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iPhone 5S teardown: Glue, booby traps, and the missing M7 processor

Compared the iPhone 5, Apple’s iPhone 5S is better in just about every way — except repairability.

The repair gurus at iFixit have already torn down Apple’s shiny new phone, and what they discovered might not surprise you: Apple really doesn’t want you to open this one up yourself.

First, in what iFixit calls a “booby trap”, Apple has connected the iPhone 5S’s new Touch ID sensor to its Lightning port assembly via a new cable, which can be damaged if the phone’s display is removed too quickly. (Fortunately, Apple has made it fairly easy to remove the display itself, which is smart, considering the display is the thing owners are most likely to break.)

And then there’s the glue. If anything defines iFixit, it’s its unwavering hate for any kind of  adhesive, which vastly complicates the teardown process. This was particularly true for the iPhone 5S and its battery, which is tough to remove because it’s held in place by two sticky lines of glue.

“Perhaps the ‘S’ in 5S stands for ‘stuck,’ as in ‘this battery is stuck in with a lot of glue,’ or ‘I hope you didn’t want to replace your battery — you’re going to be stuck with this one’,” they muse.

As for that battery, iFixit’s teardown also confirms that the iPhone 5S’s battery capacity has been increased to 1560mAh, a solid increase from 1440mAh in the iPhone 5.

Because of the glue and other concerns, iFixit gave the iPhone 5S a 6 out of 10 in repairability. That’s the same rating they gave the iPhone 5C, and it’s a point less than the rating for the iPhone 5.

Another notable point is that iFixit wasn’t able to find the iPhone 5S’S M7 coprocessor, leading them to speculate that the component might actually be integrated into the iPhone 5S’s main A7 chip.

“Maybe the ‘M’ stands for ‘magical,’ the M7 is invisible, and Apple does use pixie dust to hold the device together. Or perhaps the ‘M’ stands for ‘marketing’,” they write.

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