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Apple iPhone Dissected 338

Posted by CowboyNeal
from the better-them-than-you dept.
Conch writes "Only hours after the launch, the Apple iPhone has been dissected. The good folks at AnandTech violated one of the first iPhones to still our curiosity about whats inside the aluminum shell. 'Please note that we're doing this so you are not tempted to on your recent $500/$600 expenditure, while it is quite possible to take apart using easy to find tools we'd recommend against it as it will undoubtedly void your warranty and will most likely mar up the beautiful gadget's exterior.'"
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Apple iPhone Dissected

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  • What's that? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Whiney Mac Fanboy (963289) * <whineymacfanboy@gmail.com> on Saturday June 30, 2007 @08:33AM (#19698759) Homepage Journal
    That noise - as if millions of fanbois suddenly cried out in shock and were suddenly silenced. I fear something terrible has happened....

    Joke's aside - the thing I really noted from TFA was:

    The big yellow thing in the middle is the iPhone battery; you're definitely not replacing this thing on your own
    More planned obsolescence. Pity. I'd like to see Apple go a little greener. A non-user replaceable battery limits the life of a device substantially.
  • by Eternauta3k (680157) on Saturday June 30, 2007 @08:33AM (#19698763) Homepage Journal

    Can they please go back to making computers now?
    More profit in making gadgets & iPods?
  • Can they please go back to making computers now?

    No [engadget.com]
  • Re:Wow (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Rosco P. Coltrane (209368) on Saturday June 30, 2007 @08:39AM (#19698789)
    Obviously you can't change the battery yourself, but from those pictures it looks like even Apple couldn't change it. That can't be so, can it?

    You know, I have the feeling people who buy high-tech, flashy gadgetry such as the iPhone aren't likely to invest in it for the long term, with a value-for-money approach to buying and owning the product. The battery will probably last long enough for the owner to have another "oh shiny!" purchasing moment and relegate his iPhone to the bottom of some drawer...
  • SIM (Score:3, Insightful)

    by wikinerd (809585) on Saturday June 30, 2007 @08:49AM (#19698815) Journal
    Here in Europe in most cases we can change the SIM easily. Why not in the US?
  • by Cordath (581672) on Saturday June 30, 2007 @08:52AM (#19698827)
    Have you ever changed the battery in an iPod? It's possible, but a royal nuisance. Anyone who has done so probably realizes that Apple never really intended it to be possible. With the iPhone they've taken it a step further by soldering the battery directly to the board. I think that says it all. The only question is whether or not the battery will live up to daily use long enough to last out the contracts people are signing themselves into.

    From the pictures on anandtech, it appears that the iPhone uses a Li-poly battery. That's an interesting choice, but a concerning one. Those typically do not last for as many charges as a plain old lithium ion battery. Apple is probably counting on the fact that the people who will lay out the kind of money the iPhone costs are the sort who won't try to nurse a device on for years, but rather, are the sort that will bin said device as soon as the next greatest thing (Hopefully the next generation of iPhone) comes along.

    I suppose in this light it's not really planned obsolescence. Apple just built the iPhone to the minimum specs of the fickle trendy gadget crowd.
  • Re:Wow (Score:3, Insightful)

    by itsdapead (734413) on Saturday June 30, 2007 @09:15AM (#19698925)

    Obviously you can't change the battery yourself, but from those pictures it looks like even Apple couldn't change it. That can't be so, can it?

    Welcome to the scorched Earth.

    Lots of people habitually upgrade their phone every time they upgrade their contract - OK that's with free or heavily subsidised phones that don't cost $500 with a contract - but rest assured, those guys who queued all day yesterday are not going to be seen dead using a first-generation iPhone in two year's time. These are the customers that will be paying Steve's mortgage, not the ones still using their 5-year-old handset, so why waste money designing a phone to last more that 2 years?

    Plus, it doesn't half make that $70 AppleCare protection plan look attractive.

    Having said that, I'm sure Apple service agents will be able to replace the battery (...a purpose designed case-opening tool and a supply of replacement back covers would make it rather easier) - and from Apple's POV a battery hatch, contacts and additional casing will cost a few cents more, might add a millimetre to the thickness and would be something else to break, go wrong or get replaced by a cookie by someone's sprog. Its not like the iPod flopped because of a non-removable battery.

    (PS - I'm not saying I like the idea)

  • Re:What's that? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday June 30, 2007 @09:23AM (#19698969)
    More planned obsolescence. Pity. I'd like to see Apple go a little greener. A non-user replaceable battery limits the life of a device substantially.

    I've had three mobile phones in my life, each of them for about 4 years. I have never replaced a battery in any of them.

    Granted, at the end of the 4 years I might need to charge them every three days instead of every five, but that's not a problem for me. And by the time I get rid of the phone it's usually because it has failed in general - broken clamshell joint or broken charger connection, for example.

    Most likely Apple has made the battery non-replacable because they have better uses for the space required for a replacable battery; and because user replacement of batteries is a fairly unusual thing.

    Just my $0.02
  • by Thumper_SVX (239525) on Saturday June 30, 2007 @09:25AM (#19698977) Homepage
    I'm not an EE guru, but it seems to me the reason for discreet chips in a lot of these devices actually serves several purposes.

    Firstly, data speeds between chips might not match; something that's a lot easier to engineer into discreet chips than a single chip with everything on board.

    Secondly, it gives the manufacturer the freedom to switch out components at will. If you dismantle anything from a large embedded device manufacturer, you might find that a single "generation" of a product might go through several iterations of chips simply because the manufacturer was able to source chips from different chip manufacturers for better prices.

    Hell, I know I've seen a number of devices of supposedly the same generation that have had four or five iterations of motherboard and probably more of the chips themselves. Don't kid yourself; manufacturers of these devices are all about maximizing profits, and they do that by keeping their product lines "nimble"

    Third, and as an aside to the second point; fabbing a custom chip is expensive, in time, resources and cost. Most manufacturers will use off the shelf components where possible so that they can keep the costs down. Custom chips tend to be fabbed only where off the shelf solutions don't exist or fail to meet some other engineering goal. The custom chips shown in the iPhone are a prime example of this. Although we don't know for sure what's inside that ARM package (the part numbers seem incongruous), we can guess that they did combine multiple discreet components into that chip package. In the case of the iPhone this was probably done to meet the packaging requirements of the entire device; i.e. Apple wanted a slim and compact device and discreet chips may have taken more space than the engineering team wanted.

    However, the fact that there are several off the shelf chips on the board as well tells me that they were balancing cost and engineering requirements... this almost certainly took a lot of time and it's a nicely engineered solution. I look forward to version 2... which is when I might consider buying one (sorry, tethering and 3G are a big deal for me as I use them daily).
  • by MightyYar (622222) on Saturday June 30, 2007 @09:31AM (#19698995)
    The unwashed masses have Paris Hilton, we geeks have the iPhone...

    Still, I'd like one of the editors here to take the attitude toward the iPhone that Mika Brzezinski [youtube.com] has towards Paris. This video is quite funny, she was really mad!

    Back to Slashdot - you realize you made the problem worse by clicking on and replying to this story? If the editors are looking at what types of stories lead to more clicks, you've just "voted"! :)
  • Re:Wow (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Gothmolly (148874) on Saturday June 30, 2007 @09:31AM (#19699003)
    No, they're still using the Mac that their parents bought them when they lived in the basement. The reason that they don't have any money is that they're too busy updating their blogs, and buying emo music, thick-rimmed glasses, and 1970s Tshirts.
  • by kestasjk (933987) on Saturday June 30, 2007 @10:03AM (#19699161) Homepage
    I love reading peoples opinions all the more when they're given in a sentence that starts with "Newsflash".
  • Re:Wow (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday June 30, 2007 @10:26AM (#19699279)
    Same tired old FUD.
    "You can't change an iPod battery"
    So what? (never mind that you can, for the moment).
    My iPod went THREE YEARS before its battery died.
    Three years in consumer electronics is longer than "dog years".
    Do you honestly think that everyone buying an iPhone today will find it up-to-speed in three years?
    Hell, I can't even buy a $2500 COMPUTER that can keep pace with technology that long.
    "What if my battery goes dead while I'm using it. I can't pop in a fresh one".
    I have never, ever, in a decade of cell ownership, found myself in a position where I was out of range of a charger for more the 3-4 days needed to recharge my battery.
    I have never, ever even owned a second battery.
    Guess what? In an informal poll of my co-workers, not a single one of them said that they've ever needed, nor have ever owned, a second battery for their phones, either.
    Trust me, there isn't anyone outside of the rabid Anti-Apple crowd that doesn't find this argument to be old and tired, so give it a rest.
    (For the record, I'm a field service technician. I work on the road, and exclusively on-site for my company's customers. I am the g-d DEFINITION of a Road Warrior)
  • by filterban (916724) on Saturday June 30, 2007 @10:36AM (#19699335) Homepage Journal
    Q: Name one smartphone that can effectively be used with one hand.

    A: You can't. They all have this same characteristic - whether it's a stylus (Treo) or a Crackberry, they all require two hands for effective operation.
  • by DarkVader (121278) on Saturday June 30, 2007 @11:37AM (#19699723)
    So it takes a soldering iron to change the battery. That's not exactly making it a challenge for most people on Slashdot, right?

    And it's not like we're going to have any real trouble sourcing a battery either, all the usual iPod battery suppliers will have them.

    I'm really not sure why people keep whining about the battery thing. That's really the least of the iPhone's problems as far as I'm concerned.

    My list of why I won't buy one now, and maybe not ever:

    1. I don't know if it will tether. If it won't, dealbreaker.
    2. EDGE - I have an EDGE phone now. It's too slow. If 802.11 worked where I needed my phone to access the internet, I wouldn't need my phone to access the internet.
    3. Javascript is not an SDK.
    4. Not enough storage capacity to be useful as an iPod. I wouldn't mind at all having a hard drive in my phone, I want 80GB, not 8.
    5. I don't do 2 year contracts.
    6. This thing is useless without activation. If I decide I don't want Cingular, it's not even an ipod, it's a doorstop.

    I don't hate Apple, I make Apple computers work for a living. I'm typing this on an iBook. But it looks like my next phone will probably be a RAZR v3xx, not an iPhone. And if the iPhone would do what I want, I'd be all over it.
  • by Dun Malg (230075) on Saturday June 30, 2007 @11:41AM (#19699751) Homepage

    I suppose in this light it's not really planned obsolescence. Apple just built the iPhone to the minimum specs of the fickle trendy gadget crowd.
    No, it's planned obsolescence whether the majority are going to chuck it before it dies or not. The fact remains that it was built with a short lifetime in mind, and you simply do not have the option of using it beyond that short lifetime without resorting to drastic measures.
  • by Jeremy_Bee (1064620) on Saturday June 30, 2007 @11:51AM (#19699807)

    More planned obsolescence. Pity. I'd like to see Apple go a little greener. A non-user replaceable battery limits the life of a device substantially.
    The Apple strategy with non-replaceable batteries could actually be considered the greener option.

    I still have a pile of the various PDA's and cell phones I have had over the years. Most used undersized batteries that reduced the initial cost of the unit (even though most cost about the same as today's iPhone), but also didn't last. This required me to purchase new batteries, extra batteries, and bigger, add-on batteries and battery packs. All of these batteries are in the same pile, waiting for me to find appropriate green disposal (some day).

    I would argue that most people eventually just chuck these things away and that they end up in a landfill somewhere. Also the fact that the batteries are generally crap means that the average user goes through more batteries for a non-Apple "replaceable battery" product than they do for the Apple product.

    The fact that Apple offers a low-cost, no-hassle, battery replacement option means that the majority of iPod and now iPhone), battery replacements happen through Apple instead of the consumer, and thus the batteries all get properly recycled instead of just being dumped. The main cause of battery pollution from iPods for instance is whatever portion of the populace that does not return them to Apple for replacement or recycling and just chucks the item away when it's dead. That is the consumer's fault, not Apple's.

    The only thing that could be done better is that Apple could take back the old iPods so as to alleviate even the worst acts of the consumers of their products. They already do this in a limited way and have announced recently a goal of doing a take-back on every product they make.

    How much more green could they possibly be right now?

  • Re:Wow (Score:3, Insightful)

    by ivan256 (17499) on Saturday June 30, 2007 @11:52AM (#19699821)

    Having said that, I'm sure Apple service agents will be able to replace the battery (...a purpose designed case-opening tool and a supply of replacement back covers would make it rather easier)


    From seeing the Think Secret pictures, I agree. A special tool for removing the bottom half of the back, four screws, and a soldering iron and you're in. You probably don't even have to send it back to Apple. I've seen in-store cell phone repair techs perform more complex operations than that.

    It wasn't too long ago when those types of electronics repairs were common, but today's typical geek can't remember back far enough to the times when nothing inside your PC was socketed/slotted, and every repair required solder; and when every town had a radio & television repair shop with tube testers and a permanent smell of flux inside.
  • Re:Wow (Score:3, Insightful)

    by dAzED1 (33635) <brianlamere&yahoo,com> on Saturday June 30, 2007 @12:04PM (#19699921) Homepage Journal
    Hell, I can't even buy a $2500 COMPUTER that can keep pace with technology that long.

    I know you wrote that as bait for the kind of response that I'm going to give, but...I'm going to give it anyway.

    I'm in the top 5% of incomes in the US (meaning, it wasn't because I couldn't afford a replacement), yet my main computer from 1999-2006 was a $900 laptop. The only reason I dumped it was because the internal power board (the one with the jack for the power supply, and the one that handled charging the battery) smoked one day while I was using it, and well...wasn't going to be able to find a replacement part for it. Esp since my battery (probably related, natch) hadn't been charging for about 6 months anyway, which meant I needed a new battery too. Was finally time to retire it.

    So, I spent another $1100, and my new laptop will likely last me not quite as long, but certainly at least double the lifespan of the iPhone battery.

    You may want to rethink what it is you are trying to keep up with.
  • Re:The software (Score:5, Insightful)

    by quickbrownfox (900989) on Saturday June 30, 2007 @12:33PM (#19700117)

    I haven't yet worked out whether the iPhone will be a big success or a massive flop. What I do know though is that it will only be bought by people who buy based on hype rather than featureset. So the equation comes down to how many Apple fanboys are there with buckets of cash who will buy something purely because Apple tells them to.
    So I guess the revolutionary interface doesn't count as a "feature"? I saw several women and teens in line at my local Apple store - not your typical Apple fanboys. I think these people respond to the iPhone because Apple designed it for them. They didn't design it for you. Just ignore it if you don't want one, but don't accuse the people who are interested in it of being gullible simpletons. Apple has built their reputation on simple, elegant, intuitive interface design. And, whether you care about it or not, that is an important feature to a lot of people.
  • by joto (134244) on Saturday June 30, 2007 @02:16PM (#19700675)

    My list of why I won't buy one now, and maybe not ever:

    Here is mine:

    1. I already have a phone
    2. My phone is not broken yet
    3. My phone doesn't look like it's going to break soon
    4. Even if I needed a new phone, I'm not convinced it would be my first choice
    5. You can't currently buy the iPhone in Norway
  • Re:What's that? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by SageMusings (463344) on Saturday June 30, 2007 @07:48PM (#19702443) Journal
    Which makes me ask this question:

    If the iPhone is unsubsidized and costs $500+, why does AT&T demand a 2-year contract? Wouldn't that be more palatable if the carrier was fronting some of the cost?

    I can't wait for the day when contracts for cell phones go away. Can you imagine your local carrier for your land line telling you they required a 2-year contract before you could switch long-distance carriers? If I do *anything* with my Verizon phone, it comes with a demand for a new contract. Where is consumer protection?
  • by pimpimpim (811140) on Sunday July 01, 2007 @03:41PM (#19709561)
    Removing the battery is still the best way to reboot your phone in case it gets stuck. Just tell me what to do with the iPhone. Or will it, in contrast to any electronic device in the world, never get stuck?

What ever you want is going to cost a little more than it is worth. -- The Second Law Of Thermodynamics

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