HARDWARE

The Apple iPhone 12 Teardown reveals major changes in enabling 5G and average repairability


Smartphones have never been so easy to repair, but that hasn’t stopped owners from repairing (or trying to fix) broken screens, dead charging ports, speakers that don’t produce sound, and a host of other problems. There’s nothing like the feeling of using a heat gun to melt glue under the screen and then using a suction cup to lift the front of a thousand-dollar smartphone to replace a broken part. Fortunately, we have guides online, and very few of them are of much help than those from iFixIt. And they’re at it again, as they’ve released a ruined guide to Apple’s recently released iPhone 12 and 12 Pro.

Interestingly, the two iPhones, which were released only yesterday, have so much in common that iFixIt could publish one demolition guide that will cover both. This is quite a shift compared to the iPhone 11 and 11 Pro, as the two devices had different dimensions, different display technology and many other differences. Apple has managed to reduce the engineering effort required for the two new iPhones by putting them in the same case, equipping them with the same OLED screen and using the same basic motherboard design. The two devices even use the same 10.78 Wh battery, which has more than 10% less juice than either the iPhone 11 or 11 Pro. Apple’s battery life specifications haven’t changed, perhaps due to the better efficiency of the new 5-nanometer A14 Bionic chip.

iphone 12 explosion crash ifixit

So what’s different enough to earn a whopping $ 200 for the iPhone 12 Pro? The first obvious feature is that the base iPhone 12 model starts with just 64GB of storage, while the 12 Pro starts with 128GB. Honestly, it’s pretty scarce in a $ 800 to $ 1,000 phone. The second is the LiDAR scanner, which is needed for more accurate polygonal representations of real-world objects. This should make applications that use iOS’s ARKit for augmented reality more comprehensive and better represent the room. The metal used in the sidebar of each device is different: the iPhone 12 Pro gets stainless steel over the aluminum on the iPhone 12. And last but not least, the iPhone 12 Pro gets a telephoto lens. These two phones are so similar that Apple did not bother to make different protrusions on the camera, but decided to just hit some plastic spacers that would be additional features of the Pro model.

Other interesting details of the iFixIt found on the iPhone 12 include a small glass window and a dedicated side antenna module for mmWave 5G signals. Because 6 GHz + radio waves interfere with walls so easily, Apple had to cut a hole in the metal strip around the edge to transmit that signal to the modem. Speaking of modems, Apple still uses Qualcomm for mobile connectivity. IPhone 12 and 12 Pro deconstructed by iFix It had the same SDX55M 5G modem that most Android flagships have been using for a year, not the newer SDX60M modem that includes features like mmWave and Sub-6 mounts to maintain strong signals when both types are present networks. Also, the MagSafe connector on the back has a series of 18 magnets to hold magnetically attached wireless charging accessories.

In bonus coverage, Canadian YouTuber MobileReviewsEh tested a ceramic shield on the iPhone 12 trying to break the screen on both the iPhone 11 and 12, and then compared how much force is needed for the two. You can see for yourself in the video above, but the short story is that the iPhone 11 needed about 350 newtons of force to break the screen, while the iPhone 12 needed 440 newtons. This means that the ceramic shield does its job and prevents the screen from cracking under greater stress than the previous generation. No doubt this is good news for potential buyers of the iPhone 12. MobileReviewsEh has also tested resistance to scratches and some other features, so be sure to visit the embed for more information.

The following are two extremes for Apple: the iPhone 12 Pro Max and the iPhone 12 Mini. Apple’s largest and smallest members of the iPhone 12 family go on pre-sale from November 6. We think the iPhone 12 Mini, if successful, could encourage Android phone makers to think less about the flagship models. In the coming days, we’ll find out if that happens.



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Naveen Kumar

Friendly communicator. Music maven. Explorer. Pop culture trailblazer. Social media practitioner.

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