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Teardown: Inside Apple's iPhone 5
9/28/2012

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The iPhone 5 dissected. Click through the slideshow to see how we got here.
The iPhone 5 dissected. Click through the slideshow to see how we got here.

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Beth Stackpole
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Blogger
Sleek and stylish, but maybe too slim?
Beth Stackpole   9/28/2012 7:18:38 AM
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Kind of sad seeing a thing of great design beauty laid out in pieces like that ... but very interesting all the same. I haven't seen the iPhone 5.0 yet in person, but as a user of the iPhone 4 (pre Siri), I think the larger screen would be cool. I recently saw the Samsung Galaxy phone in person and that much larger screen is appealing, but I still contend the phone is not as well designed from an aesthetic standpoint as the iPhone.

On the downside of this new redesign, I've heard a lot of people saying the sleeker footprint is almost too minimalist (feels too slim, somewhat cheap). There are also a lot of complaints about the new adapter design since it means all those extra chargers, accessories, etc. won't work with the new model (unless of course you buy an adapter for your adapter--in true Apple fashion). Despite all of this, I still want one!!

naperlou
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Blogger
Re: Sleek and stylish, but maybe too slim?
naperlou   9/28/2012 11:39:25 AM
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Beth, one thing to remember is that the phone started out as a bunch of pieces.  Sort of like from dust to dust.

Frankly, I wouldn't mind a phone the thickness of a credit card.  Slim is in for me.

NadineJ
User Rank
Platinum
Re: Sleek and stylish, but maybe too slim?
NadineJ   9/28/2012 11:47:39 AM
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I love tear-downs.  It's like being a kid again...peeling it like a banana!

It would be great if something like this showed up in a commercial WHEN (hopefully not IF) consumer electronics become easy to recycle.  Many consumers are interested in repairing or even upgrading components on their own. 

This is inspiring!

Scott Orlosky
User Rank
Platinum
Re: Sleek and stylish, but maybe too slim?
Scott Orlosky   9/29/2012 2:49:38 PM
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Thanks for your comment Nadine.  I had the same reaction.  I used to enjoy tearing apart just about anything when I was a kid just to understand how it worked.  Nice to see that you can be a grown up and do the same thing for a living!

KSmith
User Rank
Iron
Re: Sleek and stylish, but maybe too slim?
KSmith   10/1/2012 10:16:50 AM
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Beyond thin, flexible seems to be an even better progression!

tom_m
User Rank
Iron
Re: Sleek and stylish, but maybe too slim?
tom_m   10/1/2012 9:30:55 AM
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What bothers me most about Apple's designs is the non-standardized connectors. I was briefly enthusiastic about the Apple iPhone 5, until I realised that the micro USB looking connector was not in fact a USB micro at all. Most everything today is using standard USB (typically micro). To me this is a gross waste of resources since you can't reuse old connectors without some converter or just discard the old. I feel like they won't "conform" to "industry standards" just to be contrary and different.

Dave
User Rank
Gold
Re: Sleek and stylish, but maybe too slim?
Dave   10/1/2012 12:06:58 PM
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 I agree, Tom. Often, the change or exclusion comes at expense to the customer's usability of the phone. As an example, my phone has a replaceable battery. On long trips, I bring a 3-pack of batteries and swap one in (within seconds) as needed. A charger and 3-pack of batteries cost me about $15. For some reason, Apple decided that we don't need replaceble batteries. I guess they believe that most people will simply upgrade their iPhone, rather than go through the hassle of having the battery replaced at the Apple store.

tekochip
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Platinum
Largest Component
tekochip   9/28/2012 10:09:28 AM
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It's amazing to me to have a device with that much computing power, and the largest component is the battery.

Beth Stackpole
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Blogger
Re: Largest Component
Beth Stackpole   9/28/2012 12:10:13 PM
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The size of the battery is pretty crazy. But these phones actually have pretty long battery lives, which becomes increasingly important when you are constantly engaging the device for email/texts/web surfing/apps etc.

gsmith120
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Platinum
Re: Largest Component
gsmith120   9/28/2012 3:07:48 PM
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It is so funny to look at the iPhone 5 and compare it to cell phone of years ago.  I remember my police friend's cell phone was in some kind of bag it was huge.  I don't have an iPhone but hear they are nice.  Maybe one day I will come into this century. 

Tim
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Platinum
Re: Largest Component
Tim   9/28/2012 8:54:50 PM
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I went to my IS department to get a new company cell phone to replace a previously issued flip phone that had a malfunctioning screen.  In replacement, he handed me circa 1980 brick phone and said that it was a recently turned in and worked fine.  I learned at that point that it is important to be nice to the IS employess as they control how you communicate.

Beth Stackpole
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Largest Component
Beth Stackpole   10/1/2012 7:20:04 AM
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@Tim: I find it interesting that your IT department handed you a corporate issued cell phone at all. Increasingly, companies are finding that employees want a phone of their choice and in particular their own personal phone to use at work. Therefore, instead of an outdated corporate "brick," they're typically issued some sort of reimbursement plan that covers the phone and a portion of their data coverage monthly.

Charles Murray
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Blogger
Re: Largest Component
Charles Murray   10/2/2012 5:12:42 PM
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Interesting post, gsmith120. I don't have an iPhone, either, and have often felt that I'm stuck in the 1990s. I would love to see a survey asking engineers if they own an iPhone. I suspect the percentages would be fairly low. iPhones are seldom a necessity and engineers tend to be very pragmatic people.

Tool_maker
User Rank
Platinum
Re: Largest Component
Tool_maker   10/3/2012 1:12:53 PM
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Charles: I do not have an I-Phone either and I am really a Neanderthal because I do not want one. Not only that, but I resent the intrusions smart phones have made in my life. For example: I have been engaged in a conversation with someone when their phone sounded the text signal. Without a thought, the text is responded to and I am standing there feeling invisible. I just turn and walk away. Or someone thinks those little postage stamp images are a substitute for a regular photograph.

I have even had other engineers try to show or explain problems while pointing to one of those stupid little devices. "See that?" "Well maybe if I was looking straight on, had my glasses on and saw something else to get a size perspective." My kids tell me I need to learn how to text and I tell them if it is important, call me. That's another thing that gripes my psyche. How is it okay to carry on a conversation that excludes everyone you are with? Text, text, text. Read and laugh. Text,text text. Read and exclaim, "Oh no!" Text, text, text- I am gone, come find me when you finish.

I have a cell phone. It makes and receives calls, displays last calls dialed and received, fits in my pocket, and has storage for other numbers. That is all I need and all I want. To those who need internet connection 24/7 and feel the need to take your library and music collection with you where ever you go, I am sure there is a crying need to own the latest and greatest so celebrate the innovation. I just do not get it.

Charles Murray
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Blogger
Re: Largest Component
Charles Murray   10/3/2012 7:06:28 PM
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Hallelujah! I'm glad someone finally said it. I couldn't agree more, tool_maker.

Charles Murray
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Largest Component
Charles Murray   9/28/2012 4:53:12 PM
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I agree, Beth. That's one small battery. It shows how far lithium-ion has come in the last ten years.

ChasChas
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Platinum
A Glimpse of the Future
ChasChas   10/1/2012 1:57:38 PM
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In the future, we know the screen and the battery will go away. (There is "projection holograms" and induced energy on the way.) Input will be voice, touch, and thought. The tiny "phone" (personal DoBox) disappears into a pocket someplace.

People will talk, gesture, type, and stare into their personal middle distance that no else can see.

 

Bob Salter
User Rank
Iron
Re: A Glimpse of the Future
Bob Salter   10/1/2012 2:42:10 PM
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MBA question: Where does the revenue come from? 

From the text,

$/Iphone = 150 X10^9/100 X 10^6 = 1.5 X 10^3 = $ 1500 per Iphone.

How much does an Iphone cost?  Does the cell phone service provider pay a kickback to Apple?

 

 

 

Chuck_IAG
User Rank
Platinum
Re: A Glimpse of the Future
Chuck_IAG   10/2/2012 3:11:02 PM
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The purchase price for the iphone is around $600-$700.  In the US the difference between how much the buyer pays and how much the phone actually costs initially is made up by the cell carrier, i.e ATT, T-Mobile etc.  They get it back from the end user by charging way more for monthly cell service than the service actually costs the provider, and locking the customer in for a 2-year contract to ensure they recoup the initial expense. Here the initial cost is easier to handle so buyers are sucked into the 2-year commitment, but the monthly cost is heftier.  In other countries they charge upfront for the full retail cost of the phone but monthly cell service is cheaper.  In any case, somebody (the consumer) is paying in full for the phone.

Chuck_IAG
User Rank
Platinum
Re: A Glimpse of the Future
Chuck_IAG   10/2/2012 3:16:00 PM
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"People will talk, gesture, type, and stare into their personal middle distance that no else can see."  Walking off the sidewalk and in front of the bus.

Dave
User Rank
Gold
Smart phones can be VERY handy.
Dave   10/5/2012 10:09:07 AM
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However, Charles and Tool maker, you don't need an expensive iPhone to reap the true efficiencies of a smart phone. Case-in-point: You can get an HTC Radar from T-mobile for $0 with 2 year plan. It has 95% of everything the latest iPhone has and in some cases, a bit more. A 200 MB data plan is $10/month and that is plenty for most of us who don't surf the internet all day. Having unlimited text is unnecessary, so forget that extra $20.

 

 Okay, why is this phone efficient? Because it sycs perfectly to Outlook, so you can receive meeting notices or important email messages while you're out on the floor. And those Excel spreadsheets that you use all the time? They are right there at your fingertips - no laptop or tablet required.

 

  Do you ever need to do conversions? There are lots of conversion apps and yes, even for Windows phones, which come from the factory with Word, Excel, and Powerpoint to go with Outlook. Some other handy apps include:

 

Pocket translator: very handy for traveling where English is not spoken.

 

Flashlight: I use this every time I enter a room where the ligh switches are not near the door.

 

Pocket level: Very handy when setting up some fixtures out on the floor.

 

Maps: I use this feature almost every day to see where a company, store or person's address is. (includes turn by turn voice instructions)

 

Do you read any trade magazine articles? Bing's built in scanner will send you right to a video and full-blown article in the blink of an eye. So no, you don't need an expensive iPhone with $35 data plan. There are many alternatives with Microsoft phones representing the best value out there at this time. After all, how can you beat free?

 

 

Tool_maker
User Rank
Platinum
Re: Smart phones can be VERY handy.
Tool_maker   10/11/2012 4:18:38 PM
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 I am not trying to be confrontational, but I really do not care if my phone does all of that stuff. Price is not a real issue. All I want is a phone that makes and receives calls. I despise spread sheets as tools of the devil made to confuse those who disagree. I prefer reading magazines in print form and the only conversions I ever need involve 25.4 coming or going. But I am happy for you that you found what you want for free.

Stuart21
User Rank
Silver
Re: Smart phones can be VERY handy.
Stuart21   1/15/2013 10:56:44 AM
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Well then, just buy a phone that makes & receives calls. 

I am very happy to have a phone that with a free (or 99 cents) app last week helped me fix the compressed air system in my factory, finding 5 otherwise inaudible leaks, so now my compressor runs half the time it used to. 

Phone helps me find where I want to go, lets me enjoy such stimulating discussions & video as TED.com, helps me find stars, Subway sandwiches and much much more. Lets me watch if the taxi driver is taking me for a ride (literally), takes pictures, lets me record conversations for later reminders, ect ect., 

Oh, and the BBC.

Have fun chatting to granma.

P.S. I AM NOT anti granmas.

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