iPhone 3GS Wallpaper

February 23, 2010 Hardware, Site News — Miro

When the 27″ iMac wallpaper came out, we got plenty of emails asking us for iPhone wallpapers. We definitely heard your cries, oh iPhonians. So we aligned the stars and got down to work.

These wallpapers were taken from two — yes, two! — iPhone 3GS phones. That was the only way we could incorporate both the blue and green logic board colors, as well as the “looking through the EMI covers” look of the second wallpaper.

Both flavors are rendered in the iPhone’s 320 x 480 resolution and look exactly as if you had X-ray vision and could peer through the iPhone’s LCD.

Oh, and iPhone 2G/3G owners — we won’t tell anyone that the wallpaper’s from a 3GS. You have our blessing to use it.

Red Pill: Logic board chips are fully visible beneath the EMI covers.

Blue Pill: EMI covers are only partially transparent, showing off the logic board chips below.

Which looks better? The choice is up to you. We suggest you download both and then see which one you prefer on the phone. Leave us a comment and let us know — we’re divided almost 50/50 at the iFixit office. I’m partial to the second wallpaper, but what do I know? I own a Droid.

Quick tip on how to load the wallpaper on your iPhone:

  • Visit this page on your iPhone.
  • Hold your finger for three seconds on the image you want to save.
  • Select “Save Image” on the menu that appears.
  • Go to your Camera Roll photo album.
  • Choose the image and set it as your wallpaper.

Technical Documentation Services

February 17, 2010 Site News — Kyle Wiens

How to actually disassemble a clamshell iBook

I’ve been writing service manuals for Apple products for so long that it’s hard to remember a time when I didn’t think of myself as a technical writer. The source of my passion for communicating clearly is my never-ending frustration at poor writing in the world. I almost destroyed my iBook G3 Clamshell the first time I disassembled it because I couldn’t find a decent service manual for the machine.

Like me, everyone here at iFixit is passionate about explaining how to fix things—but our documentation team is absolutely rabid. They get worked up over a misplaced comma, and nothing upsets them more than an ambiguous procedural instruction. Don’t even get them started on IKEA’s so-called ‘assembly instructions.’

Our repair manuals attract a lot of attention, and we’ve always received requests from companies that want us to write instructions for them. Sometimes they want manuals for installing a new hardware add-on into a computer, and we frequently hear from people that want us to write a teardown for a product that falls outside our normal operational perview.

Historically, we haven’t had the resources to write contract documentation in addition to the service manuals we provide to the community. But our core business has been going so well that we’ve beefed up our technical documentation team, and they’re looking for more things to show the world how to take apart.

Today, I’m proud to announce iFixit Services. We are now offering world-class technical documentation to manufacturers, service providers, and semiconductor companies. Documentation services include showcasing the inner workings of a device through a public teardown, creating service manuals and technical documentation for consumer electronics, and converting legacy technical documentation.

Want to learn more? Know someone that would benefit from documentation like ours? We just put up lots more information about iFixit’s technical documentation services.

Flip MinoHD Teardown

February 17, 2010 Hardware, Site News, Teardowns — Miro

The second-gen Flip MinoHD hit the market in October, and is currently the best-selling digital MiniDV camcorder on Amazon.

Consumers definitely love it, but we were curious to see what kind of electronics were packed into this simplistic yet customizable half-aluminum, half-plastic device.

Is the Flip MinoHD’s $230 price tag really justified, or is this just a tidy, sleek-looking cash cow for Pure Digital?

There was only one way to find out: teardown time.

Teardown Highlights:

  • Capacitive sensors under each of the control symbols (play, back, etc.) provide the logic board with control data, while small LEDs mounted to the logic board under each “button” project light through the front panel to provide their illumination.
  • The MinoHD sips two hours worth of power from the internal 3.7V, 1150 mAh Li-ion battery. The battery weighs in at 30 grams. Coincidentally, this is the same capacity as the iPhone 3G.
  • Cisco is using 8 GB of Samsung NAND flash.
  • The microphone assembly on the left also houses a small speaker for audio output during video playback. It connects to the board via two spring-loaded pressure contacts.
  • Once the USB axle clears the outer case, the flip-up USB connector may be ejected at high speed. Wear safety glasses if taking apart the MinoHD.
  • The high definition CMOS sensor has .0000022 meter wide pixels to capture clear 720p video.
  • The MinoHD uses a Zoran COACH (camera on a chip) 12 processor featuring real-time lens distortion compensation and noise reduction.

Some cool pictures to whet your appetite:

Removing the back cover
Taking off the display
Separating the camera
Final layout

21.5″ iMac Wallpaper

February 16, 2010 Hardware — Miro

Back in October we had a chance to take apart a brand-new 27″ iMac and show to the world its internal goodies. At the end of the teardown, we reassembled the machine back to its original state, but managed to snap a photo of the internals just before the LCD was put back on. The 27″ iMac wallpaper was born, and people loved it.

We recently got our hands on the new 27″ iMac’s smaller brother, the 21.5″ iMac. We’re in the midst of creating a set of repair guides for it, but we wanted to share a sneak peek of the internals with you.

So here’s the 21.5″ iMac wallpaper!

The 3410 x 1918 wallpaper looks great when scaled down to the 21.5″ iMac’s 1920 x 1080 native resolution, but still preserves as much detail as possible.

To further pique your interest, you can compare the two machines by their wallpapers:

21.5" iMac Internals

27" iMac Internals

We’ll release the new 21.5″ iMac guides very soon. Check them out in a week or two if you are looking to do some upgrades!

MacWorld meetup

February 8, 2010 Meet iFixit — Kyle Wiens

We’re looking forward to MacWorld this week, and we’re going to have an informal user meetup Thursday night at 8:00.

Meetup highlights:

  • Connect and network with fellow Mac hardware geeks
  • Meet the iFixit team
  • Learn about the future of iFixit

Interested? Send an email to meetup@ifixit.com. We’ll email you back with a location. Space is limited, and first-come-first-serve, so please only RSVP if you are sure you can make it. Once we have all the spots filled, we’ll update this post.

We’re looking forward to MacWorld this week, and we’re going to have an informal user meetup.

Help make iFixit better

February 7, 2010 Answers, Site News — Kyle Wiens

Our goal for iFixit Answers is to create a knowledge base of troubleshooting information for every device. Now that’s a lofty goal, but we’re already making tremendous progress towards it! We just hit 2500 questions, and over 95% of them have received at least one answer! I’m seeing some very interesting questions, and they’re getting phenomenal answers from the community.

The best (and most common) questions for a device create an impressively useful troubleshooting FAQ for the device. Some great examples of this are the community pages for iPod Video support and MacBook Unibody support. These community support pages are rapidly becoming an important part of our device repair manuals.

As a community, we need to focus on cultivating quality answers. Our repair information will rapidly get more useful if we all work together to organize and curate questions. Here are five easy things you can do to help:

#1: Vote on questions!

Each vote has a big impact. Questions don’t show up on the most helpful page unless it has at least one upvote.

#2: Vote on answers!

Questions stay on the unresolved tab until there is at least one upvote on an answer. Of the 968 questions currently on the list of unresolved questions, almost all of them have at least one answer. Pick a few older questions and upvote the answer if it’s accurate and informative. (There are actually only 115 questions that haven’t been answered at all– less than 5%!)

#3: Link to existing answers.

When people ask a question that’s been answered before, link them to the canonical answer. We need a catalog that is useful long-term, and this helps focus our efforts on increasing quality.

#4: Organize devices.

New users often misname the device they’re asking about, and people are constantly asking questions about new devices. There are currently 168 devices that are either misnamed or need a device page. Help us out by properly naming these devices or by making a device page stub!

#5: Cultivate device pages.

The core organizational page around here is the device repair manual page (we just call them device pages). This page automatically links in step-by-step guides, parts, teardowns, and answered questions. (Example pages: Nintendo Wii, iPhone 3G) We’re slowly building a catalogue of devices, and we need help adding to it. Every new device needs a consistent name, a photo, and an identification summary. I like to think of the device page as the table of contents and first chapter of a service manual.

With your help, we can help people fix their own things and keep hardware working as long as possible!

OpenID Support

February 7, 2010 Site News — Kyle Wiens

Are you one of those people that can never remember your password? Well, so are we. Keeping track of passwords on every different site is a hassle, and we feel your pain. We just added support for OpenID login! OpenID is an increasingly popular way to log in to sites like iFixit without having to create a new account. Instead, you log in using an account that you already have somewhere else— like Google. You don’t even have to give us a password! Just hit the ‘Sign in with Google’ link instead of creating an account.

If you’re already logged in with Gmail, you won’t have enter any login information. The first time you click our ‘Sign in with Google’ link, Google will ask you if we’re legit. From then on, clicking the link will automatically log you in.

OpenID confirmation (please don't email Jim Bob)

We’re testing the waters with Google, but we’re planning on expanding to support more login options. What OpenID providers would you like us to support? Here’s the shortlist of providers that we’re considering:

Leave a comment and let us know what your vote is. Note: Facebook uses a proprietary, non-OpenID-compatible login mechanism, so we don’t have plans to support them.

Already have an account with us, but want to switch to using OpenID to log in? It’s easy if you use Gmail. Go to your profile and change your email address to your Gmail address, then log out. The next time you log in, use OpenID. We’ll automatically associate your old account for you. Easy!