When a new iPhone launches, iFixit goes to work performing its ritual teardown dance so all of us can marvel at Apple’s latest technology and peek at it from the inside.
For those not in the know, iFixit is a California-based company whose primary mission is to make it easier for the average person to disassemble and repair their electronics.
Every year there’s a race to become the first to tear apart a brand spanking new iPhone and every year gadget enthusiasts around the world can trust these repair wizards to publish their teardown of Apple’s latest thing by the time stores open on launch day.
Teardowns provide a roadmap for the life of your Apple gear.
The great effort that goes into beating competition to put out a teardown analysis of a coveted new phone before any other repair shop requires laser-sharp focus, strong commitment to excellence, ample resources and the willingness to hop on a plane to Australia where the new handset is first released first due to the time zone difference.
Jason Koebler of the Motherboard spent some quality time with iFixit CEO Kyle Wiens, witnessing an iPhone X teardown in Sydney, Australia with his own eyes.
After buying a brand new iPhone X like any regular consumer, the two men took it to a local gadget analysis facility where they pried the phone open, disassembled it to pieces, photographed everything and uploaded assets to the iFixit website in time for the phone’s US launch.
Koebler also went inside iFixit’s office—they’re calling it the “headquarters of the global repair movement”—which features a tool laboratory and a parts library with thousands of electronics parts and disassembly tools.
iFixit is all about open-source manuals and repair guides that are teaching the world how to repair their expensive electronics. They make money by selling specialized repair tools, with Wiens telling Koebler that the idea for iFixit was born out of frustration that manufacturers like Apple went to great lengths to hide crucial repair information from average users.
It kind of unexpectedly snowballed from there and the rest, as they say, is history.
Creative Electron’s machine for X-ray analysis.
I was surprised to learn that Apple’s component suppliers are in regular contact with the iFixit team.
Because suppliers are under NDAs prohibiting them from mentioning to prospective clients their business with Apple, having a third-party like iFixit publish detailed component is a way for these companies to tell clients, “We’re in the new iPhone.”
In fact, the sheer act of identifying the components that make up a new iPhone model, and who made them, can shift stock markets, electronics design and consumer experience.
Oh, and don’t forget to check out iFixit’s teardown analysis of iPhone X!