iPhone 5S, 5C teardown: Plenty of adhesive, missing M7 coprocessor (update)

By on September 20, 2013, 11:15 AM

Update: iFixit sends word that they have since found the elusive M7 coprocessor (NXP LPC18A1). Turns out, it was buried beneath a neoprene-looking cover.

Apple’s latest iPhones have finally hit the streets and for two unlucky devices, it’s already the end of the road as they wound up on the iFixit operating table. Both the iPhone 5S and the 5C have been given the full teardown treatment for our viewing pleasure.

Right from the start, it’s clear that Apple doesn’t want consumers tinkering around inside their iDevices as evident by the continued use of Pentalobe screws and healthy doses of adhesive on the battery and antenna connectors. In the case of the 5S, extra caution is necessary when removing the display as to not damage the delicate Touch ID cable.

Inside, however, everything pretty much looks like it did in the iPhone 5 save for a few differences (the lack of a battery removal tab being one). On the 5S, the team was unable to find the M7 coprocessor that Apple spoke so highly of during the product reveal last week. As it turns out, it’s likely just an additional function built into the A7.

As for the iPhone 5C, well – it pretty much comes apart just like the 5S through the use of a Pentalobe screwdriver and a suction cup. The battery – slightly larger than the one found in the original iPhone 5 – was also held in place with adhesive, making replacement a bit more tedious (but not impossible). Elsewhere things were smooth sailing and as expected. Oh, and if you were wondering about the durability of the plastic used on the cheaper version, fear not as we are told it’s plenty strong.

When all said and done, both handsets earned the same six out of 10 repairability score. As with the iPhone 5, the display assembly is the first component out of the phone on both models which simplifies replacements. The battery is still also fairly easy to get to on either phone although the missing pull tab and added adhesive are a bit prohibitive.

The 5S received a negative mark due to how easy it would be to damage the fingerprint sensor cable during disassembly while usage of adhesive on the 5C’s antenna connectors further hinders disassembly. Both devices also use rare-ish Pentalobe screws and the front glass, digitizer and LCD are all one component, thereby increasing cost of repair.




User Comments: 14

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1 person liked this | freythman freythman said:

No surprises here. Apple has to have a reason for you to bring your device into their store for repair, and to steer you away from using a third-party. What better way to do it than to use an obscure screw, more adhesive than necessary, and brittle cables?

Guest said:

I don't follow... what prevents a third party to use the obscure screwdriver and deal with adhesive? If they are as professional as Apple's repairmen, they should not have problems with it.

MilwaukeeMike said:

Cool article, and I'm glad it didn't turn into 'The iPhone only has $200 worth of parts in', which would then lead to the discussion of whether 'it should only cost $210 to buy except Apple is sooooo greedy.'

Railman said:

Cool article, and I'm glad it didn't turn into 'The iPhone only has $200 worth of parts in', which would then lead to the discussion of whether 'it should only cost $210 to buy except Apple is sooooo greedy.'

The parts might only cost $200 but there are other cost which have to be factored in. R&D, marketing, return on investment come to mind straight away. It may well be that Apple are making an excessive profit on their phones but selling at $210 would mean them selling at a loss.

mailpup mailpup said:

I don't follow... what prevents a third party to use the obscure screwdriver and deal with adhesive? If they are as professional as Apple's repairmen, they should not have problems with it.
Nothing prevents a third party from obtaining the special screwdriver and, yes, professional repair people should have no problem with it. However, as the article says the security screws are to discourage ordinary consumers from tinkering with it. It doesn't prevent them from doing so. It just makes it more difficult so at least some of them won't bother, that's all.

I'm not saying it's a good or bad thing or that I agree with it. It just is.

MilwaukeeMike said:

The parts might only cost $200 but there are other cost which have to be factored in. R&D, marketing, return on investment come to mind straight away. It may well be that Apple are making an excessive profit on their phones but selling at $210 would mean them selling at a loss.

That's exactly why the stories about the $200 bill of materials annoy me. There's more to the cost of a phone than just the street price of silicon.

hahahanoobs hahahanoobs said:

The parts might only cost $200 but there are other cost which have to be factored in. R&D, marketing, return on investment come to mind straight away. It may well be that Apple are making an excessive profit on their phones but selling at $210 would mean them selling at a loss.

That's exactly why the stories about the $200 bill of materials annoy me. There's more to the cost of a phone than just the street price of silicon.

Um, that's why its specifically labelled Build of MATERIALS. If that is too hard to understand, then don't click on those headlines. Simple.

MilwaukeeMike said:

Um, that's why its specifically labelled Build of MATERIALS. If that is too hard to understand, then don't click on those headlines. Simple.

I know.. I'm completely guilty of that sort of self-driven frustration. It's the same thing that makes me click on the alert that says 'hahahahnoobs has quoted you'.

hahahanoobs hahahanoobs said:

I know.. I'm completely guilty of that sort of self-driven frustration. It's the same thing that makes me click on the alert that says 'hahahahnoobs has quoted you'.

You should get help with both issues, ASAP.

BTW, the BOM is more than just silicon, and iFixit is not responsible for the BOM numbers. iSuppli is.

ThanosPAS ThanosPAS said:

Cool article, and I'm glad it didn't turn into 'The iPhone only has $200 worth of parts in', which would then lead to the discussion of whether 'it should only cost $210 to buy except Apple is sooooo greedy.'

In fundamental analysis of companies' financials, theory says, that a company's Competitive Advantage can be recognized by some pretty self evident charecteristics, and over priced products is one of them. It's just the way moats works - even if I don't prefer Apple's products, it's their position in the market that allows them to sell that high.

JC713 JC713 said:

I thought the M7 would be separate from the A7.

Emexrulsier said:

Cool article, and I'm glad it didn't turn into 'The iPhone only has $200 worth of parts in', which would then lead to the discussion of whether 'it should only cost $210 to buy except Apple is sooooo greedy.'

The parts might only cost $200 but there are other cost which have to be factored in. R&D, marketing, return on investment come to mind straight away. It may well be that Apple are making an excessive profit on their phones but selling at $210 would mean them selling at a loss.

Return on investment isn't a cost really, but yeah so many people simply look at the actual cost of the components and expect a company to make pittance of a profit simply because they can't afford it.

pmcardle said:

Cool article, and I'm glad it didn't turn into 'The iPhone only has $200 worth of parts in', which would then lead to the discussion of whether 'it should only cost $210 to buy except Apple is sooooo greedy.'

The parts might only cost $200 but there are other cost which have to be factored in. R&D, marketing, return on investment come to mind straight away. It may well be that Apple are making an excessive profit on their phones but selling at $210 would mean them selling at a loss.

Return on investment isn't a cost really, but yeah so many people simply look at the actual cost of the components and expect a company to make pittance of a profit simply because they can't afford it.

The biggest influence on the price of a device is consumer demand.

Railman said:

Cool article, and I'm glad it didn't turn into 'The iPhone only has $200 worth of parts in', which would then lead to the discussion of whether 'it should only cost $210 to buy except Apple is sooooo greedy.'

The parts might only cost $200 but there are other cost which have to be factored in. R&D, marketing, return on investment come to mind straight away. It may well be that Apple are making an excessive profit on their phones but selling at $210 would mean them selling at a loss.

Return on investment isn't a cost really, but yeah so many people simply look at the actual cost of the components and expect a company to make pittance of a profit simply because they can't afford it.

Return on investment could be described as an opportunity cost.

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