Apple Watch S1 processor uses older 28-nanometer process, Chipworks confirms

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Nearly two weeks after the product’s official release, Chipworks has updated its earlier Apple Watch teardown to note several significant details, most notably that Apple’s latest processor uses a 28-nanometer building process that has already been leapfrogged by newer technology. The discovery reveals that the S1 — believed to be roughly equivalent in processing power to Apple’s A5 processors — can be readily evolved using the smaller 20-nanometer process used in Apple’s current A8 processors, as well as the cutting-edge 14-nanometer process that’s reportedly being used in the upcoming A9. This is good news for next-generation versions of the Apple Watch, as they will be able to easily fit faster or more power-efficient processors in the same space as the S1.

As highlighted in separate chip teardown and X-ray analyses released today by Chipworks and iFixit (partnered with Creative Electron), the S1 packs over 30 components into a resin-covered package, including everything from wireless chips, wireless charging, audio processors and sensors to the CPU itself. The CPU is again said to be Samsung-fabricated, continuing the unusual frenemy relationship between Apple and one of its chief consumer electronics rivals. Several of the beautiful iFixit/Creative Electron X-ray images of the Apple Watch are included below…

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How-To: Understand and unlock Apple’s Mac and iPhone security screws

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Decades ago, every electronic device was sealed with one of two types of screws: a minus-shaped Flat/Slot head, or a plus-shaped Phillips head. There was no concept — at least, for common consumer electronics — that average people shouldn’t be able to unscrew their gadgets and take them apart. And the only reason to have multiple Flat or Phillips head screwdrivers was to handle bigger or smaller screws.

Times have changed, and “security screws” have become increasingly common. Apple actually started using tamper-resistant screws in its Macs years ago, but when it added Pentalobe screws to the iPhone 4, the media took notice, and there was a brief public flare-up (actual sample headline: “Apple iPhone 4 Uses ‘Evil,’ Tamper-Proof Screws”). Despite initial frustration, however, the solution turned out to be simple: buy an inexpensive Pentalobe screwdriver, or alternately, a multi-bit screwdriver with tons of different bits, like iFixit’s 54-Bit Driver Kit.

I’ve been using iFixit’s kit for so long and across so many great Mac upgrade projects that I consider it essential to my office; if a Mac, hard drive, or other peripheral needs to be opened, the 54-Bit Driver Kit almost always can do it. But since most people have no idea what Pentalobe, Torx, Tri-Wing, Hex and other bits look like or are supposed to do, I’ve assembled this guide to explain them all, focusing on the ones used in Apple products. By the time you’re done reading this article, you’ll have a good sense of the world of security screws, and the reasons it’s handy to keep a kit around to open anything up…

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Apple Watch repair guides walk you through screen, battery, NFC antenna, & adhesive replacements

Following its usual teardown of the Apple Watch, iFixit today released its first repair guides for Apple’s new device covering screen, NFC antenna, and battery replacements, as well as the process of safely replacing adhesives during repair.

When it comes to the NFC antenna, iFixit warns that it’s easy to damage the component when opening the Apple Watch for any repair, meaning replacement or repair might be necessary: Read more

Component & manufacturing cost of 38mm Apple Watch Sport is less than $84 – IHS teardown analysis

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The Apple Watch wasn’t long out before iFixit did its usual teardown. Research firm IHS always takes longer, as it seeks to identify the components and find out what they cost. The result, it says, is that the component cost of the 38mm Apple Watch Sport – the cheapest model – totals $81.20, with manufacturing costs taking the total cost-price to $83.70.

Tim Cook made a pointed reference to this type of cost estimate during last week’s earnings call, saying that “I’ve never seen one that is anywhere close to being accurate” – though he was likely making a broader point …  Read more

Apple Watch teardown reveals pulse oximeter, suggesting future measurement of blood oxygen

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iFixit’s teardown of the Apple Watch has revealed that the sophisticated heart-rate monitor used is actually capable of acting as a pulse oximeter, allowing it to calculate the oxygen content of your blood by measuring how much infrared light is absorbed. This data would be useful for health and fitness monitoring, but the functionality is not currently enabled in the watch.

As iFixit notes, there are a couple of possible reasons Apple is not currently allowing to watch to display this data …  Read more

iFixit dismantles the early 2015 MacBook Airs, finds small changes to past designs

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iFixit has just dismantled the refreshed early 2015 11-inch and 13-inch MacBook Air models that Apple unveiled earlier this week, featuring new Intel Broadwell CPUs, improved graphics and other minor tweaks. Although the models mostly remain the same apart from the spec bumps Apple announced on stage, iFixit gives us its usual rundown on changes it discovered… Read more

iFixit: How to fix your iPhone 6 or 6 Plus in 21 easy guides

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iFixit gave Apple’s iPhone 6 a repairability score of 7, the highest ever for Apple’s flagship and most popular device in their September teardown.  That bodes well for folks who want to take their iPhone repairs into their own hands, though perhaps it’s best to give the Geniuses at Apple a chance to gift you an out of warranty repair before getting your hands dirty.

In any case, today iFixit announced an updated library of 21 repair guides for the iPhone 6 (and 14 for the 6 Plus). The new guides cover everything from replacing the battery to speakers to the glass panel and everything in between. The tutorials walk you through the process and also conveniently provide links to purchase any necessary tools you might not have (hit up their Amazon store for some hefty discounts).

As with any iPhone take-apart, be very careful and be prepared to forfeit your warranty if you screw up.
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Mac mini teardowns are underway, with good news and bad news

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iFixit and MacminiVault have both completed their teardowns of the new Mac mini, with Macminicolo planning theirs soon.

We already knew the main bad news: soldered RAM means you can’t upgrade the memory later, so you have to decide how much you want and pay Apple’s pricing for it. Both iFixit and MacminiVault described replacing the RAM as “impossible.”

Getting access to the inside of the new Mac mini is more difficult than it used to be …  Read more

iFixit tears down the new Retina iMac, finds it largely unchanged over previous versions

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via iFixit

The folks over at iFixit have gotten their hands on one of Apple’s new 27″ Retina iMacs, and, as they are wont to do, immediately opened it up to find out what makes these things tick. Inside they found that most of the internal components are actually somewhat familiar.

The SSD inside the new iMac is the same unit found inside the latest-generation MacBook Pro, while the logic board, Bluetooth controller, and more are identical to that of previous iMacs. In fact, in the case of the logic board, iFixit didn’t even document the dissection, instead referring back to the previous year’s teardown.

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