Apple is now shipping its newly minted iPhone 11 series after unveiling the flagship smartphone lineup about a week and a half ago. Right on cue, there is an extensive teardown analysis of the largest variant, the iPhone 11 Pro Max, and with it comes a revival of a rumor that the new phones could end up supporting reverse wireless charging.
This is not something Apple announced when it debuted its iPhone 11 family earlier this month. However, the technology does exist—Samsung, for example, built bilateral charging into its Galaxy S10 and Galaxy Note 10 phones, and Huawei offers the feature on some of its handsets as well, including its recently announced Mate 30 line.
Bilateral charging essentially means you can plop another device with wireless charging support onto the back of the phone, to charge it. This could come in handy if you are out and about with a significant other and their smartphone is low on juice, or if you need to charge up a set of wireless earbuds. Does it exist on the iPhone 11 Pro Max, though? More on that in a moment.
The teardown analysis gets underway in familiar fashion—there is a pair of pentalobe screws that need removed, and after that it is a matter of working through the adhesive and gently prying the display off the chassis. Even though Apple bills this as the "most water-resistant iPhone ever," it is said the adhesive around the display feels similar to last year's models.
Now this is where things interesting. Prying off the display immediately provides a glimpse of the battery pack inside the iPhone 11 Max Pro, but there are also two battery connectors this time around. Check it out...
The second battery connector has a direct line to the wireless charging coil. One possible use is to monitor the transfer of two-way power. Officially, however, Apple notes there is "new hardware and software for dynamically monitoring and managing power needs and performance in real time," without any mention of two-way charging.
To be clear, reverse wireless charging is not currently a supported feature on the iPhone 11 series. However, the hardware is potentially there. If that is the case, it is unclear if Apple decided to scrap the feature at the 11th hour, or will enable it via a future update.
The teardown gurus at iFixIt did some testing and discovered the iPhone 11 Pro Max still functions without the charging port-end connected. This adds to the mysterious nature of this cable—maybe reverse wireless charging is (or was) in the cards, or perhaps it is simply there to monitor and manage battery performance.
While on the topic of rumors, it has been suggested that the iPhone 11 series sports 6GB of RAM instead of 2GB as advertised, with the additional 2GB dedicated to the camera. In theory, this sounds plausible. Unfortunately, the teardown did not reveal any evidence of more RAM inside the iPhone 11 Pro Max specifically. If there is an additional 2GB of RAM, it's well hidden.
When the dust settled, the iPhone 11 Max Pro ended up with a respectable 6 out of 10 Repairability Score (where 1 is the worst and 10 is the best). It earned kudos for the battery implementation, which is not that difficult to remove (other than actually opening the iPhone), and lost points for the amount of glass—if the back glass breaks, a user would need to remove every single component and replace the entire chassis, which stinks.
Images Source: iFixIt