Cracking open the Apple iPhone

Cracking open the Apple iPhone

Summary: The iPhone blends a revolutionary touch-screen interface, music player, and smartphone into a slick package. Come along as we crack open the Apple iPhone and see the hardware the make it run.


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  • The iPhone blends a revolutionary touch-screen interface, media player, and smartphone into a slick package.

    After waiting in line, spending $600, signing a two-year AT&T contract, and activating the iPhone, we decided that the next sensible action was to take the thing apart -- in classic TechRepublic Cracking Open style. Get a look at the hardware inside the 8GB iPhone and see whether we got it back together in working condition.
  • It took an entire weekend, but AT&T finally activated our iPhone on Monday morning.

    According to Apple's iPhone Technical Specifications page, the iPhone measures 4.5 inches high, 2.4 inches wide, and 0.46 inch deep. It weighs 4.8 ounces.

    The iPhone has a 3.5-inch (diagonal) widescreen multi-touch display that offers a resolution of 480-by-320-pixels at 160 dpi.

Topics: Software, Apple, IT Employment, Smartphones, Security, Samsung, Processors, Open Source, Networking, Mobility, Laptops, iPhone, Hardware, Browser, Wi-Fi

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  • Old school...

    Hah. Funny that you have to use a paperclip to get the SIM card out. That's like the manual eject for auto-floppies and CD-ROMs. :)
    • Paper clip...

      I think it's more than a bit shocking that you had to use any tool at all to get the SIM out.

      I'm used to be able to insert and remove the SIM by hand on my phones and what about the possibilty of having to send it off for warranty repair? Most retailers remove the SIM from your broken phone even if they don't offer a loan phone or have none left. What happens with iPhone?

      If the iPhone's different, then that's one difference I can do without.
  • Wish I had that kind of money

    to purchase a 600 dollar item just to crack it open a day later :)
    • Not his personal one, I'm sure

      I'm pretty sure this probably isn't his personal one. It's likely that ZDNet had him buy one to review.
  • Message has been deleted.

  • Doesn't look like $500 or $600 worth of materials

    Probably costs them $50 to make.
    • All costs walk on two legs

      You're paying for labor, royalties, programming, taxes, and so forth. If you buy bricks you get more weight but then the programming costs are less.
    • Ever been to a restaurant?

      In a restaurant you will be charged much more for a plate of food than the raw ingredients would cost in a nearby supermarket. A book sells for a great deal more than the raw materials used in its manufacture. You do not consider this odd, do you?

      The people involved in designing, producing, distributing and selling a product all expect to get paid, and those involved in financing the product expect a return on their investment as well. The market (which is, of course, rigged in favour of the wealthiest and most powerful) determines the price that the customer pays and how the money paid is distributed to the others. Ah Capitalism: don't you just love it?

      Of course you could always try to build your own iPhone out of the same components for a lower price, but I get a feeling that it might not turn out quite the same.
      • As a matter of fact....

        I do love capitalism. It is capitalist societies that can create these and many other marvels. Markets are not rigged. They can't be because then they cease to be markets and become dictatorships. There is hope for you my friend. I hear Hillary has a decent shot at the presidency. If she is elected she will probably try to correct all this unfairness. (No one will have anything)
    • You are also buying new technology...

      ...and as with any new technology, an attempt to quickly recoup research and development costs drives up the initial cost of the final product. The first ones who (can afford to) buy it, will always pay a premium in order to say they were the first to own it. I guess to some, it's worth it.
      Flying Pig
    • Doesn't look like $500 or $600 worth of materials

      A company that does these teardowns for living, Portelligent, estimates the cost of materials at $220. When I used to work for a company that manufactured thing, the rule was to charge three times the cost of materials. The additional two thirds covered assembly, test, packaging, manuals, production errors, etc. It also recovered the hardware and software engineering and documentation costs. There are also certification costs such as FCC testing. Finally there was a modest profit. Apple does have a much higher volume product so that the costs that are not per unit costs get spread out over more units so that has the potential for a bigger profit that what we made per unit.

      Then when you get to the retail channel there are additional costs. That nice, friendly salesperson isn't being that helpful for free. He needs his cut as does his boss and the company they work for. So figuring $660 for the calculated selling price, with $60 bucks off for agreeing to spend $80 a month for two years ($1920) sounds about right to me.
  • "you will loose all data on the phone" - NO

    You may "lose" your data, but you aren't going to "loose" it.
    • "you will loose all data"

      Good for you, EJHonda -- fight illiteracy wherever it rears its ugly head.
    • Grammarian strikes

      As taken from

      [i][b]Grammarian[/b] usually has little to contribute to a discussion and possesses few effective weapons. To compensate, he will point out minor errors in spelling and grammar. Because of Grammarian's obvious weakness most Warriors ignore him.[/i]

      Loss of all data (and the use of the phone for days on end and $85.95 or "FORTY FIVE BLOODY QUID?!?! You gotta be joking right?!" as the conversion rates from dollars to sterling go) every time you replace the battery is another part of the Apple Experience that I can do without.

      But, you know MacFreaks, when faced with an unacceptable flaw that exists in (and is specific to) a product from God that can't be explained away then just resort to personal insults or grammar tips.
  • Apple IPhone

    Hey that is great! I just decided disassemble my cat to find out why he is eating so much. Give me another 24 and I will provide photos. Funny he does not look as good as he did when he was one piece.
  • Ouch - Thanks for catching that one - typo fixed

    Thanks for catching that typos and let us know about it. I've fixed it.
    Bill Detwiler
  • More typos

    The last photo talks about the 'sliver' Apple logo and one of the earlier photos says
    there are 'siz' connectors in the iPhone. Maybe you folks need to hire some
    proofreaders along with the new tech testers.
  • Yes, there are a few typos in this feature

    But, really, who cares? Thank you posts notwithstanding, clearly not ZDNet, until one is pointed out, that is.

    Still, what strikes me as humorous is the ending. Buy an iPhone, dismantle it, and then, when it is put back together, it doesn't work right immediately?

    Gadzooks! You'd think it wasn't sold as a science lab or something.

    Even better, once you find the reboot sequence ( No reference given) from the way you describe it, it is quite clear that you have serious doubts that it will work.

    But, it does, of course. Enjoy your new toy, or the companies, whatever it is.
    • How About?

      Now, how about a blog about changing the battery in iphone.
  • Loose

    I think that there are a bunch of LOSERS on the loose!