Officially, there is no such thing as an “iPhone 9,” as Apple’s 2017 lineup included the iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus and iPhone X. While the iPhone XR was presented as a completely different phone and part of the company’s current generation of handsets, a recent teardown from iFixit revealed that the device shares a lot of internal features with both the iPhone 8 and iPhone X, leading the repair website to refer to it as the “spiritual iPhone 9.”
In its detailed teardown of the iPhone XR, iFixit went through a 14-step process that sought to gauge the repairability of Apple’s newly released budget handset, which was announced together with the higher-end iPhone XS and XS Max in September. During the dismantling process, iFixit discovered that Apple used a single-deck logic board with a similar setup to that of the iPhone 8. However, as Forbes pointed out, this part had a “vaguely rectangular” design that ultimately set it apart from the iPhone 8’s logic board. Likewise, the XR’s battery had a bar-shaped design, as opposed to the L-shaped battery Apple used for the iPhone X, XS, and XS Max.
On the other hand, iFixit also spotted a number of similarities between the iPhone XR’s features and those of the iPhone X, Apple’s flagship phone for the 2017 model year. The TrueDepth front camera setup was found to be “pretty much unchanged” from last year when it was first spotted during iFixit’s iPhone X teardown. The publication also noticed during the eighth step of the teardown that the Broadcom wireless power receiver chip inside the iPhone XR was “likely a variation” of the chip found inside the iPhone X.
“A peek under the hood revealed design hallmarks reminiscent of both the iPhone 8 (rectangular battery, single layer board) and X (square-ish logic board, Face ID), making this the spiritual ‘iPhone 9,’” wrote iFixit.
Although the iPhone XR shares a lot of similar parts with two of its immediate predecessors, iFixit stressed that the device is not “all throwback,” as it comes with several features that are “entirely new” for the iPhone series, including the modular SIM reader spotted during the teardown. The repair site speculated that this feature could be in place to help Apple facilitate its “newfangled multi-SIM plans.”
All in all, the iPhone XR performed solidly in the iFixit teardown, scoring a 6 out of 10 and earning plus points for the ease in opening the device, accessing the battery, and replacing broken displays. The handset, however, was marked down for the inclusion of glass panels on the front and the back, which could “double the crackability” and force users to replace the entire chassis in the event the back panel breaks.