Most of Wall Street is describing the iPhone X as being the biggest change in the phone’s design since the iPhone 6, but one firm stands apart from the rest. An iPhone X teardown and analysis reveals that the phone is actually the first truly new design in seven years!
iPhone X teardown: first new platform since iPhone 4
Nomura analysts Manabu Akizuki and Sharon Tseng said in a note this week that they completed their iPhone X teardown and found that it is the “first newly designed platform since iPhone 4 seven years ago,” making it only the second major change in ten years. Their analysis led them to conclude that the phone was designed specifically for 5G and augmented reality.
The Nomura team explained that the iPhone 4’s platform was still used for the iPhone 8, adding that Apple CEO Tim Cook probably wasn’t exaggerating when he said that the X will be the “defining iPhone model” for the next decade.
iPhone X was designed for 5G
The Nomura team explained that the iPhone 4 was designed for 4G LTE mobile service, and they believe that the X will be the 5G iPhone platform. Mobile carriers aren’t expected to roll 5G technology out widely until 2020, which means the iPhone X is ahead of its time.
Using their iPhone X teardown analysis, the analysts also drew some comparisons between the X and the iPhone 4. They noted that the 4 was the first model to have a Retina display, while the X is the first with a Super Retina display and OLED screen. They also noted that the screen-to-body ratio and battery capacity “increased dramatically” between the 3GS and 4, and the same is happening again between the iPhone 8 and X.
Another area of interest identified by through iPhone X teardown has to do with video. The Nomura team said the 4 “targeted video storage as the killer application for 4G,” while the X targets augmented reality as the “killer” 5G application.
iPhone X teardown reveals expensive parts
Nomura isn’t the only one conducting an iPhone X teardown, of course. IHS Markit reported this week that the components that are inside the iPhone X are $115 more expensive than those found in the iPhone 8. The two pieces that are tipping the scale are the OLED display and the Face ID facial recognition scanner. The X also sports a stainless-steel case, versus the glass one used for the 8. Unfortunately, despite the stainless-steel case, the X is extremely fragile, and drop tests have revealed that it’s Apple’s most breakable phone ever, in addition to being its priciest.
The firm reports that the bill of materials for the 64GB iPhone X is $370.25, which excludes costs such as research and development, software and similar costs. The bill of materials for the base iPhone 8 model is $255.16, IHS said after the phone launched.