We just flew Kyle, our CEO, to London so he could take apart the iPhone 3GS. The results are in, and here’s what we found:
- Thankfully, opening the iPhone 3GS is as simple as the 3G. After removing two Phillips screws, the two halves of the phone are separated easily using a suction cup.
- The iPhone is differentiated externally only by a new model number, A1303. The lettering on the back is now shiny, like the Apple logo.
- The internal physical design is virtually identical to the iPhone 3G. A random passerby on the street would not know the difference. Heck, even we were struggling to differentiate the two.
- The new graphics core should drastically improve performance, meaning Apple’s serious about the handheld gaming market.
- There’s still a “Do not remove” sticker above the logic board. Naturally, we removed it.
- Nearly all components have been relocated to the front side of the main PCB, including the Bluetooth, Wi–Fi, and Flash memory chips.
- The battery is 4.51 Watt-hours, or 1219 mAh. That’s about 6% larger than the iPhone 3G’s battery. Hopefully the hardware runs more efficiently, since increased battery life will not come from the battery itself.
- There is an additional antenna connection near the dock connector. We’re not sure what for just yet. However, we do love exploring these teasers… Stay tuned!
- For those who are wondering about the fingerprint-resistant coating on their iPhone 3GS screen: The oleophobic, or oil-proof, technology evolved from waterproofing. Oil-proof technology is harder to achieve as oil has a much lower surface tension than water, so it spreads out easier and thus is harder to get rid off. MIT’s solution was to create a coating material which creates a layer of micro fibers, but with a much larger contact angle between the oil droplets and the fibers.
Some comments on usability of the 3GS:
- Camera quality is much improved from the 3G. Close-up shots were possible down to about 5 cm, and the brightness adjusted well when picking a focus area.
- The oleophobic screen does seem to clean slightly easier than the 3G’s normal screen.
- Google Earth (duration of the spinning load wheel) (over Wi-Fi): 3GS: 4.9 sec; 3G: 22.2 sec. A bit faster than Apple’s claim of 2X speed improvement — although we know that one simple test of one application means little in the real world.
We’ll post more notes on the hardware as we analyze it further.