Cracking Open: Cracking Open the Apple iPhone 5
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Cracking Open: Cracking Open the Apple iPhone 5

4:22 /

Bill Detwiler cracks open the iPhone 5 and shows you how the redesigned case and interior make it easier to disassemble and repair.

-Not only does the iPhone 5 have a more powerful processor, larger screen and brand new connector. It's redesigned case and interior make it easier to disassemble and repair. I'm Bill Detwiler and we're going inside the iPhone 5 on this episode of Cracking Open. It may have the same general shape as its predecessor but the iPhone 5 is taller, thinner and lighter. Apple also repositioned the front camera, moved the headphone jack and replaced the traditional 30 pin docking connector with the new lightning connector. What has it changed are the positioned of the home button, power button, ring, silent switch, volume buttons, speakers and case screws. And this is where our tear down begins. Using a special pentalobe screw driver, remove the 2 screws along the button edge and then using a sucking cup, lift up on the front panel and display assembly from the bottom. I'm really glad Apple went with this case design. It makes opening the phone and replacing a crack screen much easier than on the iPhone 4 or 4S. Now before removing the front panel completely, you'll need to detach the connectors located along the top edge. We now have our first look inside the iPhone 5. The overall hardware layout is the same as on the iPhone 4 and 4S. There's a speaker and docking connecter assembly at the bottom, battery along the left side, motherboard along the right and the cameras at the top. Now if you're wondering why everything looks backwards and dis-comparison, remember that on the iPhone 4 and 4S, you access the interior from the back, while on the iPhone 5, you go in through the front. Disassembling the iPhone 5 starts with disconnecting and removing the battery. Next, we'll remove several metal spring contacts that are locating around the phone. Now, take care not to break them during removal and note each contact's location so you'll be able to put them back in the right place. Now you should also avoid touching them with your hands, this will help to keep them clean. After detaching the remaining motherboard connectors and removing a few more screws and standoffs, we can lift out the motherboard. With the motherboard removed, we can also detach the rear camera. Now, unfortunately, the EMI RFI shields that cover the iPhone 5's motherboard are soldered in place. Now, as I want to put this phone back together in working order, I'm going to leave them where they are. Luckily, my friends over at iFixit did remove the shields, giving us a good look at the new A6 app and LTE modem. Turning our attention back to the case, we found the vibration motor at the top. The speaker, headphone and lightning connector assembly at the bottom. Front panel clips along the sides and antenna and connector wires running all over. Now most of these components are held with the case with both screws and adhesive, if any of these components were damaged, removing and replacing them wouldn't be difficult. But I don't want to risk damaging them during the removal, so I'm going to leave them in place. Looking at the front panel assembly, there are also examples of how the iPhone 5 is easier to repair than its predecessors. First, the home button is attached to the panel with screws. Now, this makes it easy to replace a broken button same with the ear piece speaker. Lastly, the front panel and LCD are fused together. Now, in the past, I've complained to this construction technique as it means when one component breaks, you must replace both, making the fix a bit more expensive but haven't spent way too much time, try to remove stray pieces of dust from between the front panel and the LCD screen, I've changed my mind. Even without taking it apart, there's a lot to like about the new iPhone 5, a bigger screen, faster processor, LTE support and a thinner lighter design. The fact that it's also easier to crack open and repair is just icing on the cake. Now for a complete list of specs, pricing and real world performance test, check out Scott Stein's full CNET Review and to see more tear down photos and read my full hardware analysis, go to techrepublic.com/crackingopen. I'm Bill Detwiler and thanks for watching.

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