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Oct 14, 2011

iPhone 4S Teardown Confirms 512MB RAM, Upgraded Battery

The tinkerers at iFixit are at it again with their Pentalobe screwdriver and a keen sense of humor in their latest teardown of the latest Apple iPhone.

Joking all the way through the teardown in an imaginary dialog with Siri, the iOS 5 personal assistant, iFixit pried open the iPhone 4S to reveal pretty much what had already been confirmed, but with many more technical details.

For instance, they reveal that “Apple is again using Pentalobe screws to secure the rear panel and keep people out.”

Once the glass plates were off, the team got a clear view of the markings on the new battery: “…there it is: an extra .05 WHrs in the battery over the iPhone 4!”

iPhone 4 users won’ be able to upgrade their existing battery to the new one as “it appears that the connectors are [of] different shapes,” according to iFixit.

Apple has confirmed that the iPhone 4S offers continuous talk time of 8 hrs on 3G, up to 14 hrs on 2G, and up to 200 hrs on standby.

“Comparing these times to those of the iPhone 4, the iPhone 4S offers an extra hour of talk time on the 3G network, the same amount of talk time on the 2G network, and 100 hours less standby time,” says iFixit. “Taking into account the upgrade in hardware that comes with the 4S, though, the power consumption seems rather efficient.”

After removing the EMI panels, the team got a closer look at the iPhone 4S logic board which “bears a close resemblance to its stateside CDMA counterpart.” Their initial findings included:

Apple A5 Dual-core Processor

Qualcomm RTR8605 Multi-band/mode RF Transceiver.

Skyworks 77464-20 Load-Insensitive Power Amplifier (LIPA®) module developed for WCDMA applications

Avago ACPM-7181 Power Amplifier

TriQuint TQM9M9030 Multi-Mode Quad-Band Power Amplifier Module.

TriQuint TQM66052 (possibly a PA-Duplexer Module)

Mysterious Apple chip with markings 338S0987 B0FL1129 SGP

A dissection of the Apple A5 chip confirmed the 512 MB of DDR2 RAM.

“How do we know it's 512 MB? Check out the marking, specifically E4E4, denoting two 2 Gb LPDDR2 die—for a total of 4 Gb—or 512 MB,” say the tinkerers who credit Anandtech for deciphering the amount of RAM.

The back side of the logic board showed the following:

Qualcomm MDM6610 chipset (an upgrade from the iPhone 4's MDM6600)

Apple 338S0973, which appears to be a power management IC, according to Chipworks.

Reading the covered chip at an angle reveals "PM8028," which is a Qualcomm power management IC.

Toshiba THGVX1G7D2GLA08 16 GB 24 nm MLC NAND flash memory.

The vibrator motor was also a noteworthy piece of hardware inside the new iPhone 4S. According to the technicians, Apple has decided to go with a linear oscillating vibrator, as opposed to a rotational electric motor with counterweight.

“This vibrator motor is quieter, softer, and all-around less annoying than its counter-weighted predecessor,” says iFixit.

The team gave the iPhone 4S a repairability score 6 out of 10, with 10 being the easiest to repair. “Very little has changed from the iPhone 4 in terms of repairability, they concluded.


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