screens: This is mostly Samsung territory, but we've occasionally seen slightly curved screens from other manufacturers too (LG). They look incredible. And depending on the phone, they may aid in multitasking.
    • Zoom lens: Not all dual-lens cameras are the same. A few -- including the iPhone 7 Plus, iPhone 8 Plus, iPhone X, Galaxy Note 8 and OnePlus 5 -- allow you to crisply zoom in on your subject with their second telephoto lens.
    • Stereo speakers: HTC has long been the champion for twin speakers -- the U11is a great example -- but Apple's iPhone 7 and newer also feature a pair of drivers for stereo sound. You can also find them in Sony's Xperia XZ line, the Huawei Mate 9 and the ZTE Axon 7.
    • Bloat-free UI: The Google Pixel, Essential Phone and Apple's iPhones are among the precious few phones that don't pile on all sorts of unnecessary third-party software, and we still don't know why more manufacturers don't follow suit.
    • Hop between different cell networks: If you could always swap to the cellular network with the best signal strength, wouldn't that kill? Unfortunately, you can only use Google's auto-hopping Project Fi cell service with Google's own Pixel or Nexus phones or the Moto X4 -- and dual-SIM phones (which can take two normal SIM cards) are rare, at least in the US.

    One foot out the door

    These ideas are still hanging on, but they've fallen out of favor. Fair warning: they might be gone for good next year.

    • Removable batteries: The LG V20 has these, but the LG V30 doesn't. You can get them from mid-range Motorola and Samsung phones too.
    • Secondary screens: Ditto LG V20, but you could also try the pricy HTC U Ultra.
    • Hardware QWERTY keyboards: The BlackBerry KeyOne is your only real option. (The Priv feels a little too old.)

    Where we want phones to go next

    For all its luster and sparkle, there's not a lot about the iPhone X that truly pushes the phone forward. In many ways, Apple's playing catch-up -- rival phones have had an edge-to-edge design, AMOLED display and wireless charging for months or years now.

    The one place where Apple might lead is its new TrueDepth front-facing camera, with facial recognition robust enough that credit card companies will let you pay just by glancing at your phone, and more possibilities later on.

    That leaves room for manufacturers to dazzle us with other Next Big Things, and we'll leave you with a few of the possibilities we'd like to see most:


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  • iOS 11 releases on Tuesday, but it'll ship without a key feature

    0 comments / Posted on by Nikko Parin

    iOS 11 releases on Tuesday, September 19, bringing a load of improvements to your iPhone and iPad. 

    One highly touted feature that won't make tomorrow's release, however, is Apple Pay's new peer-to-peer payment system. 

    Apple announced in a blog post on Monday that Apple Pay Cash, which lets users send and receive money from friends and family, will release in the fall, missing tomorrow's iOS 11 launch date. This likely puts Apple Pay Cash's arrival sometime between October and December.

    Apple Pay Cash is due to launch in the US; Apple hasn't said when the feature will make it to other markets yet.

    An update to iOS 11 and watchOS 4 will bring Venmo-like, person-to-person payments to the iPhone, iPad and Apple Watch, Apple said. It's then users can pay back friends / get paid back via iMessages and Siri. 

    Also arriving in the fall is indoor maps in Apple Maps, helping users navigate through airports and shopping centers. Airports where indoor mapping will be available include Amsterdam (AMS), London Heathrow (LHR), Las Vegas (LAS), Los Angeles (LAX), Miami (MIA), Philadelphia (PHL) and San Jose (SJC).

    What will arrive when iOS 11 launches tomorrow? Here's a taste: augmented reality thanks to ARKit, a more natural Siri, the redesigned App Store, boosted photo features, and loads of iPad improvements. 


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  • Face ID on iPhone X is going to be safer than you might think

    0 comments / Posted on by Nikko Parin

    Apple executive Craig Federighi has confirmed that there will be a way to temporarily disable Face ID by pressing the side buttons on the iPhone X.

    Face ID is one of the big talking points coming off the back of the iPhone X announcement this week. The new flagship from Apple will use a scan of your face to open, replacing the Touch ID fingerprint scanner.

    While the technology behind it seems to be well thought out, there was an immediate backlash that the implications of it perhaps weren’t. On social media, there were many people raising concerns that using your face as a password leaves you vulnerable to people unlocking your phone without your consent. 

    One of the things that potentially safeguards against Apple users having their devices taken off them is the fact that its security is pretty robust. If a mugger is able to take your $1,000 dollar device out of your hand, point it at your face and have access to it, that safeguard is significantly diminished.


    Theft and sunglasses

    Trying to address these concerns, Twitter user Keith Krimbel contacted Apple exec Craig Federighi to see if he could give clarification on the security measures. You can see Federighi’s response below:



    It’s interesting to note that even if the phone is taken off you without you being able to access the buttons, you may still be able to keep your device safe, by not looking at the phone. 

    That’s right, it seems that the iPhone X will only unlock if you’re actually looking at the screen. Interestingly, in the same email Craig manages to allay fears about sunglasses stopping this from working. 

    Apparently most sunglasses allow enough infrared through that the sensor will be able to detect whether you’re looking at the screen even when wearing sunglasses.

    So you can look cool and be safe if you choose to take the plunge on the iPhone X when it comes out later this year. 


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  • iPhone X fast charges up to 50% in just 30 minutes, but that costs extra

    0 comments / Posted on by Nikko Parin

    iPhone X, iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus are now official, and you may be pleased to know Apple's latest creations support fast charging. 

    This means you can get up to 50% power after 30 minutes on the cable, as 9to5Mac uncovered, if your battery is completely drained from the start. 

    However, there is a sizeable caveat to taking advantage of fast charging: Your phone needs to be connected via USB-C. Though wireless charging is one of the key features of the new iPhone models, it won't support fast charging. 

    Here's the kicker: Apple doesn't include the necessary accessories for fast charging - a USB-C to Lightning cable and a USB-C Power Adapter - in the box, so you'll need to purchase these separately, either from Apple or somewhere else.

    A USB-C to Lightning Cable retails for $25 (£25 / AU$35) on Apple.com, while a USB-C Power Adapter can be purchased in one of three sizes for: 29W, 61W and 87W. The cost of the cheapest adapter (29W) is $49 (£49 / AU$69) from Apple.

    While there's a price to pay for fast charging on top of the cost of your new iPhone, it's actually not too surprising this is the case considering Apple is utilizing USB Power Delivery charging spec, as The Verge points out.  

    It's a bit vexing to buy extra accessories when you've already forked over $999 / £999 / AU$1,579 for an iPhone X, but if you want to get your new iPhone up to serviceable battery life quickly, then fast charging is a convenient way to go. 

    Just be ready to pay for that convenience.


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