iPhone X & its OLED – Going Behind the Screen

Apple’s iPhone X is a first in many aspects of iPhones. But it’s the introduction of an OLED display that brings it into a stronger competitive sphere with Samsung’s AMOLED displays. iRunway’s comprehensive teardown of the iPhone X, with a focus on its OLED display, tells you why the iPhone X is a ruler.

In another first, iPhone X has replaced its home button at the base of the display with Face ID Recognition components. It also includes better True Tone features, which Apple had introduced in the 9.7” iPad Pro. The infrared dot projector is used by the True Depth camera on the iPhone X for face recognition. It has a larger and faster 12-megapixel sensor. The durable glass back also enables wireless charging of the phone with Air power mats.

Here’s a glimpse into the teardown. Click on an image to zoom in.

Step-by-step removal of the back cover of iPhone X

The image below is a view of the stacked logic board (SLP) with the PCB cover removed, and includes the front and bottom view of board 2. The SLP allows a compact arrangement of components. Unlike any other iPhone, iPhone X has two small batteries. This is expected to have triggered the use of an SLP to reduce the overall footprint.

 

(Left to right) Stacked logic board with PCB cover removed; and front and back view of main board 2

Components powering iPhone X

Components of the iPhone X visible after removing the outer casing and battery

Unstacking the Logic Board of iPhone X

Components stacked on Board 1 of iPhone X

Components stacked on the front and back of Board 2 of iPhone X

Processors in iPhone X

iPhone X employs the A11 bionic chip, a hexa-core CPU (4 high performance cores and 2 power efficiency cores), similar to iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus. The chip is present on the back of Board 2. The A11 bionic chip has a dedicated dual core neural engine that is capable of 600 billion operations/second, and appears to be pipelined though the new ISP. The new ISP is attributed with hardware noise reduction and faster face detection, which aids iPhone X’s Face Recognition feature. For a detailed analysis of the A11 Bionic Processor, click here.

Apple has continued to employ baseband processors from Intel and Qualcomm in its iPhone X variants. The A1901 iPhone X model analyzed by iRunway is equipped with Intel’s baseband processor PMB9948 and is located on Board 1.

A11 Bionic Processor in iPhone X

Intel PMB9948 Baseband Processor in iPhone X

Wireless Components in iPhone X

Wireless ICs on board 1 of iPhone X

Apple has included the Apple/Murata A339S00399 Wifi/Bluetooth module on Board 1 to support Bluetooth 5 technology.

Apple/Murata’s A339S00399 Wifi/Bluetooth module

Apple iPhone X’s A1901 model uses two RF transceiver chips from Intel, an Avago Quadraplexer and two Skyworks RF switches. All of these are placed on Board 1.

Two Intel PMB5757 RF transceiver chips

Avago’s Quadplexer NFI726 016636 1121 chip

Two Skyworks’ RF switches - 3764-15 4282255 and 13767 35089 1733

NXP’s 80V18 NFC Controller placed on Board 1 enables iPhone X to read NFC Forum type 1,2,3,4 and 5 tags.

NXP 80V18 NFC Controller in iPhone X

The A1901 iPhone X model is equipped with four Power Amplifiers that are placed on Board 1. These include Avago’s 8056LE099 Mid-band PAMiD, Avago’s 8066LC029 High-band PAMiD, Qorvo’s 76041 Lowband PAMiD and Skyworks’ power amplifier 77367-1 59232.1 1734 MX.

Power amplifiers in iPhone X

The A1901 iPhone X model anaylzed by iRunway includes a Qorvo 81004 Envelope Tracking IC placed on Board 1. The iPhone 8 Plus model A1864 analyzed by iRunway had employed P215 730N71T envelope tracking IC.

OLED Display of iPhone X

Unlike its predecessors, iPhone X includes a 5.8″ OLED screen from Samsung, which Apple calls “The Super Retina Display”. This is a diamond pixel arrangement which is different from the pixel arrangement in Samsung’s Galaxy phone displays. A closer observation of the pixel arrangement of the iPhone X OLED display shows that the space between subpixels appear lesser compared to the space between subpixels of Samsung Galaxy’s displays. The below images of iRunway’s teardown of iPhone X’s OLED maps the colour filters and circuitry of the OLED screen. On observation, it was found that the sizes of the RGB sub-pixels were different.

This report features Samsung’s upgrade in technology in the Galaxy S9 over its predecessors. It also focuses on technology innovations which project this smartphone as an android phone major. Read more!

 

The use of two boards stacked above each other and the need to reduce the thickness of the phone could have propelled Apple to switch to the OLED display system in iPhone X.

STMicroelectronics’ OLED display PMIC and Broadcom touch screen controller in iPhone X

(Left) Pixel arrangement on the Super Retina display of the iPhone X; (Right) Pixel arrangements, color filters and circuitry of the iPhone X OLED screen

Cameras in iPhone X

Rear-facing dual cameras

Teardown and X-ray images of the iPhone X Rear-facing dual cameras

(Left to right) Rear Telephoto Camera on iPhone X; Image sensor of the rear telephoto camera; Decapped image of the rear telephoto camera sensor

(Left to right) Rear Wide Angle Camera on iPhone X; Image sensor of the rear wide angle camera; Decapped image of the rear wide angle camera

iPhone X front camera, face ID camera and IR projector

The infrared (IR) dot projector of the iPhone X is expected to support the True Depth camera on for face recognition.

X-ray images of iPhone X Front Camera, Face ID camera and IR projector

X-ray images of iPhone X Front Camera, Face ID camera and IR projector

(Left to right) Face ID IR camera; CMOS sensor in Face ID IR camera without IR filter; Decapped image of CMOS sensor without IR filter

(Left to right) Front facing camera; CMOS sensor in front facing camera; Decapped image of CMOS sensor in front facing camera

Sensors in iPhone X

Barometric Pressure Sensor and Motion Sensor located on the front side of board 2 in iPhone X

Top view of iPhone X reveals the Ambient Light Sensor

Peripherals in iPhone X

Audio devices

Top view of location of Microphone and Top Speaker in iPhone X

Location of Bottom Speaker in iPhone X

Audio ICs

Apple 338S00295 DAC ICs on board 1

Apple/Cirrus Logic 338S00296 Audio Amplifier on front side of board 2

Apple 338S00248 Audio Codec IC on back side of board 2

Haptic system

(Top) Location of the Taptic Engine in iPhone X; (bottom left to right) Front and back view of the Taptic Engine

Infrared Projector

IR projector and its circuit image

Flash Memory in iPhone X

Toshiba 64 GB Flash Memory located on the front side of board 2

Power Management in iPhone X

Lithium-ion batteries in iPhone X

Two Li-ion batteries at the back of iPhone X

Power Management ICs

Intel PMB 6848 Power Management IC located on board 1

Apple 338S00306-A1 PMIC and STMicroelectronics STB600B0 PMIC on back of board 2

Apple 338S00341–B1 Power management IC located on board 2

Charging ICs

NXP 1612A1 USB charging IC located on back of board 2

TI 78CLV31 Battery charger located at back of board 2

Wireless Charging

Inductive coil for wireless charging located behind the back panel of iPhone X

Broadcom 59355A2IUB3G Wireless Charging IC located on board 1

For more information and in-depth information regarding iRunway’s Reverse Engineering and Product Teardown Analysis solutions, write to Info@i-Runway.com

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