Whenever a new mobile gadget comes out, one needs only to count the days until repair company Ifixit gets their hands on a sample unit to subject to one of their “product tear-downs.” Founder and CEO Kyle Wiens has made it the driving goal of iFixit to, beyond selling repair parts, teach gadget users how best to self-repair their own devices to cut down on “electronic waste.” Videos of their tear-downs do make for interesting viewing as iFixit gives grades of reparability to the gadgets they cover. Having just done tear-downs of the Essential Phone and Samsung Galaxy Note 8, next on the dismantling table is the Apple iPhone 8.

Glass back worry

Following the flow of iFixit’s dismantling of the iPhone 8, the first big word of caution the experts have for Apple’s latest smartphone – or one of them at least – is that extreme care must be taken in handling the 8’s vaunted glass back.

The manufacturers have assured customers that the phone was reinforced enough to survive being dropped. But if a most unfortunate incident does manage to crack the glass back, after all, Apple is giving fair warning that replacing it on AppleCare+ will be much more expensive on the pockets than replacing the screen, of all things.

Once the glass back is out of the way, iFixit next notes on the size of the iPhone 8’s battery compared to its predecessor the iPhone 7S. Apple notes that they will have roughly the same battery life capacity (plenty good already), but the surprise found inside the 8 was that its lithium-ion battery pack was physically smaller than that of the previous model, with only 1822mAh compared to the 7’s 1960mAh.

LTE potential

A curious discovery made by the iFixit team examining the internal components of the iPhone 8 during its tear-down was that the modem, a Qualcomm X16, is Gigabit-LTE ready.

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Apple has not advertised the eight as supporting Gigabit LTE, and perhaps it is not despite the modem's presence. Rumor has it that Apple has used two different modems for the inside of iPhone 8 units, Qualcomm and Intel much like with the 7. And since the Intel model is not Gigabit LTE ready like Qualcomm was, that has been made uniform across all units. At least the iPhone 8 has been specced as being LTE-Advanced ready.

Then there is, of course, the iPhone 8’s wireless charging capability, done using an inductive charging coil under the phone’s glass back. That’s another reason to handle the back carefully, as iFixit discovered in their tear-down; the coil’s backing plate got a little bent when they put the eight back together. All in all, iFixit is giving Apple’s iPhone 8 a grade-6 in reparability, a sight better than Essential's and that of the Samsung Note 8.