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Apple Watch Series 6 teardown reveals new sensors, upgraded battery capacity

The watch sports a thinner design within a slightly altered frame, according to an iFixit teardown.

iFixit Apple Watch Series 6 teardown
The Apple Watch Series 6 packs a lot into a tiny device.

Apple's newest watch may be thinner than its predecessors, but it's packing some new -- and sometimes bigger -- components, according to an iFixit teardown published Monday. The Apple Watch Series 6, unveiled last week during the company's annual fall product announcement event, includes health features and sensors for measuring ECG and now blood oxygen levels -- a vital sign that's been helpful for monitoring COVID-19, among other things.

iFixit's teardown of a 44mm GPS + LTE model revealed that all those capabilities are accommodated by a new frame with contours allowing for some larger components inside. The Taptic Engine is bigger than the one in the Series 5, iFixit says, and the 44mm Watch battery sports a 3.5% increase in capacity, while the 40mm model features a 8.5% increase. The altered case and lack of a Force Touch gasket could be why the Series 6 is slightly thinner than last year's model, with an overall thickness of 10.4mm, down from 10.74mm in the Series 5.

iFixit gives the Apple Watch Series 6 a repairability score of 6 out of 10, with 10 being easiest to repair. The publication says screen replacements are "difficult but possible" and battery replacements are fairly straightforward. But small tri-point screws throughout the watch can be hard to take out, and many component flex cables are "mounted directly to the S6 package, requiring skilled microsoldering to replace if they are torn."