Suction Cup


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Suction Cup

"I never thought I would be so happy to see a suction cup," iFixit's MJ said in a video on the company's blog. "A screwdriver and a suction cup are all you'll need to replace a broken display." That's a far cry from the 38 steps—and roughly 45 minutes—required to get the display on the iPhone 4S.

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The iPhone 5s Display

And away it goes! Just a few Phillips screws hold the display connector to the logic board. Unscrew, replace, and hand over to happy customer.

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The iPhone 5, despite being 20 percent thinner than the iPhone 4S, offers the same eight hours of talk time on a 3G network. Also like the 4S—but very unlike the iPhone 3GS—removing the iPhone's 5 battery requires only a few steps, which is good news, should it need to be replaced.

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The A6 Processor

Apple has stopped talking in terms of gigahertz and cores, as these terms are misleading indicators of power. Instead, it just shares that it uses its own A6 processor, which is twice as fast as its A5. iFixit, however, adds that, according to Chipworks, the label on chip denotes a "1GB Elpida LP DDR2 SDRAM. Contrarily, the infographic presented during Apple's keynote," they continue, "clearly showed Samsung RAM in the A6. ... Not too long ago, Apple decided to reduce the number of RAM chips ordered from Samsung. Time to invest in Elpida? Or is Samsung lurking in the next phone on the shelf?"

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Lightning Dock

The iPhone 5 is 20 percent thinner than the iPhone 4S. Here, iFixit shows the iPhone 4S' 30-pin dock connector and, below it, the Lightning connector. Clearly, in a far thinner phone, the far smaller connector was nonnegotiable.

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Home Button

Another iPhone bit prone to breaks has been the home button. With the iPhone 5, Apple has integrated a new metal support bracket that should help strengthen it. "This new design should not only increase longevity," says iFixit, "but also make replacing the home button a lot less of a hassle."

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Scuff Gate!

People are already worried about the iPhone 5's black coating will scuff off, says iFixit, which scratched away with a coin and found "that the side is pretty tough, but the chamfered edge can be susceptible to scuffing, making for a shiny streak on the side." Possible solutions: get a case; chill out and stop worrying about such things; or buy a Nokia Lumia smartphone, which features a unibody case that has been dyed all the way through, so the color can't be scratched away.

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Sapphire Crystal

The iPhone 5 features an 8-megapixel iSight camera that can take panoramic images, among other new perks. Apple has said it also included a sapphire crystal—an incredibly hard stone—in the new camera. iFixit scratched at the outside lens with steel tweezers and ... nothing. While this doesn't prove the outside bit is the sapphire, says iFixit, it does prove that the camera lens is pretty darn scratch-resistant. Nice work, Apple.

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Also cause for cheers from repair people is the ear speaker, which connects to the assembly with just two screws. On the iPhone 4S, the speaker was instead attached to the very fragile power button ribbon cable, says iFixit, which required considerable work to remove it.

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Great Phone

iPhone executives have called the iPhone their best and most beautiful iPhone yet. iFixit seemed to agree, giving it a score of 7 out of a possible 10 and concluding, "This is a great phone, and we're thrilled to show you how it's constructed."

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Apple's iPhone 5 is right around the corner. And with it comes a host of improvements, including a larger display, 4G Long-Term Evolution (LTE) service, an improved camera and a processor that Apple says will deliver far better system and graphical performance than its predecessor. Nearly everything in the iPhone 5 was revamped and improved. And Apple says that the result is the best iPhone it's built to this point. Gloating aside, it's hard to argue the point. Apple's iPhone 5 is the most powerful smartphone the company has ever launched, and its new camera is a major improvement for consumers. Even its iOS 6 integration should make for a far better experience. But hardware and the operating system aren't everything. In the iPhone world, the true experience is made with help from mobile applications available through the company's App Store. Without apps, using the iPhone just wouldn't be...
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