[iPhone 5 Teardown (3)] All Components Slimmed Down

Sep 28, 2012
Nikkei Electronics Teardown Squad
A metal frame was detached from the front panel.
A metal frame was detached from the front panel.
[Click to enlarge image]
The iPhone 5's rear camera (right) is shorter than the iPhone 4S' rear camera (left).
The iPhone 5's rear camera (right) is shorter than the iPhone 4S' rear camera (left).
[Click to enlarge image]
A comparison between the iPhone 4S' (left) and iPhone 5's (right) speaker units
A comparison between the iPhone 4S' (left) and iPhone 5's (right) speaker units
[Click to enlarge image]
The coaxial cable with a flat shape
The coaxial cable with a flat shape
[Click to enlarge image]

Continued from [iPhone 5 Teardown (2)] Battery Made by China-based Lishen

We removed the front camera and speakers used for phone calls on the back of the front panel as well as a metal plate frame that seemed to be covering the display part and was fixed with screws. At this point, we thought that we could not continue the teardown without breaking some parts.

When we measured the thickness of the front panel with a caliper, it was about 2.2mm. Apple Inc announced that it had reduced the thickness of the display part by about 30%. And it turned out to be right because the display part of the iPhone 4S was about 3.1mm thick.

In the teardown of the iPhone 4S, we removed the backlight-related components including LEDs, light guide plate, light diffusion sheet and brightness enhancement film, which were located behind its LCD panel module.

The thickness of the iPhone 4S' LCD panel with the touch panel and front glass was about 2.2mm (excluding the backlight components), which, by curious coincidence, was almost the same as the thickness of the iPhone 5's display part. Probably, Apple made a space for the iPhone 5's backlight-related components by employing the in-cell touch panel.

Apple reduced not only the thickness of the display but also the thicknesses of many other parts. For example, the iPhone 5's rear camera has the same pixel count (8 Mpixels) as the iPhone 4S' rear camera, but its height is lower. And the speaker unit located in the lower area of the phone, as well as the sheet antenna attached to the unit for mobile communications, became smaller and thinner.

What surprised us were the two coaxial cables attached to the main board. It had a shape of a flat cable. We had never seen such a cable in any smartphone or tablet computer we disassembled. We felt Apple's enthusiasm for slimness.

Go to next page