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iPhone 4 teardown: 19% larger battery, very close to production

Before Gizmodo returned the lost and found iPhone 4, they tore it down.

One of the things that surprised me about the iPhone 4 pictures that Gizmodo posted was the lack of photo gallery of internal photos -- save this one shot showing an Apple-labeled ribbon cable. But Gizmodo only posted it as proof that it was Apple OEM hardware:

http://cache.gawkerassets.com/assets/images/4/2010/04/500x_open13.jpg

The single photo didn't answer all of the burning questions about the internals. Where were the rest of the shots? The CPU? Wi-Fi hardware? What about the micro SIM?

Well fear not, the Giz did take a bunch of photos of the next-gen iPhone's guts after all, the problem is that they're not as revealing as one would expect. Take for example this photo of the logic board, it's completely covered by shielding, which Jason Chen was scared to remove for fear of "breaking the device."

The Next iPhone, Dissected

Now contrast that with this high-res photo of the iPhone 3GS motherboard from iFixIt's iPhone 3GS teardown.

http://s1.guide-images.ifixit.com/igi/hsa3HpY6I2UNWjYJ

Big difference.

Quite simply: Giz should have flown Kyle and company into town to properly conduct and photograph the teardown.

iFixIt's Kyle Weins told Cult of Mac that the iPhone 4 DVT (Design Verification Testing) unit, or "mule" as some Apple insiders call it, was closer to production than he expected ("very very close" in fact) while lamenting that the Gizmodo tear down photos were "so bad." Weins asked them why they didn’t remove the ("very removable") EMI shields, no word on that answer.

Weins worries that the pre-leak of the DVT iPhone hardware could set consumer expectations for the device too high:

What sucks for Apple is if they have to cut features for some reason. Of course the prototypes would have all the features they’re considering (flash, camera, etc.). But realities force feature removal at the last minute, like they did with the iPod Touch. I’m sure the iPod Touch prototypes had cameras in them.

Here's the big Gizmodo "kitchen table" shot:

The Next iPhone, Dissected

Giz concludes:

Apple really, really shrunk down their parts to make this phone thinner. It might weigh 3 grams more than the 3GS, but remember, the battery is 19% larger than before. Everything else is way reduced to fit the smaller case.

So there you have it, Giz took a screwdriver to the iPhone 4 but were afraid of breaking it so they didn't answer the burning question: is Apple testing the same new "A4" chip that's in the iPad in the iPhone 4 hardware as well? I'm placing a big fat bet on yes.