iPhone

Cracking Open the Apple iPhone 4S

Apple iPhone 4S Teardown

In October 2011, Apple released the iPhone 4S. Although its exterior is nearly identical to the iPhone 4 (released in June 2010), the iPhone 4S pack a lot of new hardware.

We've published teardown galleries of the iPhone 4, iPhone 3G S, iPhone 3G, and original iPhone. I couldn't wait to get my hands on the 2011 model. Follow along as I crack open the Apple iPhone 4S.

For a more in-depth review of the iPhone 4S' internal hardware, check out my article, "Apple iPhone 4S Teardown: Old design, new hardware."

Photo by: Bill Detwiler / TechRepublic
Caption by: Bill Detwiler

About

Bill Detwiler is Managing Editor of TechRepublic and Tech Pro Research and the host of Cracking Open, CNET and TechRepublic's popular online show. Prior to joining TechRepublic in 2000, Bill was an IT manager, database administrator, and desktop supp...

19 comments
GalAnonimus
GalAnonimus

Freescale is the only company that manufactures consumer destined chips at 6 ppm failure rate. Noboy can match them. But since Steve Jobs was not concerned with hardware real quality - he dumped Motorola chips and issued orders not buy anything from them. Freescale was advised to change its name if it wants to sell anything to Apple. Poor Apple, poor Apple users.

Bill Detwiler
Bill Detwiler moderator

Thanks to everyone who shared their thoughts on TechRepublic galleries and our teardowns. What should I crack open next?

alexstriganov
alexstriganov

Teardowns help us to understand the technical limitations of hardware, sometimes unlisted abilities. It is an important part of technical life for some engineers. This approach allows technical people to be specific in their discussions comparing to spreading rumors. Bill added a huge value to the Tech Republic as a source of information, in my opinion. Thank you, Bill!

joegaffney
joegaffney

I like the teardowns, I find them interesting and like alot of people we want to know: "how, why, and whats really new?" Only one suggestion. Why with todays technology do we have the whole page refresh as we go through the photo. That is a pain.

Greg_Clark
Greg_Clark

I would have preferrred a sledge hammer. I'm getting sick of the Apple hype and sick of the people who buy a new Apple Iphone just because it's the new model....waste of money. You could always start a new webpage called: Pulp Fiction - Devices that stand up to the 10lb sledge. Hammer Electonics - the ultimate test - devices that go out with a bang.

vucliriel
vucliriel

Just a short note about usability, sorry for the interruption, I haven't looked at a teardown for several months - but can't you make the "close-up" pictures work like before, whereby if "view full size" was selected, all the pictures would appear full size and text could be read along them, instead of needing to click the full size option for each and every picture and having them open up in a popup that takes over, making the rest of the web page inaccessible? Or can someone tell me what the advantage is or what was the intention behind changing the perfectly working previous method of viewing large pictures to this poorly thought out popup idea?

przh
przh

the Internet is a wonderfull thing, because if you are interested in anything, you just have to click on it, hmmm, you don't like it? skip it,. and if i may add, tearing down an electronic device helps people like me to convince yourself that there is no need to purchase a brand new device just because it claims to be new, you know that it's not worth it. Greetings

Starhowle
Starhowle

There have been times when maybe it was not necessary to tear down an electronic device, but I still found this very interesting. I really wanted to see the guts of the 4S. Thanks

mastrulo
mastrulo

Can someone please tell me why would anybody especially today tell me what one can learn from a tear down?????? is it the colour, the shape of the inter-connect PCBs, or the number of no name LSIs. Can you tell the difference with any brand/model, and who cares???? It's a TEAR DOWN of the way it works, and the Battery/Plugs, Why do most have different Power plugs, so PLEASE, no more OOOOOOHHHHH HUM they all look the same inside, and did you learn something from the past 4 smart phones? if so what???? Let's concentrate of Functions, and the important User consumables, and power/battery types. They all claim green, but why do most change the multi plug just enough to have 5 power and battery types! most exact same power supply and battery capacity but just changed enough to believe consumers will buy from them a new battery, when as soon as it's out after market ones are 1/10th the cost and delivered to your door! I have had 5 Samsungs, all 5 different power adapters, and plugs just that little different, only 2 could use the same battery. COME ON Tear it down and shove the green claim up the pipelines. Why not supply NO Power adapter and battery with new Cells, as it will use the previous model, and if it fails, a FREE one sent to the Loyal customer. In one area alone what 20 million power adapter less!!! Aside from this, no more please, I'm Totally switched off to it.

Bill Detwiler
Bill Detwiler moderator

Trust me. I feel your pain. There's probably no one that spends more time on TechRepublic's gallery pages than I, and I hate the page refresh that occurs as you flips through our photos. Luckily, we're redesigning our gallery pages and will eventually get rid of the page refresh.

paul
paul

@joegaffney, Click the Previous | Next links and it won't refresh. But I do agree with you, clicking the thumbnail and seeing the page refresh is stupid.

mastrulo
mastrulo

Many moons ago (I worked for NEC), when the cell had changed from the briefcase to the literal Brick, NEC policy was $7,000 for the "Yuppy" market, they have more "$ than Sense" and want the latest and greatest to show off to their circle of 'friends', when the sales dipped large, the price would drop and by now the 1/2 brick was in for the Yuppy and the brick was 1/4 the price even less as the marketing would've shifted to the 'Fridge' or other on the road mechanic/technician, then the P3, P5 etc Cells came out all a little smaller and the screen more than 2 lines, more smarts etc.The cycle would then repeat, only the cost has come down some. This marketing ploy has not changed, in fact I believe it has become a bigger monster, as it is a must have brand name anything, I have seen some buying Soccer Tops that know where to check for the 3 or up to 5 sewn in labels inside the garment! All to ensure it's not a fake, as even Memory Cards (I was caught with Kingston 8 GB SD) the best way to detect the frauds is to photocopy the contacts side, most fakes are not gold plated and it will show up in the scan, also the card/Flash drive/Sata all have 2 pins longer than the rest, this is what makes them plug and play (support from OS inc.), As power must be present when plugged in/out else the CMOS will be destroyed. Sorry I digress, BUT I believe still in the info that a tear down should show, rather than all same photos. This will be my last post for this subject and others as my health (remission) is well no longer and will need to do what one of my Heroes (Steve Jobs) even though never had an Apple device as their marketing was against my belief system. Thank you for your understanding. Wishing all the very best in your ventures. Kindest Regards. From Down Under.

nwallette
nwallette

Apple hype? TR has a teardown and article on just about any new phone / tablet / gizmo. I like to see what's out there and what they're made of. It's interesting. For what it's worth, I'm not about to upgrade phones every year. Nonetheless, I'll read the reviews of interesting ones out of curiosity, and for when I get asked by friends and family what's good. So, if you're not an Apple fan, why are YOU here?

mastrulo
mastrulo

I understand your point. BUT, if 8 smart phones were laid side by side in a' tear down' without being able to see the name. I doubt anyone who had not seen it would be able to tell the difference. Remember also, MOST are made in the same factory, line number 2, and 3 etc. It's the demand of the Brand Name that dictates the quality requested, else, all are very similar, most would even use the same parts. Did you know how the vibrator works? Now that would be of interest. It's a tiny motor with a Flywheel that has a much larger weight on around 25 degrees of the wheel, now they don't even put the wheel there it's just the centre shaft with a weight on one small side of it. NOW I (my Opinion) found that interesting when they first appeared, they were bigger then and replacing one was a nightmare, now they place it close to one corner, away from the Gyro(s) and GPS antennae. Yes you are right skip the info. But then you would've missed another's opinion, and now maybe he will point it out on another tear down? Now Something for all to salivate, HOW do they achieve the 8 different Vibration styles (in my Cell anyway, maybe less or more in yours), that almost mimic musical Tones? Enjoy, and remember, opinions is why there are dozens of colours/styles of the same unit! because We are!

mastrulo
mastrulo

You are right. But seriously, the same generation of them is like just a mirror image, and the name. Lets do it less often, and maybe a lot more criticism on the makers about being green, why not have the same battery and power adapter for several years, and not supply one, only on request. I hate when they supply a be green and look after the planet bag to recycle all the 3 major parts, Cell, power adapter and battery(ies), Yet in the same box, a new power adapter same Voltage/Current and Battery Ditto. PLEASE YOU the Makers BE GREEN and don't change the plugs and contacts/shape of the battery. Don't supply one as the new cell should only have a new (exactly the same) battery as most people leave the phone plugged in for hours or even overnight, has anyone noticed when the battery is full the phone (mine) lights up an politely asks to unplug the power from the wall socket, yes wall socket as it still uses power while plugged in! Now a tear down with the criticism to the maker would make them wake up as we all need to pull our weight to save on resources. Thank you for your comments. I just feel strongly about the HUGE WASTE of Batteries and Power Adapters. Cheers. From Down Under!

Gr8Music
Gr8Music

The tear down shows me the extra build quality Apple designs into its products which is why they just "feel" higher-quality. Now go hug your Prius - I hope you understand that it's the most eco-unfriendly car to manufacture on the planet...

myargonauts
myargonauts

I find them to be quite helpful. I have used them as a guide to replace parts on several iPhones in the past. My first attempt with out a tear down ended up as scrap.