iFixit has now posted its teardown of the HomePod, shining light on exactly what is beneath the seamless fabric mesh. The company says that the HomePod is built like a tank, so whilst it only scores 1/10 on the repairability scale it is made to last. It was apparently one of the hardest ever projects, with iFixit even resorting to a hacksaw at one stage.
The teardown reveals how the Siri waveform is formed on the top of the speaker; an LED matrix sits just below the surface with the light blurred by a diffuser. You also get to see Apple’s custom tweeters, including a special mechanism of powering them; the gold screw posts conduct electricity through the unit.
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After literally using a saw to get inside the HomePod, iFixit discovered some clues that there may be a way to break it down non-destructively. They posit that it was originally designed to do this but last minute changes meant it became fully sealed in.
The audio-transparent fabric meshes are made up of a netted layer with ‘tiny wiry coils’. Digging into the top of the case, iFixit removed layers of glue and screws to access the circuity which powers the touch surface.
In the photos, you can see how the + and – symbols are literally cut out of the board. In the center, is a circular grid of 19 LEDs. Combined with a diffuser, this creates the blurry Siri waveform ‘orb’ seen on the surface of the HomePod when users talk to it.
The subwoofer driving the bass in the HomePod uses a humongous magnet. Speakers rely on moving air to make noise. Typically, speakers create larger cones to push more around. In this case, Apple kept a small diameter whilst increasing how much the woofer moved, hence requiring the big magnet. There are a lot of strong magnets inside HomePod, flanking the seven-tweeter array in addition to the single big magnet driving the woofer.
Interestingly, below the rubber base, is a 14-pin connector. This is obviously not meant to be user-accessible but may be used by Apple for diagnostic purposes similar to the hidden diagnostics port in the Apple Watch.
iFixit found the A8 chip that powers the computational audio but, unfortunately, they did not confirm internal RAM (likely 1 GB). The device includes 16 GB internal storage, a sizeable amount given users cannot explicitly store content on HomePod.
Overall, iFixit came away impressed at the build quality of the hardware. You can read their full review, with accompanying photos, for more details.
They faced multiple challenges getting inside the device but seem to conclude that the HomePod can take a beating. They gave it a 1/10 repairability score, hinting that Apple repair facilities may have a secret method to get inside in a less destructive manner.
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