iFixit begins live teardown of iPhone 6 Plus, revealing 2915 mAh battery

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In keeping with tradition, iFixit has started its live teardown of the latest iPhone hardware (an iPhone 6 Plus in this case), revealing all of the device’s internal components for the first time. So far we’ve already seen a 2915 mAh battery, which provides the increased battery life in the much larger of the two models.

The company will likely teardown the smaller iPhone 6 once the Plus model has been fully disected. You can follow along as the company discovers what makes the new handsets tick over on iFixit.com. We’ll keep this post updated as they add new information.

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Falling in love with the Macintosh 128K back in 1984

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Ok, I admit it: I’m officially old. Old enough, in fact, to have bought the very first Macintosh in 1984: the Macintosh 128K.

Computers in those days had green screens and were controlled by typing arcane commands. Bold and italics did not appear on-screen, instead you saw ^Bthis is bold^B and ^Ythis is italics^Y (CTRL-Y for italics because CTRL-I was tab, for reasons no-one understood but didn’t question). You never had to worry about what typeface to use because computers could neither display nor print them.

And then came the Macintosh …  Read more

iFixit teardown praises new Mac Pro for repairability, upgradability

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Following a quick look from Other World Computing last week, iFixit has published its teardown of the new Mac Pro.

Unlike any other Apple product iFixit has reviewed this year, the firm gives high praise to the repairability of the Mac Pro. The system uses no proprietary screws and RAM is accessible without the need for any tools.  Add in the socketed, upgradable CPU originally found in the earlier teardown, the Mac Pro is the most repairable computer in Apple’s lineup by far.

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The Retina iPad Mini teardown reveals cross between iPad Air & iPhone 5s

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Following close behind its teardown of the iPad Air, iFixit has now taken its toolkit to the Retina iPad Mini. While the company understandably focuses on repairability – that’s how it makes it’s money – we’re betting most people just want to have a peek inside.

Unsurprisingly, the new iPad Mini is essentially a cross between the iPad Air and the iPhone 5s …  Read more

iPad Air teardown: never mind the repairability, feel the tech

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iFixit has done its usual trick of hopping over to Australia to get its hands on an iPad Air in the first time-zone to open its doors for business to bring us a look at the innards of the new device. The device is now on sale in the U.S. too, with supplies expected to be good.

No surprise that the company found little prospect of success for DIY repair, reporting that even opening the casing was a challenge: when you pack that much technology into so small a space, there’s going to be a lot of glue involved.

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Some details of what the company found and more photos below the fold …  Read more

iFixit investigates the innards of the new iMacs, spare SSD slot now standard in all models

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iFixit has taken a look at the newly-released generation iMacs, tearing down both the 21.5 inch and 27.5 inch variants. Although most of the internal structure is the same, which is to be expected given that the new iMacs have retained the same casing, there are some small differences.

iFixit points out that the 21.5 inch iMac now includes a Fusion Drive SSD bay as standard, improving future upgradeability prospects of the machine. With last year’s model, this expandability was only available if customers had specifically ordered the iMac with a Fusion Drive originally. As the new drives are now connected via PCIe, third-party drive makers should be able to make appropriate adapters to enable the addition of a second hard drive. Both the 21.5 inch and 27 inch models offer this unused PCIe Fusion Drive SSD port. A picture of the empty port is attached below.

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Is there some secret iMac assembly plant in the US?


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iFixit

From iFixit’s ritual iMac dismemberment yesterday, we learn that the particular 21.5-inch iMac they bought says it was “Assembled in USA”. The moniker isn’t new—we’ve seen it since at least a few iMac models back on the packaging. But as far as we can tell, “Assembled in USA” wasn’t etched in the actual machine’s aluminum, leading people to believe that the iMacs that were shipped were “refurbished in the USA”. However, this forum shows that some were actually assembled and sold new with the “Assembled in USA” label (below—27-inch iMac, previous gen).

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Regardless of previous endeavors, Apple is shipping new iMacs “Assembled in USA”.  PED at Fortune found one. Jay Yarrow at BI found one, too. This isn’t an isolated incident. We also heard that other new iMacs say “Assembled in China”, as you’d expect.

Still, it makes for an interesting question:  Is Apple building some of its iMacs in the United States? Is that percentage growing since it seems much of the first line of iMacs are coming with USA labels?

The “Assembled in USA” label doesn’t just mean that foreign parts screwed together in the U.S. either. The U.S. Federal Trade Commission assumes that a “substantial transformation” must happen in the U.S. for the label to be used.

Specifically, the FTC states that the label “Assembled in the USA” should be the following:

A product that includes foreign components may be called “Assembled in USA” without qualification when its principal assembly takes place in the U.S. and the assembly is substantial. For the “assembly” claim to be valid, the product’s last “substantial transformation” also should have occurred in the U.S. That’s why a “screwdriver” assembly in the U.S. of foreign components into a final product at the end of the manufacturing process doesn’t usually qualify for the “Assembled in USA” claim.

Example: A lawn mower, composed of all domestic parts except for the cable sheathing, flywheel, wheel rims and air filter (15 to 20 percent foreign content) is assembled in the U.S. An “Assembled in USA” claim is appropriate.

Here’s where it gets more interesting. The FTC gives the specific example of a computer manufacture:

Example: All the major components of a computer, including the motherboard and hard drive, are imported. The computer’s components then are put together in a simple “screwdriver” operation in the U.S., are not substantially transformed under the Customs Standard, and must be marked with a foreign country of origin. An “Assembled in U.S.” claim without further qualification is deceptive.

That means one of two things: Either Apple or its contractors have some sort of significant manufacturing operations in the U.S., or it is being deceptive in its marketing (something that sadly, isn’t out of character)… Read more

iFixit iMac teardown reveals dual mics, difficult RAM upgrades and glued LCD

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While we had some pictures of a brief teardown earlier this week, iFixit has now completed its ritual teardown of the new 21.5-inch iMac that officially went on sale on Friday.

Unfortunately, iFixit described the process as an “exercise in disappointment,” noting the iMac’s new thinner design introduces new hurdles for repairability. Most notably, the device’s glass and LCD are now glued directly to the iMac’s frame, while accessing the RAM, CPU, and hard drive will now mean having to remove the entire logic board:

The late 2012 iMac 21.5″ — code-named EMC 2544 — is an exercise in disappointment for us. We were quite worried when we saw that super-thin bezel during Apple’s keynote, and unfortunately we were correct: the glass and LCD are now glued to the iMac’s frame with incredibly strong adhesive. Gone are the lovely magnets that held the glass in place in iMacs of yesteryear.

A few things noted in iFixit’s highlights: a new rubber housing that “dampens the vibrations from the spinning hard drive,” a new single fan layout, dual microphones, and a 5mm thinner LG made display. Those are some of the highlights of Apple’s new design, but iFixit is scoring the new iMac as a 3 out of 10 (down from 7 last year) due to the many issues with repairability. Here are just a few:

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iFixit tears down the new 7th generation iPod nano

We got a look inside the new fifth-generation iPod touch last week thanks to our friends over at iFixit. Today, they are taking apart the seventh-generation iPod nano that Apple recently unveiled alongside the new iPod touch and iPhone 5 lineups. While it did not perform quite as poorly as the iPod touch in terms of repairability, it was still unable to outperform the 7 out of 10 repairability score given to iPhone 5. We see the usual suspects inside including flash memory from Toshiba and a TI touchscreen controller. However, a quick look at the Nano’s internals shows a few anonymous, Apple-branded chips as well:

* Toshiba THGBX2G7D2JLA01 128 Gb (16 GB) NAND flash
* Texas Instruments 343S0538 touchscreen controller
* Broadcom BCM2078KUBG Bluetooth + FM radio
* NXP Semiconductors 1609A1
* 75203 23017
* 75292 98820
* 339S0193
* Apple 338S1099
* Apple 338S1146

Thanks to many components being soldered to the logic board (battery, lightning connector, headphone jack, etc.), and a battery attached to the assembly, iFixit is giving the new Nano a 5 out of 10 for repairability. Here are some of the highlights:

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iFixit tears down the fifth-generation iPod touch

As usual, our friends at iFixit have once again taken apart Apple’s latest device. This time we get a look inside the new fifth-generation iPod touch that started shipping to customers this week, revealing all of its internal components including: 512MB of RAM from Hynix, Apple’s A5 processor, and NAND flash from Toshiba.

* A5 Processor
* Hynix H9TKNNN4KDBRCR 512 MB RAM
* Toshiba THGBX2G8D4JLA01 32 GB NAND flash
* Apple 3381064 dialog power management IC
* Murata 339S0171 Wi-Fi module
* Broadcom BCM 5976 touchscreen controller
* Apple 33831116
* STMicroelectronics AGD32229ESGEK low-power, three-axis gyroscope
* Texas Instruments 27AZ5R1 touchscreen SoC

While the iPhone 5 was able to grab an impressive repairability score in its teardown, iFixit unfortunately found the new iPod touch much harder to get inside. Due to lack of external screws and two “hard-to-manage ribbon cables” on the logic board, the device gets a low 3 out of 10 repairability score. That’s in comparison to the 7 out of 10 awarded to the iPhone 5. iFixit said, “repair is not impossible, but it’s certainly going to be difficult and expensive if one component breaks.” The teardown also found the iPod touch Home button has a “weaker, rubber-membrane design” when compared to the iPhone 5.

Here are some of the highlights:

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iPhone 5 scores ‘low concern’ in chemical analysis of 36 smartphones

Together, with HealthyStuff.org, our friends at iFixit have just completed a chemical analysis of 36 smartphones, including the iPhone 5 and previous generations of the device. Each device was ranked from 0 to 5 (with 0 being best) based on a number of common hazardous materials including lead, bromine, and mercury. In the image above, we see a breakdown on which components of the iPhone 5 have the highest concentration of those chemicals. The findings show Apple is making good in its commitment to greatly reduce harmful chemicals in its products, with the iPhone 4S and iPhone 5 ranking significantly better than previous generations. For instance, the iPhone 2G lands itself at the bottom of the list with a “high concern”—not far from Nokia’s N95.

The iPhone 4S was able to outrank the iPhone 5; indicating Apple was not able to significantly reduce hazardous chemicals in the new device. However, all iPhone models were behind the Motorola Citrus—a device Motorola specifically markets as an eco-friendly option. While iPhone 4S came in second behind Citrus, the inexpensive LG Remarq and Samsung Captivate were able to beat out the iPhone 5. When it comes to Apples’ biggest competitors, such as Samsung’s flagship Galaxy S III and higher-end devices from HTC, the iPhone 4/4S/5 all outrank the competition.

As noted by iFixit, each year only about 8 percent of the 130 million discarded cellphones make it to proper recycling facilities. With Apple likely to build a 100 million new iPhones in the year to come, Apple’s commitment to make the “most environmentally responsible products in our industry” is certainly an important one.

iFixit explained the method used to rank the phones:

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iFixit posts repair guide for Retina MacBook Pro, estimates battery replacement at $500

You might remember a couple months ago when our friends at iFixit tore down the new Retina MacBook Pro. Unfortunately, the device received its lowest repairability score with the company calling it “the least repairable laptop”. While the new MacBooks provide possibly Apple’s least accessible and upgradeable design out of the box, iFixit updated its website today with its official 2012 MacBook Pro Retina repair guide to make it as easy as possible. Fifteen separate installation guides for the AirPort Board, battery, fans, logic board, speakers, SSD, trackpad, etc., are included in the repair guide with one maintenance guide for reapplying thermal paste to the CPU and GPU.

Many components within the laptop can be removed without much fuss, provided folks use the correct tools. Pentalobe screws hold the lower case in place and Torx screws secure everything else. Spudgers and plastic opening tools are absolutely necessary, as many of the components are designed with such tight tolerances that using fingertips is simply not an option.

Fair warning: working on the laptop is no easy task. Some repairs are simply infeasible. For example, there is no way to replace the trackpad without removing the battery. And while it’s possible to remove the battery, chances are high that it will be punctured in the process. Puncturing Lithium-polymer batteries releases noxious fumes and can cause fires. Additionally, removing the LCD glass from the aluminum frame will almost certainly break the glass. So components residing under the LCD — such as the FaceTime camera — will have to be replaced with the entire assembly… Finding replacements for the machine’s proprietary components is currently difficult. We’re working to source parts, but it may take some time.

iFixit also estimated that third-party battery replacements —if done correctly— could cost over $500:

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