After boarding a plane to Melbourne, Australia to be one of the first in the whole world to get their hands on an iPhone 5, the folks at iFixit have torn it apart and found that — surprise — the new iPhone seems to actually have been designed with easy repair in mind. Partially, at least.
Unlike the iPhone 4/S, the first part of the iPhone 5 to come off is the screen assembly. Yes, you’ll have to replace the entire touch-panel/display unit; not that they’re fused into one piece, but that piece is easy to swap out.
Cue the sound of a million Apple Geniuses cheering from the back rooms of Apple stores the world over.
Next up is the rear case. iFixit weighed it, and also weighed the glass panel from the 4S. The entire rear assembly of the new iPhone weighs less than this single glass panel. It’s also way less likely to break, being, uh, not glass.
Also tougher is the home button. It now has a metal mounting bracket so your multiple presses won’t wear it out so fast.
Are you spotting a pattern here? When you sell multiple millions of a single hardware design, and you have Apple Stores around the world where your minions carry out on-the-spot repairs, then it makes sense to refine designs to make the handsets more reliable, and easier to fix when they do break.
Finally, from this round of teardowns at least, the iFixit iSurgeons tried to scratch the sapphire crystal lens cover with a pair of tweezers. No go: the cap shrugged it off like a Blackberry shrugs off customers.
In short, the iPhone 5 seems to be engineered for lightness, durability and repairability. And it wins a “very solid 7/10 repairability score” from iFixit.