iPhone 8 teardown reveals few surprises, but more camera details

The always hotly anticipated iFixit teardown of the iPhone 8 has arrived, and while it doesn’t harbor much in the way of surprises, there are a few tidbits you may want to know about hiding in there. Especially if you like hearing about things like “pixel pitch.”

Basically, the phone is, as you might have expected, very much like an iPhone 7 with a fresh coat of paint (and super-glass). It comes apart much like the 7 did, although there are a few less of Apple’s special screws, replaced by ordinary ones. The back panel, unfortunately, is more difficult to access than ever: iFixit ended up having to slice off the glass with a razor.

The battery of the 8 is slightly smaller than the 7’s: 6.96 mAh versus 7.45 in its predecessor. It shouldn’t make much of a difference, though, if Apple has improved efficiency as it claims.

There’s a weird little chip in the display assembly that iFixit couldn’t identify. This thing look familiar to anybody?

What could it be?

We’ve already learned that the rear camera is probably the best ever in a phone. This teardown was of the 8, not the 8 Plus, but TechInsights did a bit of x-raying on the latter and found something that may be slightly interesting to sensor freaks.

They’re both Sony backside-illuminated chips that measure 32.8 square millimeters — but the default, wide-angle camera sensor has a pixel pitch of 1.22 micrometers, while the zoom’s has a smaller 1-micrometer pitch.

Larger pitch means more room for light to hit, and that extra quarter of a micrometer means a lot at this scale. So the wide camera might be considerably better in low light, requiring less ISO boosting and allowing shorter exposure lengths.

Lastly, this is the first time Apple has put a “stacked” sensor in their cameras, with pixel wells, signal processing, and memory all in one thin unit. So be sure to thank Sony too when you tell everyone how great the iPhone 8’s camera is!