back to article Deep inside the iPhone 5s lurk a few surprises

The gleeful geeks at iFixit and ChipWorks have torn apart Apple's latest flagship iPhone, the 5s, and inside they found a lot of glue and a few surprises – including the manufacturer of the A7 processor and the source of the sensor-wrangling M7 chip that was much touted at the rollout of Apple's latest smartphones last week. …

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  1. poopypants

    I wonder what

    20 year old me would have thought of all this. That was 40 years ago.

    1. Jay_x386

      Re: I wonder what

      You ve got at least 15years on me........it's been a long time coming....... Roll on the next generation of tech. Can't wait :)

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I wonder what

      @poopypants

      Since you have made it clear you are 60 or thereabouts, I'm now worried your handle may not have been chosen to be ironic.

    3. Robert E A Harvey

      Re: I wonder what

      Aye. My first job was in Marine Radio, with power tetrodes for the output stages, and receivers with 21 valves in. The radars were semi-transistorised.

      The first colour TV I bought had 11 active devices, excluding the voltage multiplier but including the CRT itself. My latest has over 3 million transistors.

    4. LarsG

      Battery life

      My perception on battery life with an iPhone 5, holds charge well at first but once down to 80% it depletes more quickly.

      Average power consumption before the upgrade would leave me with 63%

      Average power consumption after upgrade leaves me with 53% and that is on a quiet day.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Battery life

        Bit soon to tell isn't it - after all it was only released on the 18th so you would have 2 full days to test it so far and it would not take much more 'playing' to explain that difference.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Battery life

        An average, but quieter than average, day?

      3. Tom 7 Silver badge

        Re: Battery life

        80% left...

        Or is that what the screen is lying to you?

      4. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Battery life

        It's all to do with heat. If you do a lot of things that get the device hot (gaming) then the battery degrades faster.

  2. Cliff

    Samsung processor

    If they were feeling frustrated at all of apples patent trolling and attempting to screw then over at every turn, they could have such fun with the chip fab.

    But then apple do seem to be doing a pretty decent job of disappointing their devotees at the moment, probably no point...

    1. oolor

      Re: Samsung processor

      As far as I see it, the Apple-Samsung patent spat is free advertising for Samsung. People who want Apple will buy Apple, everyone else now has Samsung front-of-mind as the first Android option.

      Most people I know who rock the Apple kit bought it because their friends did, the rest are devs/IT who need it for testing and the vast majority use an Android phone in their personal lives.

      Phones are now a commodity product, even most apps are bullshit and the most useful non-productivity ones could be cut down to run as HTML5 web apps. The most likely moneymaker in the future is the content sales and distribution, everything else is quickly becoming run of the mill.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Samsung processor

        What rubbish only and idiot would build their app with HTML5 it runs so slowly compared to a native app.

        You obviously know b@gger all about real app development HTML5 are so clunky and slow even on new kit plus you can't use a local database or have access to all the phones hardware using HTML5.

        I travel into London every day and people coming in from Sussex and Surrey all seem to have apple devices, then the train I change onto from north Kent have Samung.

        The type of device your friends have is more likely to be due to your geographic location and demographic than a national trend.

        I walked passed the Regent st store today (@ 8:05 am) and the queue was much larger than last years launch of the iPhone 5

        1. Zack Mollusc

          Re: Samsung processor

          Out here in the forgotton wastelands beyond watford, the company hands out iPhones to the dirty mishapen wretches it employs. The apple phones are so marvelous that over three quarters of us have subsequently bought android devices from our own meagre wages. On monday I will take a glue gun to my samsung's battery so that it can once again be as technically advanced as the latest iPhone.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Samsung processor

            Bad luck, where I work the first lot of smart phones were all androids (almost all Samsungs of various sorts), but the sucked sooo bad that the next updates everyone had a choice, iPhone or Droid, and we went 100% iPhone. So the latest update, with samples to test, 98% iPhone again. Maybe you should work somewhere with better discrimination ?

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Samsung processor

              Badder luck. Where I work the first lot of smart phones were all iPHones but with no cut and paste or mms the sucked soooooooooo bad that the next updates everyone had a choice, iPHone or droid and we went 110% android. So the latest update, with samples to test, 130% android again. Maybe you should just post badly constructed nonsense you make up?

        2. notdavidbailey

          Re: Samsung processor

          A/C said: "You obviously know b@gger all about real app development HTML5 are so clunky and slow even on new kit plus you can't use a local database or have access to all the phones hardware using HTML5."

          Hybrid apps can use a local DB and much of the devices' hardware. Also, done correctly, they can run perfectly well on all but the oldest of devices. I think you're the one who knows bugger all about 'real app development', in this day and age at least. Also, you could do with brushing up on your grammar by the looks of it.

          1. oolor

            Re: Samsung processor

            @ notdavidbailey

            Nice, terse (and vice versa).

            Beyond that, clever use of arrays and objects combined with localStorage and AppCache cover all but the most extreme use cases for storage, organization, and access of/to data. I find it odd that the people who have trouble using SQL as a server DB are the same ones who try to replicate it inside the browser/client environment.

        3. oolor

          Re: Samsung processor

          >What rubbish only and idiot would build their app with HTML5 it runs so slowly compared to a native app.

          Howdy, Idiot Number 1 here. Funny, the ones I made zip and pop like an iPhone commercial after the edited sequences. Guess I should have listened to the 'experts' out there. Instead, I wrote my own JavaScript and cut down reaction times below 10% of what the average library/jQuery user sees.

          Simply rewriting loops using while (counter--) {//loop here} is a massive performance increase. I can do 30000+ string comparisons in around 7ms whereas it was well over 100ms using an optimized for loop, and that is on old kit (note timing is only accurate +/- 15ms in JS apparently, so take that for what it is worth).

          Likewise, using SVG for graphics and graphing along with CSS sprites when well done give a very rich visual response that doesn't kill the speed (assuming you know how to use these correctly). This is a benefit of not having to support older IE (something I accepted begrudgingly after using the D3 library - d3js.org)

          >you can't use a local database

          Someone please inform the AC of localStorage and AppCache.

          >or have access to all the phones hardware using HTML5

          Very true, but I can still geolocate, use audio, camera, video, and access device orientation...

          The above notwithstanding, I certainly agree that serious apps for working or social BS will definitely benefit from being native, the same does not apply for smaller, more limited-in-scope apps that are likely to be made in house for a specific task. It really depends on what is needed, something many devs cannot comprehend as they start copying what they saw someone do rather than doing what they need to do for that specific project (lets ignore Java coders trying to write JavaScript - it is often worse than what 'designers' get up to with the jQuery).

          Furthermore, one can make hybrid apps that are mostly HTML5, but run inside a native app which is used only for the parts that absolutely cannot be otherwise accessed. Once again, for smaller specific apps this could be an excellent development shortcut while still having much of the code reusable for desktop/laptop use.

          About devices, here in the Pacific Northwest, it seems to be based on whether one is a woman, or a 'creative' type being extremely likely to be iPhone users and this seems to be pretty stable across most of Canada according to my telecom 'sources'. I never mentioned my friends, my observations are based the people I know who range from adolescents to the aged and span all but the most extremes of the economic spectrum and live in all manner abodes from country to downtown condo. So demographic, yes, location, not so much.

        4. wikkity

          Re: you can't use a local database

          Then it can't be a html5 compliant browser you are using, android and apple devices certainly support local databases as do the major desktop browsers.

      2. Cliff

        Re: Samsung processor

        >>the Apple-Samsung patent spat is free advertising for Samsung.<<

        Yeah, that's probably why Apple are being aggressive patent trolls, to give Samsung free advertising. That, and in an attempt to legally injunct sales of Samsung phone in the USA...but probably more to give them 'free' (as in expensive international lawyer time) advertising, sure.

        1. Chet Mannly

          Re: Samsung processor

          "Yeah, that's probably why Apple are being aggressive patent trolls, to give Samsung free advertising."

          Of course that's not what Apple *intended* Cliff, but that's what they *did*

          When the ban on the first Galaxy Tab was lifted in Australia everyone knew about the tablet before they could sell it - far far better than Samsung could have done themselves.

          Just like the court action against Microsoft all those years ago for "stealing Apple's interface". Coverage of the court action basically equated the interface of Windows with Mac in the eyes of the public, even if there are significant differences. People looked at 2 computers, saw one was half the price and in their minds the interface must be so similar the more expensive one sued the cheaper one.

          But shhh don't tell Apple, its far too much fun watching them hand over mind share in court rooms while they think they are getting a win :-)

          1. oolor
            Pint

            Re: Chet Mannly

            Bingo, good sir, have an up-vote and a virtual beer on me!

        2. Greg J Preece

          Re: Samsung processor

          Yeah, that's probably why Apple are being aggressive patent trolls, to give Samsung free advertising. That, and in an attempt to legally injunct sales of Samsung phone in the USA...but probably more to give them 'free' (as in expensive international lawyer time) advertising, sure.

          I don't think he implied that it was intentional on Apple's part...

      3. Moof
        Gimp

        Re: Samsung processor

        As someone who went from a Blackberry (HATED), to Droid (Semi-Hated) to an iPhone 4S (actually really like), I have to disagree with your anti-fanboi comments. Like most iPhone people, I find the integration and interoperability a huge plus. The "just works" is what a lot of Apple fans care about. The 4S is the first phone that actually works well for me without having to cycle power, remove batteries to reset, deal with laggy processors, etc.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Samsung processor

          at the core of your Apple, is a Samsung heart - that's the only revenge Fandroids need.

          To be fair, you haven't used Windows Phone 8 which is rather good.

          This "just works" is BS. I get sick of hearing it - tell it to the Applerati who moan at me that their Mac crashed.

          If you've stared at the swirly beachball while Mountian Lion's having a shit-fit, you'll know what I mean. Windows 7 AND Windows 8 "just work" as well as anything spewed out from Cupertino's satanic sphincter. So does most Linux.

          Some people like Apple, some people don't. Some people can be objective and critical of EVERYONE'S eco system with no loyalty to any brand and without following quasi religious dogma. I use THEM ALL and on a good day, love them all and on a bad day hate them all....EQUALLY.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Samsung processor

            It's not a Samsung chip any more than the iPhone is a Foxconn product. They are just the people who build it.

            Anyone can make ICs.

            1. oolor

              Re: Samsung processor

              >Anyone can make ICs.

              Perhaps, but how many companies can competitively build a 28nm hi-K chip in volume? Last I checked somewhere in the 5-10 range and delivery can be spotty.

        2. MrXavia

          Re: Samsung processor

          iPhone just works? integration?

          Sure IF all your kit is Apple, but as soon as you step outside the apple ecosystem you find things called standards... which means I can just as easily stream via DLNA to my Samsung TV as I can to my parents Panasonic, etc...

          Standards mean my android phone needs no software on Windows or Linux to transfer files, yet on mac I do and then I still fight to get it to work...

          Standards, something Apple likes to ignore...

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Samsung processor

      Samsung is a huge company with lots of divisions.

    3. Mike Richards Silver badge

      Re: Samsung processor

      'If they were feeling frustrated at all of apples patent trolling and attempting to screw then over at every turn, they could have such fun with the chip fab.'

      Has anyone with an electron microscope to hand looked for any rude messages about Apple on the silicon?

  3. tempemeaty

    Will have to pass on this one

    I have no love for biometrics reading hardware in the devices I buy.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Will have to pass on this one

      You fear the knock on the door do you not!

    2. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge
      Facepalm

      Re: Will have to pass on this one

      It won't be long before pretty well all mobile phones will sport a fingerprint reader. You had better buy a raft of phones now because in the future you won't have the option.

    3. tony2heads

      re: biometrics

      Reports on the web say that you can use any appropriate ridged surface (big toe or even cat's pawprints), so just bring kitty around with you.

      If you are truly paranoid, copy somebody else's prints and bring a copy of them around on a jelly baby. Gives plausible deniability and a delicious snack in one!

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    5S battery life B.S.

    5S speed is great but not battery life. Try iphone 6 maybe.

    1. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

      Re: 5S battery life B.S.

      I seem to remember the same complaints when IOS5 came out. A fix or two later and they were forgotten. Perhaps the same will happen here?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: 5S battery life B.S.

      When Apple dropped the number from the iPad and called it "the new iPad", isn't it about time they call the iPhone just "the new iPhone"? We NEED confusion!

  5. Fihart

    glue and screw

    Glue in the battery, screw the customer when it has to be replaced.

    1. Michael Habel Silver badge

      Re: glue and screw

      Glue in the battery, screw the customer when it has to be replaced.

      'Tis the Apple way!!

    2. Boris the Cockroach Silver badge

      Re: glue and screw

      I still cant figure why the battery has to be glued in .....

      are the iphone designers scared it may come loose during use?

      or does removing the battery make the phone crash or reset or something?

      Or is it just to f*** the customer over?

      1. The Alpha Klutz

        Re: glue and screw

        after all, glue costs money and time to apply it. They could save that money by not bothering, but then they wouldn't be able to ding their customers for a whole new phone, would they?

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: glue and screw

      I have had numerous interactions with apple, via their stores, and have only felt valued, and well looked after.

      I don't think they are changing their policy.

      M,.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: glue and screw

        have only felt valued, and well looked after.

        I don't go to stores to feel valued, but to get value. Apple products are significantly lacking in that area.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: I go to the iStore to be validated

        and drive a big car so people think I'm someone special.

  6. Ted Treen

    Trollfest

    Another trollfest from El Reg. Why do so many who apparently don't care rush to leave vituperative comments?

    If you hate it that much, buy something else - or do you believe that anyone whose views are different to yours is deserving of abuse?

    1. Ashton Black

      Re: Trollfest

      Oh the irony. "If you hate it that much, buy something else - or do you believe that anyone whose views are different to yours is deserving of abuse?"

      You obviously do.

      First sentence: "Another trollfest from El Reg."

      1. Ted Treen
        Holmes

        @Ashton Black

        Not at all Old Lad

        A collection of ill-thought out comments which basically say nothing is nothing more than a trollfest. I am perfectly happy for others to hold views which oppose those I hold - and I respect those views.

        I find it hard to summon up much respect for those who leave juvenile "Yar boo sucks-Apple are all stinkypoos" comments.

        My first comment "Another trollfest from El Reg." is perfectly valid and it is not their holding different views which I find tiresome, but the immaturity of the third-form manner in which they're expressed.

        Clear now?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      @ Ted and ash

      indeed, its the only reason I read apple articles and comments.

      1. Jason_H

        Re: @ Ted and ash

        @AC

        And it's the reason I don't bother reading Reg all that much anymore, and very rarely the comments.

        I make an exception this time, and guess what - nothing changed, and in fact seems to have only gotten more puerile.

  7. Anthony Hulse

    Why is it that any article on an iPhone immediately draws in comments from people whose only contribution is "I prefer Samsung"? Seriously, this crap has been going on since the Spectrum and Commodore 64. If other people want to spend their cash on stuff that doesn't appeal to you does it really invalidate your own purchasing decisions?

    1. JonP

      It's an old tradition or charter or something...

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      seriously?

      Have you read the postings on Apple fansites? This goes on everywhere whichever side (if any) you're on.

      No side holds the moral high ground. This is an ANCIENT human behaviour - in fact it has its roots in our animal nature - it's a display - "My stuff is better than THEIR stuff!" Take most sports, there is just as much rivalry. Expecting everyone to be eloquent in their discourse is largely wishful thinking.

      Let them have their say as long as they are not offensive (and by that I don't mean to an electronic device or the company that designs them).

      If anyone is offended by their device being slagged off, there are plenty of fan sites with more partisan opinions whichever flag you pledge allegiance to. El Reg is an arena, not a debating society!

      Besides, in all honesty, Apple has so much positive coverage (and are plugged mercilessly eg on the BBC) that getting a good bashing evens it all up! ha ha

      1. Sealand
        Megaphone

        Re: seriously?

        > Take most sports, there is just as much rivalry ...

        Touché.

        Imagine a football stadium with 50/50 fanbois/fandroids all painted in the faces with Apples and ... um ... Samsungamalogos, shouting at each other while raising their phones and tablets in the air, showing off what the devices can and can't do.

    3. CADmonkey

      I prefer Nokia

      So screw you all!

      And I had a BBC Micro.....so all you Commies and Speccy Twats can GTF also.

      Flay Mon!

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: I prefer Nokia

        "Commies" ?

        No it was the "Commode Odour 64".

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re:

      @Anthony Hulse

      The real battle was between the Atari 800 and the Commodore 64.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    My 5.3" is a Samsung, your 4" is also much Samsung

    As always, a Samsung Exynos variant design with that Apple sticky A label.

    You know it makes sense.

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

    2. Eddie Knopfler

      Re: My 5.3" is a Samsung, your 4" is also much Samsung

      Hmmm... No, not really.

      Both the A(5/6/7) and Exynos(3/4/5) are tweaked designs of ARM-based Cortex SoC's licensed from ARM Holdings.

      What you've said is almost as bad as saying an Intel Core i7 based Samsung laptop is a design variant of an AMD Vision Processor E2 based Lenovo machine because they both use x86/x64 instruction sets.

      The important thing here is that whether you're an Apple Fanboi or a Samsung Fandroid, none of you would be doing anything with any particular power or efficiency if it wasn't for us plucky Brits.

      Move along now, nothing to see here.

  9. Duncan Macdonald Silver badge

    Low power battery

    As a cheap THL W8S phone comes with a 7.4Whr battery (and a spare in the box!!) this low power battery once again shows that Apple stands for looks over functionality. The only reason for glueing it in is to try to ensure that the product has a limited life so that Apple can sell more phones in the future to its fans.

    A decently designed and built phone shoud have a lifespan of over 10 years (easily possible if the battery is replaceable) not the 5 years or less of a fixed battery model.

    1. Ted Treen

      Re: Low power battery

      I do accept your point regarding designed-in and built-in obsolescence, but from a commercial point of view, phones at all levels appear to be almost disposable items.

      I know very few people who are still using five year old phones, let alone those approaching ten years.

      I suppose in some ways, it is similar to the car market wherein other than for a very few luxury motors, there isn't the demand from the mainstream purchaser for 5 - 10 year old cars despite the fact that their lifetime should exceed that.

      Also, increases in technology generally mean that the capabilities of a phone will greatly exceed that of a six year-old model. I know they're often full of features that we might not need but it is a part of human nature to want them and to want the newest, latest, up-to-date, all-singing and all-dancing gizmo.

      Many of us with a technological bent might see through this marketing, but we're only a tiny part of the target market:- it's those who believe it when they're told that their lives will be incomplete without this latest feature who will think "Who cares if the Soopaphone 7 only has a life expectancy of four years - I'll be on the Soopaphone 12 by then"...

      1. Fihart

        Re: Low power battery @ Ted Treen

        My earlier comment about glue and screw is based on stupidity of having to dismantle a found iPod Mini to replace battery. iPod was, say, 5 years old and the tiny hard drive still functioned. Sad that someone threw it and their music away due to a non-user-replaceable battery. I have 30 year old hifi still in regular use.

        All manufacturers of cameras, phones, mp3 players, laptops are guilty of failing to provide realistically priced replacement cells.The whole system has a vested interest in waste, including suppliers of dangerous fake batteries. Trademark owners seem oblivious to the latter -- except some who chip their batteries so expensive replacements are obligatory.

        EU recently moved to promote interchangeable phone chargers -- same must happen with batteries. When you buy a torch you expect it to use one of a range of generic bulbs -- and of batteries that are universally available at (fairly) sensible prices.

      2. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

        Re: Low power battery

        there isn't the demand from the mainstream purchaser for 5 - 10 year old cars despite the fact that their lifetime should exceed that.

        True, my first car (as a student) was 7 years old when I bought it, 10 when I sold it. It gave someone else a few years after that before expiring.

        Unfortunately the thing that limits the lifetime of most modern technology is the cost of maintenance. Anything which is in daily use for 5-6 years is likely to have components that fail, especially mechanical ones. Even if the components can be obtained cheaply, the cost of replacing them is disproportionate, usually due to the way everything is shoehorned into the smallest space possible. Just like the iPhone battery, replacing the clucth on a car might cost £100 materials, but £500 labour. That's acceptable (if annoying) on a car that is still worth £10,000 but not on one that's worth £2,000 so it creates a break-point where the used value of the object suddenly drops dramatically. It becomes worth buying only at a price where it can be discarded if it fails, even if it might still seem to be worth more in terms of the quality of service that it can deliver when it works. I do still have, and use, phones that are > 6 years old, but I keep them as PAYG phones with foreign SIMs for use when I travel, nor for daily use.

  10. RobHib
    Coat

    Yawn.

    Yawn.

  11. Dropper

    Life Cycle

    I'm in no way condoning things like sealed batteries and finger print sensors that will eventually wear out, but what people should know before buying any phone - iOS or Android - is that these things are built to last around 2-3 years, or in other words, the length of a contract.

    OS updates and Apps will degrade the performance of your phone over the course of this time to the point where it becomes slow, laggy and in some cases unusable. My experience with the iPhone 4, Morola Razr Maxx and various other Android phones is that over a period of about 2 years the phones slow down in the same way a Windows PC will. Succesive OS updates, along with software (or app) installs are the obvious reason. Sure if you reset the phone to factory settings and managed to revert the OS to the original that came with the phone, there's no reason why it shouldn't run as fast (or near to it) as it did when you bought it. Of course this means less functionality, but that's what you have when you deal with older technology running newer software. PC life cycles used to be 2-3 years for this reason and phones are probably no different.

    Like I said, this doesn't excuse poor manufacture quality, lack of upgradibility or the ability to replace broken or expired parts like batteries, but it does explain the reason manufacturers don't care. The want (need?) you to continually upgrade devices, so they're deliberately built with a life expectancy at or near the length of your contract.

  12. Benjamin 4

    3.8v Battery???

    I'd like to know what chemistry the battery uses. Since as far as I know traditional lithium ion and lithium polymer cells are only available in 3.6 or 3.7v, so I'd like to know what they are using to get the extra 0.1v.

    1. Caesarius
      Meh

      Re: 3.8v Battery???

      Surely Li batteries can be expected to measure from 2.2V to 4.2V when they hold sufficient charge to be usable. This is viable because of sufficiently advanced switch-mode PSUs, where a wide range of input voltage can be accommodated efficiently, and where <2.2V operation is avoided lest we kill the battery. So I recommend labeling them as "3V", i.e. only one significant figure rather than two, and, even then, 3 to 4-delta is only half of the range.

      So 3.6, 3.7 or 3.8: there is no significance. Perhaps it is driven by marketing: queue the 4.2V spec!

  13. Heathroi

    the dark arts of power management?

    isn't that not having a big extremely pixelated screen, the HTC desire i had would last about a day with mostly everything running (except gps, that didn't work on that phone) and and that had a 4.2 inch screen and only a 1230 mah battery. talk time hmmph better measure is how many movies it will play before dying.

  14. HippyFreetard

    Cracked?

    http://www.ccc.de/en/updates/2013/ccc-breaks-apple-touchid

  15. Timly
    Trollface

    Careful where you put your finger

    Wonder how long it will be before jealous wives and girlfriends start unlocking their fella's iPhone with his finger while he's asleep?...

    Paranoid?...If you've nothing to hide! :-D

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