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HolidayBuyer's Guide

iPhone 3G S

Get the screw driver

Suction

The seven

Connections

Disconnect one

Two

Three

Camera comparison

Two halves

LCD

Digitizer

No cracks

Do not remove

Single PCB

Main circuit board

Back of main PCB

Battery life

Battery closeup

Video recording

Voice recognition

Needs work

All taken apart

The latest, greatest Apple iPhone has been released and our sister site TechRepublic just had to crack it open. With the help of their friends over at iFixit, they take a look at what makes the Apple iPhone 3GS tick.

Follow along as iFixit engineers disassemble the iPhone 3GS. (iFixit is a one-stop-shop for the parts, tools, and repair manuals needed to fix iPods, iPhones, Macs, and more. Their goal is to make it easy for anyone to repair their Apple hardware.)

Caption by CNET Reviews staff / Photo by CBS Interactive
The original iPhone was very difficult to open, but we expect the 3GS (like the 3G) to be quite serviceable. There are still two visible screws on the bottom of the phone, which is a good sign for easy opening. Remove the two bottom screws with a Phillips #00 screwdriver.
Caption by CNET Reviews staff / Photo by iFixit, used by permission
A small suction cup is your friend. A large suction cup may also be a fun toy.
Caption by CNET Reviews staff / Photo by iFixit, used by permission
There are seven numbered connectors on the 3GS, up from six on the 3G. Connector number seven is in the lower right corner, just above the dock connector.
Caption by CNET Reviews staff / Photo by iFixit, used by permission
Caption by CNET Reviews staff / Photo by iFixit, used by permission

There are three cables holding the LCD and digitizer to the rest of the logic board. Disconnecting them is as easy as 1-2-3.

• 1: LCD panel
• 2: Digitizer
• 3: Ear speaker
Caption by CNET Reviews staff / Photo by iFixit, used by permission
Two...
Caption by CNET Reviews staff / Photo by iFixit, used by permission
...And three.
Caption by CNET Reviews staff / Photo by iFixit, used by permission

We're looking forward to the improved 3-megapixel camera on the 3G S. According to our good friend Richard Lai, "Camera quality is much improved from the 3G one, close-up shots were possible down to about 5cm, brightness adjusts well when picking focus area." We've seen some pretty impressive shots already.

Fortunately, as in both the original and 3G iPhones, the camera's a separate component, so removal is possible if necessary for security purposes.

The left photo is from the iPhone 3G, the right photo is from the iPhone 3GS.

Caption by CNET Reviews staff / Photo by iFixit, used by permission
Here are the two halves. All the chips on the logic board are hidden beneath two large EMI shields. We'll have those removed in just a bit.
Caption by CNET Reviews staff / Photo by iFixit, used by permission
Just like the iPhone 3G, the LCD is pretty easy to replace. After removing 7 screws, the LCD simply lifts out.
Caption by CNET Reviews staff / Photo by iFixit, used by permission
On the iPhone 3G, we see a lot more cracked digitizers than cracked LCDs. Replacing the digitizer is a little more work, and requires breaking out a heat gun or hair dryer.
Caption by CNET Reviews staff / Photo by iFixit, used by permission
No cracks.
Caption by CNET Reviews staff / Photo by iFixit, used by permission
Here's the fabled "Do not remove" sticker. It didn't stop us last year, and it's certainly not going to stop us this year.
Caption by CNET Reviews staff / Photo by iFixit, used by permission
Removing the logic board. As with the 3G, there is a single large PCB with all components.
Caption by CNET Reviews staff / Photo by iFixit, used by permission

The main logic board. There's a lot packed in here.

The Apple-logo chip is the primary Samsung ARM processor.

The 16 gigabytes of Toshiba flash are now on the front of the board, just below the Samsung ARM.

Caption by CNET Reviews staff / Photo by iFixit, used by permission
The other side of the logic board. You can see the battery contact pads in the lower right corner. Apple was again kind enough to not solder the battery to the logic board.
Caption by CNET Reviews staff / Photo by iFixit, used by permission
Apple promises improved battery life with the 3GS. The battery is listed as 3.7V and 4.51 Whr. This comes out to 1219 mAh, compared to 1150 mAh on the 3G. That's only a 6 percent increase.
Caption by CNET Reviews staff / Photo by iFixit, used by permission
Battery closeup.
Caption by CNET Reviews staff / Photo by iFixit, used by permission
Video recording is a long-overdue feature of the iPhone 3GS. The 3GS records video at 640x480 resolution and 30 fps. The video recording quality appears acceptable, although not exceptional.
Caption by CNET Reviews staff / Photo by iFixit, used by permission
The 3G S offers voice control. We're not sure yet why this feature couldn't be added via software to earlier iPhones. Perhaps the voice recognition requires a better microphone than in earlier iPhones or a lot of processing power, or maybe Apple just wanted to differentiate the 3GS.
Caption by CNET Reviews staff / Photo by iFixit, used by permission
According to Richard Lai, the "Chinese (Cantonese) voice control works, but took a while to work out the magic words as there is no guide released yet (not out in Hong Kong until early July)."
Caption by CNET Reviews staff / Photo by iFixit, used by permission
Here are all the parts, taken apart.
Caption by CNET Reviews staff / Photo by iFixit, used by permission
Updated:
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