What's inside the iPhone 5

Discover the amazing tech inside the iPhone 5

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  • intro c Intro
  • step1 Behind the screen
  • step2 Screen off
  • step3 First peek inside
  • step4 Beefier battery
  • step5 Easier access
  • step6 Component list
  • step7 Internal logic
  • step8 Processor power
  • step9 Chips on a board
  • step10 4G LTE controller
  • step11 Trackpad controller
  • step12 Lightning connector
  • step13 Hardier Home button
  • step14 Scratch-proof case
  • step15 Teardown findings
  • More stories
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Intro

There won’t be any mistaking the iPhone 5 for an iPhone 4 or 4S. A lot has changed with its physical design as well as its internal components. The most obvious alteration to the bottom of the phone is the exchange of the large 30-pin dock connector for the diminutive Lightning connector. The headphone jack is now on the bottom of the iPhone, right next to the redesigned speaker microphone grille. This is a series of holes rather than a mesh-covered slot. Then there’s the new processor, the larger screen, the addition of 4G connectivity and a brand-new version of iOS. Thankfully, one thing that hasn’t changed is that iFixit’s five-point drivers are still able to unlock its secrets. 

Read our iPhone 5 review

Other notable differences are the slate bezel, as opposed to the stainless steel that wrapped around the 4S, and the chamfered edges between the bezel and the front/rear cases.

iPhone 5 Tech Specs 

  • The iPhone 5 is here - and it packs some impressive power
  • 4in Retina display with 1136x640 pixels (326ppi) of detail
  • Apple A6 SoC (system on a chip) dual-core processor
  • 8Mp iSight camera and HD video camera
  • 4G LTE mobile connectivity
  • 16GB or 32GB RAM
  • Apple iOS 6 operating system
  • All-new Lightning connector

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Next Prev intro c

There won’t be any mistaking the iPhone 5 for an iPhone 4 or 4S. A lot has changed with its physical design as well as its internal components. The most obvious alteration to the bottom of the phone is the exchange of the large 30-pin dock connector for the diminutive Lightning connector. The headphone jack is now on the bottom of the iPhone, right next to the redesigned speaker microphone grille. This is a series of holes rather than a mesh-covered slot. Then there’s the new processor, the larger screen, the addition of 4G connectivity and a brand-new version of iOS. Thankfully, one thing that hasn’t changed is that iFixit’s five-point drivers are still able to unlock its secrets. 

Read our iPhone 5 review

Other notable differences are the slate bezel, as opposed to the stainless steel that wrapped around the 4S, and the chamfered edges between the bezel and the front/rear cases.

iPhone 5 Tech Specs 

  • The iPhone 5 is here - and it packs some impressive power
  • 4in Retina display with 1136x640 pixels (326ppi) of detail
  • Apple A6 SoC (system on a chip) dual-core processor
  • 8Mp iSight camera and HD video camera
  • 4G LTE mobile connectivity
  • 16GB or 32GB RAM
  • Apple iOS 6 operating system
  • All-new Lightning connector
 

Step 2 of 16: Behind the screen

With the aid of a suction cup the iPhone 5 is opened front-to-back. Replacing a cracked screen is going to be far easier than with the iPhone 4S which took 38 steps to isolate the display assembly. The iPhone 5 may be the most repairable iPhone we’ve seen in a while. Thank you, Apple.

 

Step 3 of 16: Screen off

The display connector adheres to the logic board using Phillips screws. Our spudger makes quick work of prying up the display connector. Not since the 3GS has an iPhone screen been so easy to remove.

 

Step 4 of 16: First peek inside

The iPhone 5 ditches its lid to show us all of the juicy bits inside. Immediately we spy a bigger battery and new antenna connections. We’ll appraise its speaker, cameras, vibrators and changes to the Home button as we delve deeper into the iPhone 5’s impressive innards.

 

Step 5 of 16: Beefier battery

For the iPhone 5, Apple has switched to battery chemistry, with a higher voltage and slightly larger capacity than the iPhone 4S.  Here’s 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

 

Step 6 of 16: Easier access

Near the top of the case, we find several antenna connectors firmly screwed to the inside of the case.Finally free of its constraints, we lift the logic board up out of the rear case. The logic board and 8Mp iSight camera come out together, leaving several components behind in the rear case - another win for modularity and repairability.

 

Step 7 of 16: Component list

The underside of the logic board is teeming with components.

 

Step 8 of 16: Internal logic

More chips on the underside of the logic board.

 

Step 9 of 16: Processor power

The pièce de résistance is the A6 processor. Apple’s first system-on-a-chip uses a custom design, based on the ARMv7 instruction set. As it’s not an ARM-specific CPU design, Apple has the ability to tailor the A6 towards its needs. Chipworks says the B8164B3PM silkscreen label denotes 1GB Elpida LP DDR2 SDRAM, rather than the Samsung K3PE7E7OOF RAM shown in an infographic during the iPhone 5 launch event.

 

Step 10 of 16: Chips on a board

 

Step 11 of 16: 4G LTE controller

The iPhone finally has 4G connectivity. The Qualcomm MDM9615M is a 28nm LTE (FDD and TDD), HSPA+, EV-DO Rev B, TD-SCDMA modem.

The MDM9615 supports multi-spectrum, multi-mode LTE, allowing for data transfer and voice transmissions. The Qualcomm RTR8600 multi-band/mode RF transceiver paired alongside it supports 5 UMTS bands, plus 5 LTE and 4 EDGE bands.

 

Step 12 of 16: Trackpad controller

Here’s a closer look at the Broadcom BCM5976 trackpad controller. Apple used the same chip in the MacBook Air to control the trackpad. Here, it’s working together with the Texas Instruments touchscreen controller to take care of touch inputs on the Retina display.

 

Step 13 of 16: Lightning connector

The Lightning connector looks like it could be swallowed by the the 30-pin dock connector. Apple claims the connector is all digital. A neat array of pins and a clip to hold the cable in place.Each pin is springy and gold-plated on the end to ensure good conductivity between the Lightning cable and the socket.

 

Step 14 of 16: Hardier Home button

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 a faulty home button, but haven’t been brave enough to attempt the repair. This new design should not only increase longevity, but also make replacing the home button a lot less of a hassle.

 

Step 15 of 16: Scratch-proof case

Apple is very proud of the fact it’s using a sapphire crystal in the iPhone’s new-and-improved camera. We tried scratching the clear cover with a pair of steel tweezers and the lens remained scratch-free (though that doesn’t establish whether the casing is also made from sapphire crystal. The rear case of the iPhone 5 doesn’t hold up well to a barrage of sandpaper and keys, but the lens cover remains crystal clear. 

 

Step 16 of 16: Teardown findings

iPhone 5 Repairability: 7 out of 10 (10 is easiest to repair)

We’re quite happy that the glass/display is the first thing that comes off the iPhone 5. The majority of iPhone repairs are due to a shattered front glass. 

The battery comes out with a bit of prying once the front panel is removed.  

The iPhone 5 still uses Pentalobe screws on the exterior, making it more difficult to open the device.

The front glass, digitizer, and LCD are all one component, thereby increasing cost of repair. 

Lots of smaller components are soldered to one ribbon cable, increasing the cost of repairing just one component.

www.ifixit.com

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