A9X teardown showcases Apple’s impressive strides in chip design

By Jeff Benjamin on Nov 28, 2015

The fine folks over at Chipworks have provided the first up close and personal look at the A9X processor found inside of the recently launched iPad Pro. What it uncovered was yet another impressive design job, one that should, again, make Intel take notice.

Not only is the A9X extremely powerful, besting some laptop machines powered by Intel chips, but it’s also much bigger than the A9 processors supplied by both Samsung and TSMC that are found in the iPhone 6s.

The Motley Fool recently contacted Chipworks for insight into Apple’s newest SoC. What it found was a technical achievement that Apple’s designers should be more than proud of. Read More


iFixit gives Apple’s Smart Keyboard the lowest repairability score possible

By Christian Zibreg on Nov 24, 2015

Repair experts over at iFixit today pried open Apple’s new $169 Smart Keyboard case for the iPad Pro.

As you know, the Smart Keyboard is covered in Apple’s mysterious conductive fabric that actually connects the keyboard to the iPad Pro’s Smart Connector and allows for a “two‑way flow of power and data.”

But more important than that, the accessory is completely glued together, which makes servicing next to impossible. In fact, the Smart Keyboard files as one of the least repairable devices iFixit has ever analyzed so small wonder they gave it a repairability score of zero out of ten, ten being the easiest to repair. Read More


Apple Pencil packs in the smallest logic board iFixit has ever seen

By Christian Zibreg on Nov 19, 2015

According to a teardown analysis of the Apple Pencil performed by iFixit, Apple’s optional Bluetooth stylus accessory for the iPad Pro packs in the smallest logic board that the repair firm has ever seen. Despite its minuscule appearance, Apple’s engineers had to fold it in half to fit inside the Pencil’s tiny enclosure.

As if that weren’t enough, the Apple Pencil is choke full of other radical technological solutions, said iFixit. Read More


Teardown analysis of Magic accessories finds chips from other Apple products and more tidbits

By Christian Zibreg on Oct 16, 2015

Repair experts over at iFixit have performed an interesting triple teardown of Apple’s latest Magic accessories—the Magic Mouse 2, Magic Trackpad 2 and Magic Keyboard—and found that all three devices are outfitted with many of the same chips also found in other Apple products.

On the downside, Apple’s unified approach to engineering the new Magic devices has resulted in just 3 out of 10 in iFixit’s Repairability ratings due to high level of integration and excessive amount of adhesive. Read More


iPhone 6s Plus teardown reveals a 165 mAh battery downgrade versus last year’s iPhone 6 Plus

By Christian Zibreg on Sep 30, 2015

After taking apart the 4.7-inch iPhone 6s, repair wizards over at iFixit have now disassembled its bigger brethren, the 5.5-inch iPhone 6s Plus (model A1687/A1634) After popping the handset open, the iFixit team immediately discovered a largely unchanged layout from the iPhone 6 and a slightly smaller battery versus last year’s iPhone 6 Plus.

In line with the rumors, the battery inside the iPhone 6s Plus is of a 2,750 mAh variety, representing a modest 165 mAh downgrade versus the iPhone 6 Plus battery rated at 3.82 V and 11.1 Wh of energy, for a total of 2915 mAh. Read More


iPhone 6s teardown: smaller battery, heavier display, fewer chips and same repairability

By Christian Zibreg on Sep 25, 2015

Repair wizards over at iFixit have performed their teardown routine by prying open the 4.7-inch iPhone 6s (model A1688/A1633) in an effort to identify its components, analyze their internal layout and calculate the device’s repairability score.

While the new phone does feature a slightly smaller battery due to a heavier display with additional capacitive sensors, Apple’s new Taptic Engine and a bigger ‘A9’ system-on-a-chip, the device packs in fewer chips overall and has the same repairability score as last year’s iPhone 6. Read More


Teardown: new Apple TV + Siri Remote

By Christian Zibreg on Sep 22, 2015

Following the teardown analysis of Apple’s fourth-generation iPad mini, repair wizards over at iFixit have torn apart the new Apple TV and its Bluetooth-based Siri Remote with touch trackpad.

The new box has a high repairability score thanks to a fairly modular design and just a few major components, which simplifies repair. It’s also a half-inch taller and more than fifty percent heavier than the third-generation model.

On the inside, it features a beefier heatsink and power supply to support the speed monster that is the dual-core A8 microchip with 2GB of RAM, clocked at 1.8GHz. Read More


Teardown reveals iPad mini 4 has 2GB of RAM, smaller battery and more

By Christian Zibreg on Sep 18, 2015

A teardown analysis performed by repair experts iFixit has confirmed that the iPad mini 4 (model number A1538) ships with two gigabytes of RAM, twice as much as the previous-generation and the same amount of RAM found inside the iPad Air 2, iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus.

In addition, the device sports a fully laminated 2,048-by-1,536 pixels LED-backlit LCD IPS screen, an improved eight-megapixel iSight camera out the back, faster Touch ID and a thinner 19.1 Wh rechargeable lithium-polymer battery of lesser capacity. Read More


iPod touch 6th generation receives the teardown treatment

By Jeff Benjamin on Jul 17, 2015

The iPod touch 6th generation may have taken forever to finally arrive, but it took almost no time for the boys and girls over at iFixit to give it a proper teardown.

As we noted in yesterday’s full review of the 6th-gen iPod touch, this device is a marked improvement over the previous generation, and features the same powerful A8 processor as the iPhone 6, and double the RAM of the 5th-gen iPod touch. But that’s not all that’s new in this refresh. Be sure to check out iFixit’s teardown for a full breakdown of all of the music player’s components. Read More


Apple Watch reportedly has onboard hardware for measuring blood oxygen saturation

By Christian Zibreg on May 25, 2015

Currently, your Apple Watch learns about calories you burn by applying some math magic to your heart rate readings and values obtained from its sensors.

The method provides reasonably accurate estimates of resting/active calories. However, even more precise calorie-burning readings could come soon if Apple decides to enable the hardware feature which can reportedly measure oxygen levels in your blood.

As an iFixit teardown has identified, the Apple Watch heart rate sensor has onboard hardware for detecting blood oxygen saturation. Read More


Here’s what Apple’s custom designed Apple Watch ‘S1’ chip packs in

By Christian Zibreg on Apr 30, 2015

The Apple Watch is driven by Apple’s in-house designed system-in-package (SiP) processor, called S1. Laying flat in the bottom of the Watch casing, it integrates many subsystems into one remarkably compact module, essentially miniaturizing an entire computer architecture onto a single chip.

Because it’s completely encapsulated in resin to protect the electronics, neither experienced teardown wizards over at iFixit nor semiconductor experts at Chipworks were able to take a detailed look at the S1 innards without basically destroying the package.

Thankfully, ABI Research saw to that.

Thursday, the research firm has published its teardown analysis which delves into the S1 to identify a number of individual components that make up the SiP. Here’s what they found. Read More


Apple Watch teardown exposes Taptic Engine, Digital Crown, battery and more

By Cody Lee on Apr 23, 2015

Customers in Australia and other time-forward countries began receiving their Apple Watch orders earlier today, and the folks at iFixit have acquired a 38mm Sport Apple Watch, and have begun their customary teardown process.

After prying the display off, the team gained access to the battery—which at 205 mAh is tiny compared to the Moto360’s 300 mAh battery—the new Digital Crown and Taptic Engine, and yes—the mysterious diagnostic port is still there. Read More


iPad mini 3’s ‘hastily glued’ Touch ID Home button makes screen repairs difficult

By Christian Zibreg on Oct 24, 2014

Following their analysis of the iPad Air 2’s innards, repair experts over at iFixIt have now perfumed their ritual teardown dance with Apple’s iPad mini 3. As you know, the iPad mini 3 is basically the iPad mini 2 with the addition of Touch ID and a gold color option so there isn’t much to be analyzed here.

That being said, iFixIt was able to make a few noteworthy observations regarding the new tablet’s repairability. Specifically, they found that Apple engineers glued the Home button bracket to the front panel assembly, making Touch ID and Home button repairs difficult. Read More


iFixit finds smaller battery, reworked internals in iPad Air 2 teardown

By Cody Lee on Oct 22, 2014

As the new iPads begin arriving in stores and on doorsteps, iFixit has gotten its hands on an iPad Air 2 and performed its usual teardown ritual. Upon popping the tablet open, the team discovered a more powerful processor, 2GB of RAM, and a smaller battery.

The processor is of course the new A8X, which is similar to the A8 in the iPhone 6 but with improved graphics. The RAM is comprised of two 1GB Elpida F8164A3MD sticks placed on either side of the A8X, and the battery is of the 27.62 Whr; 7,340 mAh variety. Read More


New iPhones use two accelerometers for better power management

By Cody Lee on Sep 27, 2014

Apple is using two accelerometers in both the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, Chipworks has discovered in its extensive teardowns of the two handsets. The first is the three-axis BMA280 accelerometer, made by Bosch, and the second is believed to be InvenSense’s six-axis MPU-6700.

Why two? Interestingly enough, Chipworks believes that Apple decided to go with two accelerometers to improve power management and overall user experience. The InvenSense is more sensitive, and can do more things, than the Bosch, but it also draws a lot more power. Read More


iPhone 6 Plus teardown reveals 1GB of RAM, high-capacity battery

By Cody Lee on Sep 18, 2014

We’ve still got a good 8 hours or so before the iPhone goes on sale here in the US, but it’s already begun flying off the shelves in Australia. And as usual, the folks over at iFixit were on hand at the launch to grab one of the new iPhone 6 Plus models for their customary teardown.

After popping the handset open, the team discovers what it says is a very similar layout to the iPhone 5s, albeit a much bigger battery. In line with the rumors, the battery is rated at 3.82 V and 11.1 Wh of energy, for a total of 2915 mAh—nearly double the capacity of last year’s 5s. Read More


Google using Apple’s PrimeSense in ‘Project Tango’ smartphone, beating Apple to the punch

By Jake Smith on Apr 16, 2014

Google has beat Apple to the punch by using PrimeSense’s Capri PS1200 3D imaging system-on-a-chip in the Project Tango smartphone, before Apple could in its iPhone line-up, the teardown specialists over at iFixit found.

PrimeSense is the 3D technology sensing company Apple acquired for $350 million late-November 2013, and its chips weren’t expected to be found in Google’s Project Tango smartphone given the fierce competition between the two companies. Only Movidius Myriad 1 3D-sensing chips were expected, but Apple’s PrimeSense showed up as well… Read More


iFixit performs the ultimate teardown, rips apart the original 128k Macintosh

By Christian Zibreg on Jan 24, 2014

Repair wizards over at iFixit have decided to do something insanely great in honor of the 30th Macintosh anniversary – they tore apart the vintage 128K Macintosh, the original Mac system that jumpstarted the personal computer revolution.

Back then (in 1984), the Mac had an 8MHz (that’s megahertz, not gigahertz like today’s processors) 68000 CPU from Motorola and a nine-inch black and white CRT display sporting a very non-Retina resolution of 512-by-342 pixels, just thirteen percent more pixels than the original 2007 iPhone.

The operating system and applications purred along happily using just 128KB of DRAM. 1,024 kilobytes is one megabyte and to give you some context – 128KB is less RAM than the iDownloadBlog logo image.

Its then revolutionary Sony-made 3.5-inch floppy disk provided 400 kilobytes of total storage. Jump past the fold for a remarkable blast from the past… Read More


Retina iPad mini teardown: LG Display Retina panel, larger battery, A7 and more

By Christian Zibreg on Nov 13, 2013

Yesterday, I wondered on Twitter what was taking the repair magicians over at iFixit so long to do their ritual teardown of Apple’s stealthily-released iPad mini with Retina display. My prayers have been listened to as iFixit has torn apart the device, revealing its guts and components for the whole world to see. As you could imagine, they found an Apple-designed A7 chip inside, slightly underclocked versus the iPad Air.

On top of that, there are usual suspects in terms of wireless and supporting chips. As for the titular update to this iPad mini – the Retina display – the teardown analysis has identified an LG Display-supplied 7.9-inch in-plane switching LCD with a 2,048-by-1,536 screen resolution.

While the resolution is the same as the iPad 3/4/Air, the images are crisper at 326 pixels per inch (264 ppi on the iPad Air) due to a shrunken form factor, as noted MacStories editor Federico Viticci noted in his hands-on article.

Other tidbits follow… Read More


iFixit gives iPad Air the teardown treatment

By Cody Lee on Nov 1, 2013

The iPad Air launched online and in retail stores around the globe this morning, and like clockwork, the folks over at iFixit have already ripped it apart. The teardown gives us a closeup look at the components inside the tablet.

And this is particularly interesting this year, as Apple has completely redesigned the 5th gen iPad to be thinner, lighter and more powerful than its predecessor. You’ll find photos of its A7 chip, 5mp camera and more after the fold… Read More

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