OK, we admit it. Under the hood, the iPhone X is a feat of engineering

Tinkerers reveal first Stacked SLP in a mainstream mobe


The iPhone X's face recognition may be experiencing teething problems but the thousand-quid handset is a masterpiece of engineering.

Apple is the first to market with new, dense circuit board design called Stacked SLP, often referred to misleadingly as a "stacked logic board". Today's phones use 10 layers of copper on the PCB. Stacked SLP uses 20. This permits for a higher density of components in a given surface area. The iPhone X had also been tipped to have a 10-layer AP board, eight-layer RF board and two layers of interposers.

KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo first highlighted the use of the technique in an investor note back in February, and schematics substantiated the reports in August.

iFixit has conducted a teardown of the iPhone X and finds two boards stacked in a sandwich configuration, giving around 130 per cent of the area of the logic board in the iPhone 8 Plus.

iphoneteardown

Logic board in orange; dual-cell battery marked red [Source: iFixit]

iFixit also found a dual-celled battery in an iPhone for the first time, creating a 10.35Wh (2716mAh at 3.81V) battery, needed to power the much higher density display. Although Apple raised the bar for high-density mobile screens displays with its iPhone 4 "Retina display", its lagged behind Android rivals with QuadHD displays in recent years.

iphoneteardown

Source: iFixit

As we pointed out at the time, the first larger iPhone built in response to the market's demands for larger screens, 2014's iPhone 6 Plus, used a 2208x1242 panel downscaled to 1080x1920.

The X's 1125x2436 panel is a significant improvement then. And it comes with a beautiful notch.

Samsung is tipped to use Stacked SLP for its Galaxy S9 phones next year. ®

Similar topics


Other stories you might like

  • It's primed and full of fuel, the James Webb Space Telescope is ready to be packed up prior to launch

    Fingers crossed the telescope will finally take to space on 22 December

    Engineers have finished pumping the James Webb Space Telescope with fuel, and are now preparing to carefully place the folded instrument inside the top of a rocket, expected to blast off later this month.

    “Propellant tanks were filled separately with 79.5 [liters] of dinitrogen tetroxide oxidiser and 159 [liters of] hydrazine,” the European Space Agency confirmed on Monday. “Oxidiser improves the burn efficiency of the hydrazine fuel.” The fuelling process took ten days and finished on 3 December.

    All eyes are on the JWST as it enters the last leg of its journey to space; astronomers have been waiting for this moment since development for the world’s largest space telescope began in 1996.

    Continue reading
  • China to upgrade mainstream RISC-V chips every six months

    Home-baked silicon is the way forward

    China is gut punching Moore's Law and the roughly one-year cadence for major chip releases adopted by the Intel, AMD, Nvidia and others.

    The government-backed Chinese Academy of Sciences, which is developing open-source RISC-V performance processor, says it will release major design upgrades every six months. CAS is hoping that the accelerated release of chip designs will build up momentum and support for its open-source project.

    RISC-V is based on an open-source instruction architecture, and is royalty free, meaning companies can adopt designs without paying licensing fees.

    Continue reading
  • The SEC is investigating whistleblower claims that Tesla was reckless as its solar panels go up in smoke

    Tens of thousands of homeowners and hundreds of businesses were at risk, lawsuit claims

    The Securities and Exchange Commission has launched an investigation into whether Tesla failed to tell investors and customers about the fire risks of its faulty solar panels.

    Whistleblower and ex-employee, Steven Henkes, accused the company of flouting safety issues in a complaint with the SEC in 2019. He filed a freedom of information request to regulators and asked to see records relating to the case in September, earlier this year. An SEC official declined to hand over documents, and confirmed its probe into the company is still in progress.

    “We have confirmed with Division of Enforcement staff that the investigation from which you seek records is still active and ongoing," a letter from the SEC said in a reply to Henkes’ request, according to Reuters. Active SEC complaints and investigations are typically confidential. “The SEC does not comment on the existence or nonexistence of a possible investigation,” a spokesperson from the regulatory agency told The Register.

    Continue reading

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2021