What's inside the iPhone 6 Plus?

A teardown of the new iPhone 6 Plus reveals hidden innovations that Apple didn’t tell us about.

iPhone 6 Plus teardown
Image: iFixit

Today's the day that the iPhone 6 finally falls into the sweaty paws of the masses. And one of the first iPhone 6 Pluses off the production line has fallen into the hands of the iFixit team and is immortalized in their latest teardown.

Inside the iPhone 6 Plus are an array of chips from a number of vendors including Qualcomm, Broadcom, NXP, Texas Instruments, and Avago. And taking pride of place in the middle of all that is Apple's own A8 processor, and that's teamed with 1GB of Elpida LPDDR3 RAM.

Here is a listing of the chips that have so far been identified:

  • Apple A8 APL1011 SoC + Elpida 1 GB LPDDR3 RAM (as denoted by the markings EDF8164A3PM-GD-F)
  • NXP LPC18B1UK ARM Cortex-M3 Microcontrollers (which is the proper name for the M8 motion coprocessor)
  • Qualcomm MDM9625M LTE Modem
  • Skyworks 77802-23 Low Band LTE PAD
  • Avago A8020 High Band PAD
  • Avago A8010 Ultra High Band PA + FBARs
  • TriQuint TQF6410 3G EDGE power amplifier module
  • InvenSense MP67B 6-axis gyroscope and accelerometer combo
  • Qualcomm QFE1000 Envelope Tracking IC
  • RF Micro Devices RF5159 Antenna Switch Module
  • SkyWorks 77356-8 Mid Band PAD
  • SK Hynix H2JTDG8UD1BMS 128 Gb (16 GB) NAND Flash
  • Murata 339S0228 Wi-Fi Module
  • Apple/Dialog 338S1251-AZ Power Management IC
  • Broadcom BCM5976 Touchscreen Controller
  • NXP 65V10 NFC module (likely contains an NXP PN544 NFC controller inside)
  • Qualcomm WTR1625L RF Transceiver
  • Qualcomm WFR1620 receive-only companion chip
  • Qualcomm PM8019 power management IC
  • Texas Instruments 343S0694 touch transmitter
  • AMS AS3923 boosted NFC tag front end
  • Cirrus Logic 338S1201 audio codec

According to Sterne Agee analysts Vijay Rakesh and Troy Cowdrey the biggest winders are Avago, SkyWorks and NXP, who have seen component content for the iPhone 6 increase by 30 to 90 percent compared to the iPhone 5S. Qualcomm also gains more carrier aggregation, and the NAND boost to 128GB is also good for memory suppliers Micron and Sandisk.

The battery is a monster 43 gram unit and is rated at 3.82 V and 11.1 Wh of energy, for a total of 2915 mAh, which is nearly double the capacity of the battery found inside the iPhone 5S, and slightly bigger than the battery inside the Galaxy S5. The new battery gives the iPhone 6 Plus up to 24 hours on 3G, and 384 hours of standby time, which is a huge increase over both the iPhone 5S and the iPhone 6.

iPhone 6 Plus battery
Image: iFixit

There are also many more internal improvements that apple has made to the iPhone 6 Plus. The new iSight camera features phase-detection autofocus – common on DSLRs but relatively new to smartphones – and optical stabilization.

However, when it comes to the protruding " camera nubbin ," even iFixit are worried about the impact and impact might have on it (pun fully intended).

"The lens cover may be made out of sapphire glass, but we're still concerned about what this design choice might mean for durability," iFixit writes in their teardown piece.

iPhone 6 Plus camera
Image: iFixit

Also new is the vibrator assembly that replaces the old style "motor with an off-set weight" with an electromagnet that vibrates a weight. It's a pretty cool and novel approach to vibrations. I suspect the new design is not only more robust, but allows for a greater range of vibrations.

The power and volume buttons on the new iPhone now feature a rubber gasket that should help with keeping dirt, dust and moisture from making its way inside the handset.

iFixit awarded the iPhone 6 Plus a repairability score of 7 out of 10 (where 10 is the easiest to repair). Praised was the ease of access and how simple screen and battery replacements, and the fact that the fingerprint sensor cable has been rerouted and lengthened (the previous design made tearing the cable easy when opening the handset). However, they criticized the use of proprietary Pentalobe screws and the fact that Apple doesn't share repair information with third-parties.

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