iPhone 5 teardown highlights

iPhone 5 teardown highlights

Summary: A teardown of Apple's new iPhone shows how the Cupertino giant manages to pack so much hardware into such a small space, and design it to draw as little power as possible.

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The iPhone 5 has landed, and boxes containing the new handset have started landing on people's doorsteps in a number of time zones. One unfortunate iPhone 5 fell into the hands on repair specialists iFixit who did what they always do when they get their hands on new hardware -- they tear it apart!

Teardowns of Apple products are particularly interesting because they give us an insight into how the Cupertino giant manages to cram so much hardware into such a little space, and the iPhone 5 teardown is no different.

The first, and possibly most interesting "find" of the teardown was discovering how easy it is to open up the iPhone 5 to swap out the screen or replace the battery. There had been fears that because there was no removable back on the new handset, combined with the fact that the screen was so much thinner than previously, that removing the screen would be a nightmare of shattered glass. In fact, it's very easy. Open two screws -- those dreaded pentalobe screws -- and then ease the screen up with a suction cup.

Simple.

Another interesting find from the teardown is that while Apple has added a lot of new hardware to the iPhone -- 4G LTE, larger screen, faster processor, and so on -- the battery is not much bigger than that found in the iPhone 4S. The new battery is a 3.8V, 5.45Wh, or 1440mAh unit, while the battery in the iPhone 4S was 3.7V, 5.3Wh, holding a capacity of 1432mAh.

The new battery is manufactured by Sony.

Then there's the totally redesigned logic board featuring a whole host of silicon goodness, including:

  • STMicroelectronics LIS331DLH (2233/DSH/GFGHA) three-axis linear accelerometer (shown in the red box)

  • Texas Instruments 27C245I touch screen SoC (shown in the orange box)

  • Broadcom BCM5976 touchscreen controller (shown in the yellow box)

  • Apple A6 processor (shown in the cyan box)

  • Qualcomm MDM9615M LTE modem (shown in the blue box)

  • RTR8600 Multi-band/mode RF transceiver, identical to the one found in the Samsung Galaxy S III (shown in the pink box)

It's interesting to note that Apple has split the touchscreen duties between two chips in the iPhone 5, just like it does in the iPad. It seems that the bigger screen needs more hardware to control it.

iFixit have given Apple's flagship handset a repairability score of 7 out of a possible ten (where ten is easiest to repair). This is much more favorable than the 6 out of ten that the iPhone 4S scored, of the dismal 2 out of ten scored by the iPad 3.

Image source: iFixit.

Topics: iPhone, Apple, Hardware, Smartphones

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12 comments
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  • Sounds like a well designed device....

    Pagan jim
    James Quinn
    • It's just a phone

      Finally iPhone matches the speed of Android phones ...
      AdnanPirota
      • Yes it's a phone... A well designed phone that will make Apple

        billions! While certain android OEM's continue to struggle to say afloat. As for speed issues never had them with my iPhones. They all responded extremely well. So things like mhz and stuff like that mattered not the iPhones I have owned were all plenty fast and this one will be as well.

        Pagan jim
        James Quinn
        • Well, maybe Android phone makers should do what Apple does...

          And make their devices have a 75% profit margin.

          It's as simple as that.

          And use marketing to spin the minds of customers, since the herd mentality works so well. Who needs freedom when you can sell an illusion of it?
          HypnoToad72
          • You say that like having a 75% profit margin is a bad thing:)

            Seems like everyone agree's the iPhone especially the latest version is a good product. So not certain myself that it's popularity is due just to marketing but even "IF" that is so might I ask....so? Again where is the beef?

            Pagan jim
            James Quinn
  • Kudos to Apple for making the iPhone 5 more fixable

    This should be a priority for Apple going forward.
    toddbottom3
    • And all oem's

      It's nice to see a return to the original suction-off screen given how many touch screen phones get dropped.

      It has to be said though that in areas with an Apple store, the Genius bar does supply an enviable service; I know through bitter experience there that getting your 4s swapped out for a replacement 4s for breaking your screen is 16 quid cheaper than sending a HTC off for broken screen repair (also takes 2.5 weeks).

      That said it's good to see the screen will be serviceable again, as well as the battery. Given that the glass rear cover is gone, hopefully this means they'll be able to do more servicing on the genius bar instead of swap outs - it's nice to get a new phone, but recovering your iCloud backup is slow.

      Serviceability and maintenance is definately an area for manufacturers to work on; Apple HAVE to start offering a mail repair service for those that don't have time to go to the genius bar, and other OEM's need to start making better provision for emergency customer support on high end devices.

      At the end of the day, taking Iphones as an example, it has been technically possible to change all components, but it is nice to see them making the process easier.
      MarknWill
  • Chips

    Isn't the yellow highlighted chip a memory chip?
    davec99@...
    • yes

      the article is wrong. the yellow is a hynix memory chip.... and the a6 isnt where they said it is either.
      Jimster480
  • iPhone 5 Parts

    Is there a iphone 5 parts sold on ifixit? I konw many iPhone 5 Parts are sold on www.etradesupply.com, there are iPhone 5 LCD Assembly, rear housing, batteries, flex ribbons......
    ETS123ets
  • Awesome Article!

    Great article! I once took apart an iPhone 4S to change the screen, the screws are the tiniest I have ever seen. I know a website that sells the different back covers for the iPhone along with many cases for a variety of phones:

    www.theMobileArea.com

    its a pretty dandy site... that may or may not be mine... ahem. check it out.
    MatDaMan
  • Questionable QC

    An impressive sight from the inside, it's rather disappointing that Apple didn't do a better job with the exterior finish. But then again, that's what next year is for. Apple seems to do a much better job the second time around. Sage advice is always avoid the first rev.

    One look at the iPhone 5 I bought and it went right back to Apple. I can easily wait until they produce a better product. Scrapping Google Maps in favor of Apple Maps was a very selfish, self centered move that proved to be a disaster. The entire world uses Google Maps, now Apple's off in the corner like a step child. Sometimes I am just amazed at the dodgy decisions they make.
    podnet