iFixit Teardown the New iMac

The new iMac is an interesting machine, with a 21.5-inch and a 27-inch model on offer, a 4K panel and sleek aesthetics and a hefty price tag that starts around $1500. Apple love building closed systems for their consumers, but that hasn’t stopped the folks at iFixit from ripping the new Mac to pieces to see how it works.

On the interior, we find that the 4K models display is made by LG, but for those hoping to crack it open and fix any faults, you’re straight out of luck as the glass and LCD are fused together, making screen replacements tricky and expensive. Several of the main components have been soldered to the motherboard too, which can help save space and building costs, but don’t expect to be able to upgrade your CPU or RAM anytime soon, or should I say ever, unless you want to buy a whole new system, ouch!

What’s quite surprising, however, is that despite the new 21.5-inch model being “new” and expensive, it still only features the 5th Gen Broadwell Core-i5’s, not the newer Skylake hardware found in the 27-inch model.

So how does the new system rank on the iFixit scale? 1 out of 10, meaning if something goes wrong, it’s time to buy a new one.

Apple iPhone 6S Teardown Confirms Weaker Battery

IFixIt has performed a comprehensive technical Teardown of the iPhone 6S to examine the handset’s build quality and overall construction. The iPhone 6S features an Apple A9 processor with embedded M9 motion co-processor, 4.7-inch 1334×750 (326 ppi) screen containing 3D touch functionality, 7000 series aluminium enclosure and Ion-X glass making for the best protection on the market today. Additionally, the device opts for a 12-megapixel iSight rear camera featuring 4K video recording. The front shooter is a fairly standard 5-megapixel sensor and you can choose between 16GB/64GB/128GB SKUs.

As with any modern Apple device, a range of tools and patience is required to do a component rundown. This is only a brief overview, and the complete guide can be found here. Apple utilized the usual array of ribbon flaps and hidden screws, but the new Taptic-engine takes up quite a large amount of space. Furthermore, the display assembly is rather hefty at 60 grams, and marks a 15 gram increase from the previous model. Rather surprisingly, the panel section weighs the same as Apple’s iPhone 6 Plus handset.On another note, the 3D touch sensor is labeled 343S00014 which doesn’t pinpoint to any major manufacturer but falls in line with Apple’s ICs. The battery capacity has been reduced from 1810 mAh to 1715 and comes in at 3.8V, 6.55 Whr. Apple had to reduce the battery size and capacity due to the Taptic Engine and thicker display. Finally, here is a complete rundown of the logic board ICs:

  • Apple A9 APL0898 SoC + Samsung 2 GB LPDDR4 RAM (as denoted by the markings K3RG1G10BM-BGCH)
  • Qualcomm MDM9635M LTE Cat. 6 Modem (vs. the MDM9625M found in the iPhone 6)
  • InvenSense MP67B 6-axis Gyroscope and Accelerometer Combo (also found in iPhone 6)
  • Bosch Sensortec 3P7 LA 3-axis Accelerometer (likely BMA280)
  • TriQuint TQF6405 Power Amplifier Module
  • Skyworks SKY77812 Power Amplifier Module
  • Avago AFEM-8030 Power Amplifier Module
  • 57A6CVI
  • Qualcomm QFE1100 Envelope Tracking IC
  • Toshiba THGBX5G7D2KLFXG 16 GB 19 nm NAND Flash
  • Universal Scientific Industrial 339S00043 Wi-Fi Module
  • NXP 66V10 NFC Controller (vs. 65V10 found in iPhone 6)
  • Apple/Dialog 338S00120 Power Management IC
  • Apple/Cirrus Logic 338S00105 Audio IC
  • Qualcomm PMD9635 Power Management IC
  • Skyworks SKY77357 Power Amplifier Module (likely an iteration of the SKY77354)

The Apple iPhone 6S has some rather subtle under-the-hood changes but feels quite iterative compared to its predecessor.

What do you think of the iPhone 6S hardware?

Thank you IFixIt for providing us with this information. 

Recent Beats Teardown Used Counterfeit Headphones

We recently shared a detailed teardown of glorified fashion accessory (and sometimes headphone), Beats by Dre. Prototype engineer Avery Louie stripped down the Beats headphones down to the gaskets, commenting that he was surprised at how cheap some of the components were, which really should be expected for an accessory that costs only $14 to manufacture and boast substandard quality sound. Now, the source of that shock has been revealed: Louie’s stripdown was conducted on a counterfeit Beats by Dre model.

Industrial design blog Core77 has collected together a number of inconsistencies that pointed to the headphones being fake, the most noteworthy of which was the number of drivers found during the teardown. Though Louie doesn’t mention which model of Beats he dismantled, a process of elimination suggests that they could only be Solo HD versions. However, Solo HD headphones have four drivers, two for each ear, while the model Louie was using only had one per speaker. This can be clearly seen in a post by redditor Vantt1, who broke down the difference between genuine and fake Beats on Imgur.

The biggest unanswered question so far is, did Louie know? It’s conceivable that he didn’t – he made no reference to having previous experience with Beats, so it’s safe to assume that his teardown was the first time he’d seen the innards of the headphones. That does point to a lack of rigour in his preparatory research, though, since an industrial engineer should have found out, for example, how many drivers the device should have before he started.

To be fair, for the uninitiated, it’s bloody hard to tell the difference between real and fake Beats:

Thank you Core77 for providing us with this information.

IFixit Tears Down the Brand New Apple Watch

The eight months waiting time since Apple introduced the Apple Watch to the world has been a long wait for some people, but that wait was over yesterday when the Watch officially started to sell. iFixit is well-known for their teardown of Apple products and they’ve of course also taken the Watch in for a close inspection and to find out just exactly what is inside this device.

The teardown is still ongoing while I am writing this piece and it’s being updated in real-time until they’ve taken everything apart that can be taken apart. The watch looks like a solid piece of engineering and the assembly looks great, but then again it has to be perfect if you want to fit this amount of technology and a battery into such a tiny device.

The previously rumoured diagnostics port hidden between the armband and the watch itself was also discovered. iFixit is also taking a closer look at Apples first foray into inductive charging, a thing that many believe will be the future for a lot of mobile devices.

Apple Watch Specifications:

  • Pressure-sensitive, flexible, touchscreen AMOLED Retina display
  • One model measuring 38 mm (vertically) with 272 x 340 pixels (290 ppi), the other model measuring 42 mm (vertically) with 312 x 390 pixels (302 ppi)
  • Custom-designed Apple S1 SiP (System in Package)
  • 8 GB onboard storage
  • NFC + Wi-Fi 802.11b/g/n + Bluetooth 4.0
  • Accelerometer + gyroscope + heart rate monitor + microphone + speaker

As previously mentioned, the teardown is still ongoing and you can head over to the official page and stay up to date with the latest findings.

Thank you iFixit for providing us with this information

Apple’s “Refreshed” iPod Touch Is Identical To Previous-Gen, Less Storage

Yesterday Apple unveiled its refreshed 16GB iPod Touch device. There has a been a lot of media hype about the “new” device but according to an iFixIt teardown the device is actually not new at all. It is of course worth mentioning Apple did not claim to be releasing anything new but the fact they have re-released the same product will most certainly mean people will pick up on it being new, the media and many retailers are already doing so. The device is part-for-part identical to the current iPod Touch with the only difference being storage has been halved from 32GB to 16GB. The fact the device is identical to the previous generation also means its repairability is equally as dismal:

“We delved inside Apple’s ‘refreshed’ device and found the same components we’d seen in Touches of yesteryear, but with 16 GB of on-board flash memory. So it’s not really that this 16 GB variant gains a camera — instead, it loses half of its 32 GB of storage. Unfortunately, the same construction means the same dismal repairability. All the issues from the previous generation are present, leading to its 3 out of 10 repairability score. It’s tough to pry open, the battery is soldered on, and most of the other components are linked together via interconnect cables. If one component fails, you’ll have to replace two or three functional components in addition to the broken one.” Notes iFixIt.

Now that we’ve established that it is just the same old stuff Apple are releasing to the market, will that stop people from buying it? Of course not, it is an Apple product after all….

Source: iFixIt

Image courtesy of iFixIt