Grid Studio's framed iPhone is a teardown in a box [Review] | Cult of Mac

Grid Studio’s framed iPhone is a teardown in a box [Review]


Framed original iPhone from Grid Studio
Score up to 20% off on Grid Studio frames for Earth Day
Photo: Leander Kahney/Cult of Mac

I have two original iPhones in my possession. One sits in a junk drawer, untouched and unloved for many years.

The other has been carefully disassembled and the parts arranged in a handsome black frame that hangs on my office wall. Made by Grid Studio, the Grid 1 is my own personal iPhone teardown in a box.

Grid Studio’s Grid 1 review

Framed iPhone parts from Grid Studio
Framed iPhone parts from Grid Studio.
Photo: Leander Kahney/Cult of Mac

All original parts

This first-generation iPhone is a genuine handset that’s been broken down and the parts carefully arranged in a 13-inch-by-13-inch frame. Grid Studio labeled the parts, with some key measurements displayed on the plain white backing.

All the major components are there except the battery, omitted because it can swell, leak and possibly explode. It simply isn’t suited for long-term archiving.

There’s the camera module, which looks positively antiquated compared to modern iPhone cameras with its tiny pinhole aperture.

Here’s the phone’s surprisingly complicated chassis and its aluminum back-cover plate with a shiny Apple logo. The bottom part of the back plate is plastic, so as not to block cellular and Wi-Fi signals.

And here’s the main logic board with an Apple-branded chip front and center. The chip is a APL0098 chip: a 32-bit, single-core RISC ARM chip made by Samsung. It’s the great-great-great-great grandfather of today’s Apple silicon.

Just look at that massive SIM tray

Framed original iPhone parts from Grid Studio: The SIM tray is surprisingly large.
The SIM tray is surprisingly large.
Photo: Leander Kahney/Cult of Mac

The biggest surprise is the SIM tray, which looks positively gigantic. Back in the dark ages of 2007, the SIM card was one of the iPhone’s single biggest internal components (except for the screen).

And what’s this? A headphone socket? I’d almost forgotten iPhones even had them (and that the original iPhone had a bizarrely recessed socket that would only accommodate Apple’s wired earbuds).

Steve Jobs’ signature is reproduced near the bottom of the frame, accompanied by his famous “crazy ones” quote.

Framed iPhone parts from Grid Studio Grid1: The original iPhone camera module was just 2 megapixels.
The original iPhone camera module was just 2 megapixels.
Photo: Leander Kahney/Cult of Mac

Grid Studio does more than just iPhones

The Grid 1 is a limited-edition piece. (Grid Studio says it will produce only 999 units.) But it’s only one of several framed iPhone models offered by the company. Grid Studio framed most of Apple’s iPhones, including the ‌iPhone‌ X, ‌iPhone‌ 5S, ‌iPhone‌ 8 and more. It also offers various models of Apple Watch, Nintendo Game Boy, Sony PlayStation Portable and Samsung Galaxy S.

Pricing varies according to the importance and rarity of the device. The original ‌iPhone‌, for example, costs $599. (It’s on sale for $399, but is currently sold out.) Most of the iPhones cost between $139 and $169.

All in all, it’s a handsome piece of decorative tech art.

For an iconic gadget, what could be a better fate than ending up in a frame and displayed like a butterfly?


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