Although pretty much every rumour we’ve heard suggests that this year’s lineup of iPhones will retain most of the same physical design as their predecessors, it appears that this similarity will only be skin-deep, if new leaked photos of the new iPhone logic board are to be believed.
While we do know that the iPhone XI, or iPhone 11, is going to get a big new ugly camera bump to accommodate a new triple-lens camera system, the physical dimensions, casings, and screen sizes for the new models are expected to remain basically identical to the 2018 iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max, and iPhone XR, featuring only upgraded cameras and internals.
New Logic Board
All of the prior iPhone X-series models — including the original 2017 iPhone X as well as last year’s iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max, and iPhone XR — used an L-shaped logic board and battery, which made room for all of the components that Apple had to cram in. If these newest photos are true, however, this year will see Apple returning to a more traditional rectangular design.
The objective here appears to be to allow for a larger battery while also making room for the new triple-lens camera system, which even though it’s going to still result in a bump on the outside, also needs a lot more room on the inside to accommodate the extra camera module and the new placement of everything. The rectangular logic board wouldn’t take up the entire width of the iPhone, but would instead nestle on the right hand side, which would maximize the room for a battery on the left.
We’ve already heard reliable reports that Apple intends to bump the battery capacity of the new iPhone models by about 20 percent, and while battery technology itself is always evolving, allowing more power to be gained from smaller cells, there’s still a point at which Apple is still going to need to increase the size of the battery itself to accomplish its goals.
Add to this also the fact that this year’s iPhones are expected to act as wireless chargers for AirPods and other Qi-enabled devices, and it’s easy to see how Apple is going to need a larger battery as well as shake up the internals quite a bit.
When it comes to the internals in this year’s iPhones, it’s not just the cameras and the batteries, either. While the 5G iPhone is still at least a year off, this year’s iPhones are still expected to get a whole new antenna array to support the new indoor navigation feature, which is also going to require a whole bunch of shifting around of everything inside the iPhone, and it’s even more true where antennas are concerned.
Then there’s also Apple’s crazy new A13 chip that’s going to have to fit onto the logic board somewhere. While this doesn’t necessarily impact the design of the logic board, as these chips become more powerful — last year’s A12 Bionic put desktop CPUs to shame — there are going to be design challenges that Apple will have to address in order to keep things cool inside the iPhone.
So while this year’s “iPhone XI” series of phones will bear a superficial resemblance to last year’s iPhones, it looks like under the cover it’s going to be a whole new ballgame for Apple, and we wouldn’t be surprised if the company is also already laying some of the groundwork for next year, when we suspect we’ll see an even more exciting iPhone lineup.