iPad 2’s Headphone Jack

March 15, 2011 Hardware, Site News — Miro

Update: Apple has a patent application, not an actual patent, for the pogo-pin headphone jack design. Also, the graphic referenced in our post is just one representation of the patent, but others exist within the patent application. It looks like the iPad 2’s headphone jack meets the criteria outlined by other representations, and is in fact the patent-pending headphone jack.

There’s been some talk on the intertubes about Apple’s inclusion of a new type of headphone jack in the iPad 2, as shown in Apple’s patent here:

Patent image courtesy of Apple

Given that we already took apart an iPad 2 in the name of science, we felt it was our civic duty to also investigate the headphone jack. Some have speculated that the iPad 2’s pogo-pin headphone jack might make it waterproof. While we haven’t dipped our iPad 2 into any liquid, we’re pretty confident in saying that the jack is not waterproof.

We had seen the “pogo pins” in older Apple devices, and we just happened to have a disassembled 3rd Gen iPod Shuffle to verify. The Shuffle’s jack had the same “pogo pins” inside it, but it was approximately half the size of the iPad 2’s jack. The size disparity makes sense, since the minuscule Shuffle is much more space-constrained than the iPad 2.

On the left: iPad 2 headphone jack; on the right: iPod Shuffle 3rd Gen headphone jack

The 3rd Gen Shuffle headphone jack was also significantly thinner (and consequently, flimsier) than that of the iPad 2: 3.95 mm vs. 4.57 mm. Notice how the perimeter thicknesses of the jacks are visibly different:

Thickness comparison between the iPad 2 and the 3rd Gen Shuffle headphone jacks. iPad 2 jack is on the bottom.

But something didn’t make sense. If the “pogo pins” were supposed to save space by being aligned next to one another, why did the iPad 2 have the ground pin on the opposite side?  To find out the answer, we began some aggressive sanding action. A good amount of time later, we could see all the dirty secrets that lurked within the iPad 2’s jack.

The jack contained three “pogo pins” — the offset ground pin, and two pins for stereo sound output — as well as a standard switch contact for the headphone plug tip (instead of two more pogo pins as described by the patent). But the “pogo pins” were in fact versions of a standard switch contact, not the pogo pins described by the patent picture:

A look inside the iPad 2's headphone jack. Notice that the small pogo pins from the patent picture are missing.

You can get a better idea of how the pogo pins work by looking at the back of the headphone jack. The iPad 2’s jack design, although possibly water-resistant, could not be waterproof. And Apple’s definitely not using the new headphone jack design described in the patent picture.

The back of the iPad 2's headphone jack.

Note that even though the pogo pins in the patent picture are supposed to reduce jack thickness, that’s not really feasible. Just look at the 3rd Gen Shuffle’s headphone jack thickness (3.95 mm)! The thickness is limited by the 3.5 mm headphone plug, not the connection points within the headphone jack. The solution for this problem is to switch to 2.5mm TRS connectors to minimize thickness, but we sincerely hope Apple does not venture down this path. Otherwise they’d force everyone with old iPod/iPhone/aftermarket headphones to purchase a converter to use with their headphones, making the user’s audio setup that much more bulky.

iPad 2’s Smart Cover Teardown

March 14, 2011 Hardware, Site News, Teardowns — Miro

We never took apart a case before, but the Smart Cover piqued our interest as soon as Steve Jobs announced it alongside the iPad 2. We knew it worked with magnets, but exactly how? What did it attach to? How can something so simple be so multi-functional? A Smart Cover went under the knife (literally) to provide the answers to these questions.

We were also curious to see if Apple used magnets with special properties — such as the awesome correlated magnets developed by Correlated Magnetics Research — for the Smart Cover. Correlated magnets have multiple poles that could be contributing to the unique functionality of the cover.

The Smart Cover received a 0 out of 10 Repairability Score. Apple had the audacity to bring a product to market that was absolutely unrepairable. Imagine our surprise when we cut up the entire thing, only to have it be totally destroyed! (We joke, of course.)

Teardown highlights:

  • There are a total of THIRTY ONE magnets within the iPad 2 and Smart Cover: 10 magnets in the iPad 2, and a whopping 21 magnets inside the Smart Cover. They’re the reason why the cover works so well with the iPad 2.
  • We used magnetic viewing film to reveal the magnets before taking our stuff apart. The film has special properties that allow it to react to a magnet’s poles, and it worked wonders in showing the magnets hidden beneath the Smart Cover and iPad 2.
  • Sadly, none of the 31 magnets inside the devices had any special properties. All of them were the standard, two-pole kind, but they were arrayed in such a way that made clamping the Smart Cover to the iPad 2 quite easy.
  • The Smart Cover has one dedicated magnet that turns off the iPad 2’s screen. The rest are used to either clamp to the iPad on the right side (the far-right column of magnets), or to form the triangular shape used to create a stand for the iPad 2.
  • A steel plate on the far-left side of the Smart Cover attaches to 15 of the cover’s magnets (on the far-right) in order to form the triangular base.
  • The far-right row of magnets clamps the Smart Cover to the iPad 2. The magnets in the iPad 2 had their polarity displayed: + – + – . The alternating polarity of the magnets in the iPad 2 was complemented by the opposite alternating polarity of the magnets in the Smart Cover (- + – +), ensuring that the Smart Cover always sits in the same orientation on the iPad 2.
  • There’s also a row of magnets on the left side of both products. The iPad 2’s magnets are actually encased into the side of the device, and are used to securely clamp the iPad 2 to the Smart Cover’s frame. Interestingly, these magnets’ polarities were manually marked — a blue dash written with a marker — instead of having a machine stamp/engrave the polarity into them.
  • It turns out that the Smart Cover doesn’t work nearly as well once you remove the magnets, steel plate, and plastic structural supports. Go figure!
iPad 2's sleep sensor and magnets

iPad 2's sleep sensor and magnets

Final layout

Final layout

iPad 2 Teardown

March 11, 2011 Hardware, Site News, Teardowns — Miro

Prior to starting the teardown, we guessed that the glass front panel was no longer held in place by tabs. We were correct. The new tapered edge on the iPad 2 prevents any kind of tabs from being used; instead, Apple engineers used generous helpings of adhesive to keep the front glass in place.

Consequently, the front panel is very difficult to remove — it’s nearly impossible to open the iPad 2 without shattering the glass. We’ll be working hard in the forthcoming weeks to provide a solution to this problem, but for now: please don’t open your iPad 2.

The iPad 2 received a 4 out of 10 repairability score, mainly for the extreme difficulty of accessing anything inside. But if you do manage to get in, you’ll find that all screws are of the Phillips variety, and the LCD can be easily taken out once you separate it from the front panel glass (but separating it from the glass is difficult, of course).

Teardown Highlights:

  • We did a quick glass and LCD thickness comparison:
    • iPad 1: lcd = 3.2 mm glass = .85 mm
    • iPad 2: lcd = 2.4 mm glass = .62 mm
  • The thickness of these components — especially that of the glass — could drastically reduce the durability of the device, especially the glass’ resistance to shattering. We’ll see in due time if the percentage of folks with broken iPad 2 front glass is dramatically different than that of the original iPad.
  • Lifting off the LCD exposes the iPad 2’s battery. We found a 3.8V, 25 watt-hour unit. That’s just a hair more than the original iPad’s 24.8 watt-hours, so any improved battery performance should be attributed to software and other hardware improvements.
  • We confirmed via software that the iPad 2 indeed has 512 MB of RAM.
  • The markings on the 1 GHz Apple A5 dual-core processor appear to be Samsung’s, but Chipworks will investigate in the forthcoming days to find out for sure.
  • Other components that power the iPad 2:
    • Toshiba TH58NVG7D2FLA89 16GB NAND Flash
    • Broadcom BCM5973KFBGH Microcontroller
    • Broadcom BCM5974 CKFBGH capacitative touchscreen controller
    • Texas Instruments CD3240B0 11AZ4JT touchscreen line driver
    • Broadcom BCM43291HKUBC Wi-Fi/Bluetooth/FM tuner combo chip
    • S6T2MLC N33C50V Power Management IC
    • ST Micro AGD8 2103 gyroscope
    • ST Micro LIS331DLH accelerometer
  • There’s also an Apple-branded 338S0940 A0BZ1101 SGP chip. This looks like the Cirrus audio codec Chipworks found in the Verizon iPhone, but they’ll have to get it off the board to make sure!

iPad 2 Teardown In Progress

March 11, 2011 Hardware, Site News, Teardowns — Miro

We’re in the midst of our iPad 2 teardown, and we just got a chance to peek at the innards. Here’s what the inside of the iPad 2 looks like:

We’ll be blogging our findings as soon as the iPad  2 is completely torn apart. But for the time being, you can watch our progress — just refresh the page every once in a while to see all the newest findings.

Nintendo 3DS Teardown

March 3, 2011 Hardware, Site News, Teardowns — Miro

Hot off a plane from Japan comes no other than our very own Nintendo 3DS unit. We wanted to give our 3D friend a thorough shakedown — it seemed fitting, given that its older brethren graced our teardown pages in the past. Exactly how much did that 3D screen change things internally, we wondered… And then we snapped out of it, got a Phillips #00 screwdriver, and wondered no more.

The Nintendo 3DS received a 5 out of 10 repairability score, mainly for the extreme difficulty in accessing the top half of the unit. Everything was coming apart just hunky dory: we removed all the Phillips screws and easily disconnected all the components on the bottom half. But then we tried to access and remove the top display, and the disassembly went awry from there.

To continue the disassembly, we had to separate the hinges and do a bunch of cringe-inducing threading of ribbon cables through the 3DS’ hollow hinges. Even with our super-careful hands, we still managed to break a couple of the ribbon cables. We decided that threading the upper display and camera cables through the tiny hinge tube is something that Nintendo undoubtedly accomplishes with robotic machinery, and should not be attempted by human souls unless they’re willing to potentially destroy their device.

Teardown highlights:

  • The 3DS’ top display produces 3D images through the use of parallax. A layer in the top LCD responds to adjustments in the 3D slider and changes the image slightly between each of the viewer’s eyes. When it is viewed from the recommended distance, the image appears to be 3D.
  • Nintendo is no stranger to 3D gaming, considering its past experience with the ridiculously cool and underrated Virtual Boy. That device used slightly different means to achieve a similar 3D effect.
  • The 3D view *should* work for most people, but one iFixit employee (out of about 10 that tried it) had trouble viewing it. To him the screen looked different, but not 3D.
  • Unlike previous DS consoles, the entire back cover of the 3DS comes off as one piece rather than having a small door to access the battery. This makes for a cleaner look, but also means that replacing the battery will take a little longer.
  • The 3.7V, 1300mAh, 5Wh Li-Ion battery provides a measly 3-5 hours of battery life. Even when playing original DS games, the 3DS lasts only 5-8 hours on a single charge. The battery life is most likely diminished by the reported faster processor, dual LCD elements in the top display (to control the parallax effect), and more hardware intensive programs.
  • With the short battery life in mind, Nintendo ships the 3DS with a charging cradle for convenient charging. According to them, a full charge takes 3.5 hours.
  • We found an interesting little feature of the 3DS by accident while blowing away some dust with canned air: external mics on the 3DS pick up the characteristic noise of wind blowing by the device and spin the live icons in the background of each menu as if they were in a tornado.
  • Nobody is really certain what the infrared port on the 3DS will do just yet, but we’re thinking it’s for some 3DS to 3DS line-of-sight communication. The IR controller IC is manufactured by NXP and has the markings: S750 0803 TSD031C
  • The digitizer on the bottom display is much thicker than those found on most cellphones, most likely due to the fact that the touch display is used with a stylus, rather than a fingertip.
  • Whereas older versions of the DS had four rubber screw covers on the front display bezel, Nintendo opted for a sleeker approach for their new system by adhering a front panel to the bezel to hide the screws.
  • We had to call forth the use of a heat gun and a plastic opening tool in order to gain access to the upper display screws.
  • All three cameras are connected together via one ribbon cable. We’re finding this to be a trend amongst the smaller multiple-camera devices, and it makes sense — the info needs to go to the same place to be processed.
  • It’s official — this is the most camera-laden device we’ve ever taken apart.
Final layout

Final layout

Motorola Xoom Teardown

February 25, 2011 Site News, Teardowns — Kyle Wiens

It’s no secret that Motorola/Verizon set up a convoluted procedure to get your Xoom upgraded to full “4G”* speed: spend X hours backing up your data, optionally encrypt and reset your Xoom, ship it to Motorola, and then wait up to 6 business days to get it back. While this procedure still beats a day at the gulag, we’re quite curious why it has to be so convoluted — especially after we snuck a peek inside our unit.

It looks like the Xoom was specifically designed with this upgrade in mind. We had to fully delve into the device to find all the clues, but we believe this is the procedure Motorola will perform on your behalf:

  1. Use a T5 Torx screwdriver to unscrew two screws on the bottom, and then slide the back panel to expose a mysterious circuit board that immediately becomes accessible. In fact, there are retaining clips on the back of the rear panel that prevent it from sliding any further (which of course we immediately circumvented).
  2. Disconnect two antenna connectors, unscrew the two Torx screws holding the board in place, and swap it out with a 4G LTE board.
  3. And… That’s it. Here is a picture of the dummy board we found in our Xoom, which we believe currently acts as a routing path for the antennas.

A seasoned technician can perform this swap in less than 10 minutes. Heck, a donkey could probably pull it off in less than two hours. We have no idea why a customer couldn’t just go to a Verizon store and have on-site representatives enable 4G on the spot, just like they’re able to transfer mobile contacts and perform other activation procedures.

Aside from the upgrade goofiness, the Xoom is a fine tablet in terms of assembly. Its repairability score was 8 out of 10, with slightly unfavorable marks given for a total of FIFTY-SEVEN screws by our count. That’s a lot for a full-fledged laptop, let alone a 10″ tablet. Yet, those screws (of the T5 and T7 Torx variety) allow just about anyone to take apart the device, but they may have Popeye forearms by the time they’re done. As added bonuses, most components attach via individual cables, and the LCD easily separates from the glass — meaning that part replacement cost shouldn’t be outrageous.

Xoom highlights:

  • A dummy SIM card is included in the Xoom, with the inscription “Replace with SIM only after 4G upgrade.” Verizon’s 4G LTE network requires a SIM card, so not every Verizon device will have 4G. Right now the list of compatible devices is very short: the Motorola Xoom and the still-unreleased HTC Thunderbolt.
  • According to Motorola, the Xoom weighs 730 grams, exactly the same as the iPad 3G — although the Xoom is noticeably thicker.
  • The Xoom features a 5 MP rear camera and a 2 MP front camera. At least for now, Motorola’s got Apple covered in the tablet camera arena. And unlike Motorola’s other recent device, the Atrix, both cameras are connected to the motherboard by separate cables. You won’t have to replace a ton of other stuff if just your camera fails.
  • The 3250 mAh, 24.1 watt-hour lithium ion polymer battery boasts a healthy 10 hours of Wi-Fi browsing and video playback, and a massive 3.3 days of MP3 playback. It’s also just as beastly as an iPad’s battery, taking up a very good chunk of internal real estate.
  • Major players on the motherboard include:
    • Nvidia Tegra T2 dual-core ARM Cortex-A9 CPU and ultra-low power GeForce GPU.
    • Toshiba THGBM2G8D8FBA1B NAND Flash
    • Samsung K4P4G154EC DRAM
    • Qualcomm MDM6600 supporting HSPA+ speeds of up to 14.4 Mbps
    • Broadcom BCM4329 802.11n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 2.1, and FM Tuner
    • Hynix H8BCSOQG0MMR 2-chip memory MCP
    • AKM 8975 Electronic Compass
    • Texas Instruments 54331 Step Down SWIFT DC/DC Converter with Eco-Mode

MacBook Pro 15″ Teardown

February 25, 2011 Site News, Teardowns — Kyle Wiens

The Thunderbolt port — or the “Thunderport,” as we started calling it around iFixit — is the latest evolutionary change from the folks at 1 Infinite Loop. We were super-excited to try out the port itself, but had to first peek at it from the inside.

The Thunderbolt port (we keep wanting to type “Thunderport” — it just feels so natural) has its own controller IC. The IC is quite prominent on the logic board, being the fourth-largest chip after the CPU, GPU, and logic board controller. We’ll have to wait until a company like Chipworks places an SEM on the puppy to see what’s *really* inside, but we believe the chip’s footprint is a testament to the potential of this port.

The MacBook Pro earned a very respectable 7 out of 10 repairability score. This revision allows you to disconnect the battery without removing it from the laptop. It’s a nice design choice since you *should* remove all power before performing any repairs. The unibody design also allows for easy access to most of the other components, so it won’t be terribly hard to replace things on the machine. The only tricky repair is LCD replacement, which could easily result in shattering the front glass panel.

Thundering highlights:

  • You can chain up to six Thunderbolt devices. That’s not a problem today as we’re not even aware of six products that support Thunderbolt yet. But if the connection becomes widespread, the six device limit might be a problem for some people. In comparison, FireWire supports 63 devices and USB supports up to 127 devices.
  • The lower case is secured by Phillips #00 screws, while the battery is secured by Tri-Wing screws — just like the predecessor. Thankfully there were no pesky Pentalobe screws inside or outside. Apple still considers the battery to be not user-replaceable, and we still disagree.
  • This machine boasts the same 77.5 watt-hour battery as the earlier model, but Apple has decreased their run-time estimate from 8-9 hours to 7 hours. Either Apple’s being more realistic with their battery testing, or the new quad-core i7 is more power-hungry than its predecessor.
  • We’re a tad concerned about Apple’s quality control. We found a stripped screw holding the subwoofer enclosure in place, and an unlocked ZIF socket connecting the IR sensor. They’re not huge issues, but they’re not fitting for an $1800 machine.
  • RAM has been upgraded to PC3-10600. That’s the same RAM used in the 2010 revision of the 21.5″ and 27″ iMacs, but faster than earlier MacBook Pros.
  • The wireless card received a make-over and now includes four antennas instead of three. Wireless connectivity is provided by a Broadcom BCM4331 “wireless solution.”
  • The wireless card bracket is aluminum, rather than the plastic found in earlier MacBook Pro revisions. We believe this change was made for thermal reasons, as a pink thermal pad is visible and used to transfer heat from the Broadcom chip to the aluminum bracket.
  • The logic board features four primary chips:
    • Intel i7 Quad-Core Processor
    • AMD Radeon HD 6490M GPU
    • Intel BD82HM65 Platform Controller Hub
    • Intel L051NB32 EFL (which seems to be the Thunderbolt port controller)
  • We uncovered gobs of thermal paste on the CPU and GPU when we removed the main heat sink. The excess paste may cause overheating issues down the road, but only time will tell.
  • This machine is still designated Model A1286. Apple’s been using that same model number since October 2008. That’s why we still need to come up with creative names — such as MacBook Pro 15″ Unibody Early 2011 — in order to differentiate between machines. Thanks Apple!

Samsung Galaxy S 4G Teardown

February 23, 2011 Hardware, Site News, Teardowns — Miro

The Samsung Galaxy S 4G — not to be confused with the Samsung Galaxy S, Galaxy S II, Galaxy Tab, or the Los Angeles Galaxy — is Samsung’s newest smartphone to date. We set out on an interstellar journey to find out just what makes this phone burn from within.

We heard that Samsung used magnesium to create some of the structural components of the Galaxy S 4G. So we lit a part of the phone on fire to verify. It turns out that Samsung tells no lie — their structural framework IS made of magnesium!

Otherwise, the phone is midpack in terms of features as well as repairability (it received a 6 out of 10 score). Contrary to yesterday’s super-repairable Motorola Atrix, the Galaxy S 4G’s LCD is fused to the front panel glass, essentially doubling the repair cost if you drop your phone. You also have to use a heat gun in order to get to the front panel, so it’s not super-easy to perform the repair.

Thankfully a few tidbits redeem the Galaxy S 4G from being utterly unrepairable: swapping out the battery is a cinch, there’s only trusty #00 Phillips screws to deal with, and the phone is generally assembled using connectors that you can carefully disconnect.

Teardown highlights:

  • We found a bummer from the get-go: a fairly noticeable gap between the glass front panel and the outer framework. It’d be less of a concern if a cell phone’s primary home is in the pocket of its user, but we like using our phones.
  • A cool sliding door keeps the micro-USB port lint-free and somewhat redeems the gap between front panel and framework. You can distract your friends with its cool sliding action.
  • Thankfully the rear panel is easily removed, revealing both SIM and microSD card slots, as well as a user-replaceable battery!
  • The 3.7V Li-Ion battery inside the Galaxy S 4G lists a capacity of 6.11 Watt-hours, or 1650 mAh. We’re definitely seeing a trend of increased battery life among the last couple of teardowns. The question is whether that increased capacity will net any increased use time, or if all the extra juice will be sucked up by the phones’ extra processing power.
  • The compact front and rear facing camera assembly has a NEC MC10170 Image Processor cleverly attached right to its ribbon cable.
  • The headphone jack, earpiece speaker, and proximity/ambient light sensors reside on one cable. Seems oddly familiar, given yesterday’s Atrix teardown.
  • Separating the front panel assembly from the rear panel assembly requires loosening the adhesive around the perimeter. That means it’s heat gun time!
  • On the back of the display assembly we found the Atmel mXT 224 touchscreen controller, which provides capacitive multi-touch capabilities. It’s the same controller found in yesterday’s Atrix.
White flash indicates the frame is made of magnesium. Success!

White flash indicates the frame is made of magnesium. Success!

Final layout

Final layout

Motorola Atrix Teardown

February 23, 2011 Hardware, Site News, Teardowns — Miro

The Motorola Atrix is currently the fastest Android phone on the market, packing an impressive assortment of specs: the Nvidia Tegra 2 CPU/GPU, 1GB of RAM, and all the trimmings that one would expect to find in a flagship phone.

But the story doesn’t end there. This is also the most-repairable smartphone we’ve ever taken apart! The Atrix was definitely designed for repairability on the inside, just waiting for our loving hands to disassemble it piece by piece.

After all was said and done, the Atrix received a 9 out of 10 repairability score: there were no proprietary screws, you could replace the battery just by popping off the back cover, and the LCD wasn’t even fused to the front panel glass! Our only gripe was that the two central ribbon cables were soldered to several components (like the cameras and proximity sensors), making the cables costly to replace.

Teardown highlights:

  • The LCD is not glued to the front panel glass — something we haven’t seen in quite a long time. So the ~85% of people who drop their Atrix and shatter just the glass won’t have to spend their money on also replacing a fully functional LCD!
  • The Atrix’ back cover comes off easily, providing access to the user-serviceable battery and the microSD slot. There’s also instructions on the inside of the back cover showing how to remove the battery and reconnect the cover. We applaud Motorola’s drive to help its users with this procedure.
  • We didn’t encounter any VOID stickers or things of that sort while taking apart the Atrix, making it even more repair-friendly.
  • A dual-LED flash flanks the 5 MP camera (which is capable of shooting 720p HD video). A software update to be released soon will reportedly allow for full 1080p video capture.
  • Big players on the front of the board include:
    • Elpida B8132B1PB. According to Chipworks, the Elpida contains 1 GB DDR2 RAM, but also covers the Nvidia Tegra 2 CPU/GPU residing underneath the package.
    • Qualcomm MDM6200 supporting HSPA+ up to 14.4 Mbps
    • Toshiba 16GB NAND Flash
    • Hynix H8BCSOQG0MMR 2-chip memory MCP
  • Two ribbon cables to rule them all: the first cable connects to the front camera, earpiece speaker, power button assembly, and top microphone; the second attaches the rear camera, proximity sensor, ambient light sensor, pressure contacts for the headphone jack, and side volume buttons together. So you’ll have to replace ALL the components attached to that cable if just a single component fails.
  • What a decade can do for cables. We pulled a Parallel ATA cable from an old Dell PC and compared it to one of the Atrix ribbon cables. The PATA cable is 0.66 mm thick, while Atrix’ camera cable measures just 0.17 mm! And they’re routing several components through the same cable!
Final layout

Final layout

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