The iPhone 5 is making its way into the hands of early adopters today. I'm willing to bet that at least one of those early adopters drops the phone and breaks it. That's when you turn to iFixit and their expert breakdowns to see if the iPhone 5 can be easily repaired.
We've already seen the majority of the iPhone 5's innards thanks to various leaks leading up to Apple's announcement. The leaks were all separate parts, but never fully assembled. It's refreshing to finally see a fully assembled iPhone 5. Even more surprising, iFixit has found that iPhone 5 may be Apple's most repairable device yet.
The first sign of good news came when iFixit found that they could remove the display of the iPhone 5 with a simple suction cup. The iPhone 4S required a whopping 38 steps to get to the display. They found that the battery is also easily removed.
Tearing into the logic board revealed a few surprises. We didn't know who was supplying the 4G LTE modem for the iPhone 5, but the teardown revealed that Qualcomm is supplying that particular chip. It was also revealed that Samsung is no longer supplying the RAM for the iPhone 5, but rather Elpida.
All in all, iFixit gives the iPhone 5 a score of seven out of 10. They note that the easily removed glass and battery factor into the higher score since most iPhone repairs revolve around shattered front glass. Unfortunately, there are a few annoyances with any repairs beyond that. They found that the front glass, digitizer and LCD are all one component which serves to increase the cost of repair.
Despite a few annoyances, I'm honestly surprised. It seemed like Apple was taking their hardware into an anti-consumer direction by not allowing people to repair the hardware themselves. Hopefully, this means that Apple will make their future devices easy to repair.