IPHONE X – 3 EXCITING TECHNOLOGIES FOR THE FUTURE

As part of my annual study of Apple’s latest device offerings, I came across 3 technologies in the iPhone X that, in my opinion, forms the basis of features to come in future iPhones. If further worked upon and implemented well, the following technologies would pave the way for slimmer, faster and longer lasting devices made by Apple.

 

1. Smaller, Stacked Motherboards 

iPhone X motherboard (right) next to a previous model. Photo courtesy of iFixit.com

The iPhone X employs the use of a motherboard with a far smaller footprint than any of the recent previous models. Packing such powerful tech into a smaller space is made possible by folding and stacking two halves on top of one another. A smaller footprint makes way for more real estate for other components in the iPhone, an important one being batteries (which we will cover later).

Another interesting thing to note is the size of the SIM Card slot in comparison to the rest of the motherboard. The SIM Card slot takes up almost a third of the total area required for the whole motherboard. Considering how the SIM Card is essentially just a big piece of plastic with very primitive technology on it, it would make a lot of sense for Apple to remove the use of the SIM Card in future iterations of the iPhone. We already see Apple doing this in the Apple Watch Series 3, where Apple has employed the use of an e-SIM, or electronic SIM, essentially shrinking the the SIM Card into a size-appropriate chip that is soldered onto the motherboard, and hard coded by your telco.; sounds like moving back to CDMA.

 

“Tubes” in an X-Ray image of the stacked motherboard of an iPhone X. Photo courtesy of iFixit.com

Look at the “tubes” lining the circumference of the stacked motherboards found in the image above. That’s how the top and bottom halves of the iPhone X’s stacked motherboards “talk” to one another. Instead of using primitive flex cables that have bulky connectors, the communication channels between the stacked motherboards can be made slim by boring conductive “tubes” between them. Interesting huh?

 

2. L-Shaped Battery

Twin-cell battery found in iPhone X. Photo courtesy of iFixit.com

Previous models of the iPhone employ a single-cell battery, which is essentially a single block of uniform dimensions. In order to optimise the new space freed up by having a stacked motherboard, Apple has designed a twin-cell battery, which when pieced together, forms the shape of an ‘L’. While this is a new move for the iPhone line of products, Apple has done this for their MacBook line from as early as 2008, employing the use of multiple-cell batteries to accommodate to different heights and profiles of the devices they fit in, making good use of every square-inch of available space.

With the success of the twin-cell battery in the iPhone X, we can only expect better battery lives in future iterations of the iPhone as Apple strives to make more space efficient multiple-cell battery designs.

 

3. Wireless Charging

 

‘Qi’-powered wireless charging. Photo courtesy of iFixit.com

Apple added wireless charging to the iPhone 8, 8+ and X. While there have been many complaints about the slow speed of wireless charging on the iPhone as compared to other Android-based devices, we need to understand that this is the first time Apple is implementing wireless charging technology, and has opted to play it safe with such a volatile technology, for good reason; they have an unblemished (non-)explosive history to keep up. The implementation of wireless charging also marks and end of metal-backed iPhones and the reintroduction of glass or polymer-backed iPhones.

Once Apple is able to perfect wireless charging as a viable alternative to charging via cable, they can and will eventually remove the lightning connector. While a bold move, it is consistent with them removing the headphone jack to save precious internal space and to remove a potential source of liquid entry. With the eventual removal of the SIM Card slot (as discussed above), conversion of all buttons and switches to capacitive-solid-state-pads complemented by tactile haptic feedback, Apple could finally build a phone that is entirely enclosed and 100% water and dust proof.