A teardown of the new iPhone SE reveals that it has the same waterproof seals as its big brothers the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus — despite looking almost identical to the older iPhone 5s.
“There be foamy silicone seals surrounding some—but, mysteriously, not all—of the logic board connections,” iFixit’s teardown gurus write.
If these are the same as the seals on Apple’s larger iPhones (and there’s no reason they wouldn’t be), the SE’s “foamy silicone seals” refer to specially-fitted gasket which surround some of the handset’s new internals, with the express purpose of keeping water out.
This invention was the subject of a patent Apple applied for last year, designed to prevent liquids or unwanted materials like dust from entering future iPhones. In the application, Apple described how it had created:
“A sealed physical button for use with a portable electronic device that effectively presents ingress of liquids. Embodiments include a button cap having flange portions that interlock with complementary flanges from a button retainer. The button cap may also include a downward oriented central post, proportioned and oriented to interface with the top surface of a button attached to a bracket.
The button retainer may include an aperture sized and positioned to receive the central post of the button cap. The button retainer may rest on a shelf within the electronic device housing such that the shelf interposes the bracket and the retainer to form a rigid seal.”
While you should be clear that this doesn’t makes your iPhone SE 100 percent water proof, it’s still neat to see that Apple will incorporate its newer technology into devices like the SE — when it could easily have gotten away with releasing the same phone again, only with faster internals.
iFixit’s iPhone SE teardown also reveals that the iPhone SE boasts an improved 1624 mAh battery as opposed to the 1560 mAh cell found in the iPhone 5s, and a select few other changes, such as an improved power button bracket.
Other than these, many of the pieces are the same as the iPhone 5s, which means that you can use your old 2013-era iPhone for spare parts if need be.
iFixit gives the 4-inch iPhone a 6 out of 10 for repairability. You can read the rest of their teardown in detail at the link below.
The iPhone SE went on sale at Apple Stores yesterday, with prices starting at $399.