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Photos: Cracking open the iPhone 3G S

We take apart the newest addition to the iPhone family to see what makes it tick.

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CNET Reviews staff
1 of 23 CBS Interactive

iPhone 3G S

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.)

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2 of 23 iFixit, used by permission

Get the screw driver

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.
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3 of 23 iFixit, used by permission

Suction

A small suction cup is your friend. A large suction cup may also be a fun toy.
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4 of 23 iFixit, used by permission

The seven

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.
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5 of 23 iFixit, used by permission

Connections

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6 of 23 iFixit, used by permission

Disconnect one

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
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7 of 23 iFixit, used by permission

Two

Two...
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8 of 23 iFixit, used by permission

Three

...And three.
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9 of 23 iFixit, used by permission

Camera comparison

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.

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10 of 23 iFixit, used by permission

Two halves

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.
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11 of 23 iFixit, used by permission

LCD

Just like the iPhone 3G, the LCD is pretty easy to replace. After removing 7 screws, the LCD simply lifts out.
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12 of 23 iFixit, used by permission

Digitizer

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.
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13 of 23 iFixit, used by permission

No cracks

No cracks.
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14 of 23 iFixit, used by permission

Do not remove

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.
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15 of 23 iFixit, used by permission

Single PCB

Removing the logic board. As with the 3G, there is a single large PCB with all components.
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16 of 23 iFixit, used by permission

Main circuit board

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.

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17 of 23 iFixit, used by permission

Back of main PCB

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.
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18 of 23 iFixit, used by permission

Battery life

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.
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19 of 23 iFixit, used by permission

Battery closeup

Battery closeup.
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20 of 23 iFixit, used by permission

Video recording

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.
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21 of 23 iFixit, used by permission

Voice recognition

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.
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22 of 23 iFixit, used by permission

Needs work

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)."
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23 of 23 iFixit, used by permission

All taken apart

Here are all the parts, taken apart.

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