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iPhone 7 Plus Teardown P1

Date: 10-25-2016   Click: 2674

Video Overview

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Step 1 iPhone 7 Plus Teardown

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There's a lot to learn about what's hidden inside the "best, most advanced iPhone ever"—but first, let's take a moment to review what we already know:

  • Apple A10 Fusion processor with embedded M10 motion coprocessor

  • 32, 128, and 256 GB onboard storage capacity (jet black model not available in 32 GB)

  • 5.5-inch multitouch IPS Retina HD display with 1920 × 1080 pixels (401 ppi)

  • Dual 12 MP wide-angle and telephoto cameras with f/1.8 and f/2.8 apertures (respectively), 2x optical zoom, and 10x digital zoom

  • 7 MP FaceTime HD camera with f/2.2 aperture and 1080p HD recording capability

  • Solid-state Home button with Touch ID, driven by new Taptic Engine

  • 802.11a/b/g/n/ac Wi‑Fi + MIMO Bluetooth 4.2 + NFC

Step 2

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  • The dimensions of the iPhone 7 Plus are identical to those of its predecessor, at 158.2 mm × 77.9 mm × 7.3 mm—and yet it's slightly lighter, at 6.63 oz (vs. the 6s Plus at 6.77 oz). Hopefully Apple didn't remove anything important.

    • The 7 Plus is also stamped with a new model number: A1785.

  • For those more inclined to the dark side, Apple is now offering matte black and scratchable jet black versions of the iPhone 7 Plus, in addition to the already available silver, gold, and rose gold colors.

  • The 7 Plus also drops some of those unsightly antenna lines of old, in favor of a more subtle appearance.

  • Perhaps the most noticeable difference is the Lightning to 3.5 mm headphone jack adapterincluded in the box. It's going to take some courage for us to move on from the headphone jack. Sorry baby adapter. It's not you, it's us.

Step 3

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  • Before we dig into this three-eyed monster, we indulge ourselves with a sneak peek thanks to our friends at Creative Electron.

    • Stay tuned for more views of the new iPhone's internals courtesy of our X-ray X-perts!

  • What advantage does the superpower of X-ray vision grant?

  • For starters, we can see that the headphone jack got kicked out to make space for more Taptic Engine.

  • Closer inspection shows a new, second lower speaker grille that leads... nowhere? Interesting.

  • We can also see the new third eye in the camera array of the iPhone 7 Plus. What wisdom and vision does it hold? Let's find out!

Step 4

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  • Apple may have gotten rid of the headphone jack, but clearly stays loyal to the Pentalobe. Two now-familiar screws guard each side of the Lightning connector.

  • Eager to see past the rose gold exterior, we perform some forceful iSclack-ing and a great dealof prying to get past the intense adhesive.

    • The adhesive strip sealing the 7 Plus is considerably stronger than the strip we found in its predecessor. Could this be our first sign of waterproofing?

Step 5

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  • What is this madness? The 7 Plus bizarrely opens to the side, despite the familiar clips at the top of the phone that help align the display as in previous models.

  • We got lucky and didn't rip the display cables along the middle-right side. Thankfully, the top cable has some slack.

    • Subtle design changes like this are where repair guides come in handy.

  • Opening the 7 Plus reveals lots of black and white gooey adhesives running along the perimeter of the phone.

    • Our bet is that this penguin-themed stickiness is part of Apple's efforts to add water resistance. Then again, Apple's engineers might just really love glue.

Step 6

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  • Inside we find an army of courageous tri-point screws guarding the cable bracket that covers the battery connector and two of the display cables.

  • A year ago we went out on a limb and added the Apple watch screw to our 64-bit toolkit. Boy, what a good thing we did.

  • A second platoon of tri-points secure the bracket for the long and springy upper component display cable.

  • Tri-point screws are uncommon. While you could make the argument that tri-point screws are less likely to strip, we assume if it was a choice of mechanical advantage, we'd see them throughout iDevices. It's pretty clear that they are here to simply hinder the two most common user repairs: battery and screen replacements.

  • We dispatch our own weaponry screwdriver and force the bracket to surrender so we can continue our mission into the heart of the iPhone 7 Plus.

Step 7

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  • In place of the headphone jack, we find a component that seems to channel sound from outside the phone into the microphone... or from the Taptic Engine out.

    • No fancy electronics here, just some well-designed acoustics and molded plastic.

    • Teardown Update: According to Apple, this plastic component is a barometric vent. With the added ingress protection afforded by the watertight seal, the iPhone uses this baffle to equalize the internal and atmospheric pressures in order to have an accurate altimeter.

  • Mechanical buttons are a thing of the past when you have a Taptic Engine! This sleek engine uses haptic feedback to simulate the push of a button, without having a real button.

    • Anyone familiar with the touchpad in the Retina MacBook 2015 has already experienced haptics from the Taptic Engine.

Step 8

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  • We're glad to see Apple sticking with the tradition of including pull tabs for the battery adhesive.

  • It's time for some battery yoga. We stretch each of the three adhesive pull tabs to release the battery and our tensions about difficult battery removal.

Step 9

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  • And here's the big bad battery itself!

  • The battery is rated at 3.82 V and 2900 mAh, for a total of 11.1 Wh, a slight upgrade over the 10.45 Wh (3.8 V, 2750 mAh) of the 6s Plus, and on par with the 11.1 Wh, 2915 mAh cell found in the 6 Plus.

    • Apple claims battery life will be up to one hour longer than the 6s Plus—that is, 21 hours of 3G talk time, approximately 15 hours of Wi‑Fi internet use, or up to 16 days on standby.

Step 10

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  • Apple's got us seeing double as we pull out the camera array with two separate sensors, two lenses, and two little connectors.

  • The two 12 MP cameras—one wide-angle with Optical Image Stabilization (OIS), just like in the iPhone 7, the second a telephoto—allow for optical zoom.

  • Both cameras also sport a new image sensor that Apple claims is 60% faster and 30% more energy efficient than previous iPhones.

    • The upgraded cameras almost make it worth the bigger exterior camera bump—now built into the chassis in another suspected waterproofing/dust-fighting tactic.

  • We use our X-ray vision to initiate a staring contest with the camera array. Without blinking, we can see four metal pads around one camera. We're guessing these are the magnets that enable OIS.

Step 11

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  • Before we can dig the logic board out of the rear case, we have to remove portions of the antenna assembly—including the antenna flex cable, which acts as a bridge between antenna pathways.

  • With the antenna flex cable removed, we focus our attention on the top left Wi-Fi antenna.

Step 12

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  • Plucking the logic board from the 7 Plus is much easier than with its predecessor. There's no need to flip over the logic board to remove the final connections.

    • It may seem like a small victory, but we're still encouraged—even small design changes can make a difference in terms of repairability.

  • Peeling up the EMI stickers, we spy what might be some additional heat management.

    • Could that be the A10 under there?


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