iPhone 5 teardown

When we first saw Apple’s iPhone 5 design, it looked like it was going to be a nightmare to repair — just like its new Retina MacBook Pro. With the rear panel and the sides of the device fuzed into one, it appeared the iPhone 5 would be incredibly hard to get into. But according to iFixit’s new iPhone 5 teardown, this could be the “most repairable iPhone” yet.

The great thing about the iPhone 5 is that the display — arguably the most fragile component — comes off first. That’s going to make display replacements a ten-minute task. I’ve changed countless iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S displays for family and friends over the years, and with those devices you had to take out almost every single component to remove the display from the body of the device.

With the iPhone 5, however, that’s not the case — it’s held in by two pentalobe screws, and that’s it.

Other interesting things that the iFixit teardown has revealed is that the device employs a much tougher home button. It’s actually mounted to the back of the display with a metal bracket, so it shouldn’t be as prone to damage like those in previous iPhones and iPod touches have been.

The iPhone 5 carries 1GB of RAM from Elpida, not from Samsung like previous iPhones, and a Qualcomm MDM9615M 4G chip. Interestingly, the device uses the same trackpad controller used in the MacBook Air — alongside a Texas Instruments touchscreen controller — to process input through the Retina display.

Another interesting find concerns the vibration motor. In the iPhone 4S, Apple switched from a rotational motor with a counterweight to a linear-oscillating vibrator. This made vibrations quieter, but just as powerful. With the iPhone 5, Apple has gone back to a rotational motor, and iFixit says they are “scratching their heads as to why.”

You can see the full teardown guide over at iFixit.