iFixIt tears down an Australian iPhone 5S

Components no one cares about, gibberish labels, and tech fetishism

The tear-and-repair enthusiasts at iFixIt jetted to Australia, traveling forward in time by 17 hours, to buy a new Apple iPhone 5S before anyone in the U.S. today. And then destroyed it.

Iphone 5S

Credit: iFixIt.com

Exploiting the time difference with Australia, iFixIt bought an iPhone 5S and pulled it apart for a Day Zero teardown.

The complete tear down of the new phone is online, with detailed closeups.

Here are some highlights, in sequence as they pulled the phone apart.

Battery: Apple is using various manufacturers, but the new phone carries a slightly larger battery than the iPhone 5: 3.8 volt, 5.92 Wh, 1,560 mAh. By comparison, the iPhone 5 numbers are 3.8 V, 5.45 Wh, 1,440 mAh; and Samsung Galaxy S4: 3.8 V, 9.88 Wh, 2,600 mAh.

For more context, check out AnandTech’s 5S battery life benchmarks, part of their in-depth review of the new flagship. In some areas, the 5S regresses slightly compared to iPhone 5, in others, it surpasses it.

Improved iSight camera: Several changes improve the 5S camera including a larger pixel pitch (about 15%), a faster aperture, an increased sensor size. Apple is seeking a balance between optimal low light performance and pixel size. AnandTech: “The combination can result in significantly better photos than the outgoing 5 when taking photos in low light.”

Home button with Touch ID: Apple integrated into the home button a CMOS chip from its AuthenTec acquisition into the home button to read and locally store one or more fingerprints, which can be used to lock or unlock the phone and authenticate your Apple ID. First reviews say it’s accurate, fast, smooth and, once used, no one wants to go back to typing passcodes. How will it stand up to constant daily use over many months?

A7 processor: It’s the first 64-bit mobile processor, based on ARM Ltd’s ARMv8 instruction set. Apple promises about a doubling in performance compared to the A6, but most of the jump comes not from 64-bit technology per se but the improvements to the ARM microarchitecture in v8. Speculation is that Apple is using the same amount of RAM, 1GB, but upgraded to LPDDR3, which has a higher data rate, greater bandwidth, better  power efficiency, and higher memory density.

Dual LED True Tone Flash: The 5S uses two LEDs with different color tones, one cool and one warm, which the camera automatically adjusts to get the optimal combination to light a specific scene. AnandTech’s review says it’s “appreciably better” than the single LED in the iPhone 5.

John Cox covers wireless networking and mobile computing for Network World.http://twitter.com/johnwcoxnwwjohn_cox@nww.com

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