Verizon iPhone 4 Teardown

February 7, 2011 Hardware, Site News, Teardowns — Miro

We all knew that the external appearance of the Verizon iPhone 4 was changed slightly, but we had no idea how many differences were to be uncovered inside — until now.

The Verizon iPhone 4 earned a Repairability Score of 6 out of 10 (10 is easiest to repair). You can remove the battery fairly easily once you circumvent Apple’s pesky Pentalobe screws — no soldering required. Other components are connected mostly with regular screws, with limited use of tabs and adhesives.

However, the LCD is still fused to the front glass, and we recommend you wear gloves while performing repairs, unless you want your finger oils to interfere with the phone’s RF grounding points (something we found through personal experience).

Teardown highlights:

  • The iPhone 4′s vibrator received a complete makeover. Rather than using a rotational electric motor with a counterweight, the Verizon iPhone appears to utilize a linear oscillating vibrator for call/message alerts.
  • The phone uses a Qualcomm MDM6600 chip — the same package that’s being used in the Droid Pro world phone. Of course, there’s no way the CDMA iPhone 4 could be a real “world phone” without a SIM card slot, regardless of whether it had GSM capability.
  • We believe the additional notch in the antenna enclosure on the right side of the phone is a result of the switch from GSM to CDMA. An antenna’s operating frequency is directly dependent on its size and geometry, so the change-up required an antenna overhaul. Only time will tell if this new antenna design helps combat the reception problems plaguing the GSM iPhone 4.
  • The display assembly appeared to be identical to that of the GSM iPhone 4 at first glance. Upon further investigation, the mounting tabs are in drastically different locations for the two display assemblies. Sadly, this means the two assemblies are definitely not interchangeable.
  • The battery is listed as the same 5.25 watt-hour capacity, but does have a new model number (616-0520). The new battery also weighs less; it shrunk from 26.9 grams to 25.6 grams.
  • Apple used custom molded rubber pads between the chips and the EMI shields presumably to conduct heat and quell any interference between analog and digital circuitry.
  • Like the Apple TV, there is an interesting set of unused solder pads near the edge of the logic board. These were likely used for testing during development.
  • Big players on the logic board include:
    • Apple A4 Processor
    • Qualcomm MDM6600 CDMA/GSM chip
    • Toshiba TH58NVG7D2FLA89 16 GB NAND Flash
    • Cirrus Logic CLI1495B0 Audio Codec (38S0589)
    • Texas Instruments Touchscreen controller (343S0499)
    • Skyworks power amplifier modules for CDMA/PCS (SKY77711-4 and SKY77710-4)
  • According to Apple, the SIM card and SIM tray were the only user-serviceable parts in the AT&T iPhone 4. Sadly, now the Verizon iPhone “does not contain any user-serviceable parts.” We’ll have parts and repair guides for this iPhone 4 flavor very soon.

Comparison of the internals

Comparison of the internals - the Verizon iPhone is on the left

Final layout

Final layout

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