iPhone 5 Teardown

The iPhone 5 practically flew apart under our nimble spudgers once we got it on the operating table. Good news for all the phone droppers out there: the front glass/display is the first thing that comes off the iPhone 5! Replacing a cracked front panel is significantly easier than the iPhone 4/4S.

And the further we delved, the more excited we got — even though we had to remove two pentalobe screws to get inside. The oft-broken and hard to repair home button now sports an integrated metal support bracket that should reduce the chance of failure, and the battery comes out just as easily as in last year’s model. Overall, the iPhone 5 received a very solid 7/10 repairability score!

MJ explains it all:

Teardown highlights:

  • Because the iPhone 5 is opened front-to-back, replacing a cracked screen is going to be easier than ever. Thank you, Apple! Compare this to the iPhone 4S, where it took 38 steps to isolate the display assembly, and this iPhone may be the most repairable iPhone we’ve seen in a while.
  • For the iPhone 5, Apple has switched to a different battery chemistry, with a higher voltage and slightly larger capacity than the iPhone 4S. Let’s see how the battery specs stack up:
  • iPhone 5 Battery: 3.8V – 5.45Wh – 1440mAh. Talk time: Up to 8 hours on 3G. Standby time: Up to 225 hours.
  • iPhone 4S Battery: 3.7V – 5.3Wh – 1432mAh. Talk time: Up to 8 hours on 3G. Standby time: Up to 200 hours.
  • Samsung Galaxy S III Battery: 3.8V – 7.98Wh – 2100mAh. Talk time: Up to 11 hours 40 minutes on 3G. Standby time: Up to 790 hours.
  • On the back of the battery we notice “MFR Sony,” and “Cell made in Singapore.” We think that it is very likely that Sony is manufacturing this battery.
  • According to Chipworks, the B8164B3PM silkscreen label denotes 1GB Elpida LP DDR2 SDRAM. Yet the infographic presented during Apple’s Keynote clearly showed Samsung RAM (K3PE7E700F) in the A6. Not too long ago, Apple reduced their RAM orders with Samsung to diversify their supply chain. Time to invest in Elpida, or is Samsung lurking in the next phone on the shelf?
  • The iPhone is packed with cutting-edge components:
  • Apple A6 Application processor
  • Skyworks 77352-15 GSM/GPRS/EDGE power amplifier module
  • SWUA 147 228 is an RF antenna switch module
  • Apple 338S1077 Cirrus audio codec
  • Triquint 666083-1229 WCDMA / HSUPA power amplifier / duplexer module for the UMTS band
  • Avago AFEM-7813 dual-band LTE B1/B3 PA+FBAR duplexer module
  • Skyworks 77491-158 CDMA power amplifier module
  • Avago A5613 ACPM-5613 LTE band 13 power amplifier
  • Qualcomm PM8018 RF power management IC
  • Hynix H2JTDG2MBR 128 Gb (16 GB) NAND flash
  • Apple 338S1131 dialog power management IC
  • Apple 338S1117 Cirrus Logic mystery chip
  • STMicroelectronics L3G4200D (AGD5/2235/G8SBI )
  • Murata 339S0171 Wi-Fi module
  • STMicroelectronics LIS331DLH (2233/DSH/GFGHA) three-axis linear accelerometer
  • Texas Instruments 27C245I touch screen SoC
  • Broadcom BCM5976 touchscreen controller
  • Qualcomm MDM9615M LTE modem
  • RTR8600 Multi-band/mode RF transceiver, the same one found in the Samsung Galaxy S III
  • Using an advanced precision scale, we conclude that the entire rear case of the iPhone 5 weighs only slightly more than just the glass rear panel of the 4S.
  • Unlike the iPhone 4S, which used a linear-oscillating vibrator, Apple has gone back to a rotational motor with a counterweight. We praised Apple in the past for going with the quieter and less annoying linear oscillating vibrator, but now we’re scratching our heads as to why they went back.
  • Apple’s newest iteration of its classic home button sports an integrated metal support bracket, which we hope will greatly strengthen the oft-used switch. Many iPhone 4 and 4S users have experienced the woes of worn out home buttons, which are somewhat involved to repair. This new design should not only increase longevity, but also make replacing the home button a lot less of a hassle.
  • Based on a reader request, we looked into the concerns about “Scuff Gate,” the fear that the black coating scuffs off too easily. We found that the side is pretty tough, but the chamfered edge can be susceptible to scuffing — making for a shiny streak on the side. Moral of this story: be careful, or get a case. Or be free like the wind and just don’t care.
  • Apple is very proud of their decision to use a sapphire crystal in their new-and-improved camera. Sapphire would be a sensible choice to use as the outermost camera element because it is remarkably hard — a 9/10 on the Mohs hardness scale. We tried scratching the clear cover with a pair of steel tweezers and the lens remained scratch-free. While this doesn’t confirm that the protective cover is made from sapphire crystal, it does mean that it is quite hard and scratch resistant.
  • We’re proud of this teardown. While no Bothans died to bring you this information, Luke did fly around the world, and the rest of us have been hard at it all day. This is a great phone, and we’re thrilled to show you how it’s constructed.
iPhone 5 teardown