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iFixit's iPhone 5s Teardown Reveals Touch ID Fingerprint Sensor, 'Invisible' M7 Chip

iFixit has already taken apart the new iPhone 5s, currently on sale in Australia. It is the second significant teardown of the device, which was taken apart earlier by Australian iPhone repair firm iExperts. Unsurprisingly, there are no drastic changes from the iPhone 5 to the 5s, but there are some new internals like the Touch ID sensor that are worth examining.

In removing the front panel from the rest of the iPhone 5s, the iFixit team notes that a new cable that runs from the Touch ID sensor to the Lightning port assembly, meaning that extreme care must be taken when removing the screen to avoid damaging the cable.

iFixit did express some concern over the amount of glue used to attach the battery -- a 3.8V - 5.92Wh - 1560mAh unit, slightly larger than the iPhone 5's 3.8V 1440mAh battery -- to the casing, noting that the dramatic increase in glue compared to the iPhone 5 could make it exceptionally difficult to replace the battery. The company also wondered if the sapphire home button was enough to protect the sensitive CMOS Touch ID sensor over time.

Looking at the logic board, iFixit could not find a standalone M7 motion coprocessor chip, dubbing it "invisible". The team believes the M7 may be special silicon built into the A7 chip itself.
Also of note was the striking lack of a discrete M7 co-processor. Perhaps the "M" stands for "magical," because it’s not there, folks. The mythical M7 is most likely a combination of motion-oriented components, and not an actual dedicated chip (as Apple implied during last week’s product announcement). Chock it up to savvy marketing.
Apple's iterative design has allowed it to streamline and optimize internal construction of the 5s, including the loss of extemporaneous antenna interconnect cables "leaving one less thing to break or get disconnected".

Overall, iFixit gave the iPhone 5s a repairability score of 6 out of 10 (10 being the easiest to repair), which is one point fewer than the iPhone 5's 7 out of 10. Compared to the iPhone 5, the 5s battery no longer has a convenient pull tab for removal and the Touch ID cable could be ripped out of its socket during front panel removal.

Related roundups: iPhone 5c, iPhone 5s, iPhone 6

Top Rated Comments

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13 months ago
Of course they rip open the hardest colour to find....
Rating: 16 Votes
13 months ago

But iFixit is really obsessed with its hobbyist's view.

You ever taken a look at their name? "iFixIt"? ;)

I can't tell you how many times their repair guides have saved me, my Macs and my wallet.
Rating: 10 Votes
13 months ago

All good stuff, more to come.

Insightful! :rolleyes:
Rating: 7 Votes
13 months ago
So this is where all the Gold iPhones are going... :rolleyes:

Rating: 6 Votes
13 months ago
I just assumed that the M7 was built into the A7.
Rating: 5 Votes
12 months ago

I'm wondering if the finger print sensor wasn't a quick last minute "Oh ****" moment add-on because the 5s isn't much more than a mildly improved 5. The reason I wonder about this is that looking at the iFixit tear down, it really looks like someone just slapped on the fingerprint sensor without a lot of engineering design forethought. That is soooo not the Apple way - at least not over the past decade or so.

Like totally. Hey we bought this company for a fingerprint patent a few years ago, can we like mad-rush this thing in? Just stick it on somehow. I have a box of sapphire covers in the corner we could use. And edit the powerpoint of the A7 chip slide to say 64-bit. I know it takes years of meticulous engineering and foundry planning and a dedicated chip design group but we have a keynote to do and the 5S is just so not innovative. A blog said so.
Rating: 4 Votes
13 months ago

But iFixit is really obsessed with its hobbyist's view. You can't replace the battery? They'll swap one out if you come up with a dud that fails earlier than the mean. It's not made to open up, period! Too many seams on Jony's case. If you want the fourteen pound phone with a car battery and a dynamo, that's somewhere else. I mean, it might be arrogant, whatever; but they don't, and NEVER HAVE, made a hobbyists' PC with all-removable and customizable thoughts. That's was a large market in the PC industry. More and more Android devices are closing up too. I think if you have an early, failed battery, and there's no sign of tampering or voiding of warranties, they'll give you a new one. If batteries of a certain batch start failing at 6 months, they want to know about it.

Mate you're COMPLETELY missing the point. iFixit is scoring the self (hobbyist) repairability. Hence the hobbyist perspective. Its a fricken hobbyist website.

Sure Apple may replace the battery/phone if it fails early. But what do you do when the phone is out of warranty? What do you do if the warranty is void?

I honestly cannot count how many times iFixit has helped me repair a phone.
Rating: 4 Votes
13 months ago
iPhones are know for great battery life so no harm in having issues to remove it when needed.

.... Oh wait ....
Rating: 4 Votes
13 months ago
I don't think Apple has to worry about fingertips wearing out sapphire crystal.
Rating: 4 Votes
13 months ago

looks like a7 wasn't made by intel?

Rating: 4 Votes

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