Disassembling the Apple Watch Series 4

Apple Watch Series 4 Teardown Reveals Larger Battery and New Internal Design

Recently, we announced the dismantling of iPhones XS / XS Max by iFixit, which, in general, did not point out significant changes between the new devices and the previous model (the iPhone X). As expected, the firm also opened the Apple Watch Series 4 and, unlike the new iPhones, the bowels of the gadget wearables revealed the biggest leap in design since the first model, launched in 2015.

To show how different they are, iFixit took an X-ray of the Apple Watch Series 4 and the previous model. The new Watch, on the left, displays a new optical sensor in the middle, surrounded by several electrodes.

Disassembling the Apple Watch Series 4

When opening the clock, on the back of the display are arranged three chips, of which two are sealed. Based on past Watch guides, iFixit assumes that these components are touch and NFC controllers.

THE flexible battery cable it was also changed in position; now, it is glued under the battery and above the main board.

Disassembling the Apple Watch Series 4

Speaking of battery, the component that powers the Apple Watch Series 4 for 18 hours a day has approximately 292mAh – a 4% increase in capacity over the previous model. Although the battery occupies 2mm more than in previous generations, Apple managed to accomplish the feat of making the new Watch 0.7mm thinner.

To achieve this, however, Apple had to downgrade other components, such as the Taptic Engine (it got thinner, but longer). For iFixit, even smaller, the Watch’s vibrating motor still takes up a lot of space (which could be used for a bigger battery).

Disassembling the Apple Watch Series 4

The loudspeakers of the new Watch have also been improved and are now 50% higher. In addition, the microphone was migrated to near the Digital Crown, so that the speaker can take advantage of the space on the other side. As in previous versions, a silicone gasket seals the speaker so that the speaker gadget can expel water.

THE new 64-bit S4 processor it has also stopped being glued and is now secured with screws only. As always, the component itself is surrounded by a solid block, which means that the repairability here is almost zero. Fortunately, however, the transistors and radio frequency components are still partially exposed.

Disassembling the Apple Watch Series 4

Below the processor and the simplified antenna of the gadget, are the new sensors that enable the realization of the electrocardiogram (EGC) – complementing the optical sensors that already existed. The first electrode is at the base of the watch, which presses on the wrist; the second is in Digital Crown, where the person must touch for the reading to be made.

Disassembling the Apple Watch Series 4

Concerning Digital Crown, a new optical encoder offers even more precision when scrolling through applications or the web. In addition, it has an elastic support that conducts the electrical signal from the finger to the second electrode, completing the ECG circuit.

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As we said, the internal design of the Apple Watch Series 4 brings the biggest leap since the launch of its first version, in which the components of the watch were awkwardly layered, in addition to the use of a lot of glue. According to iFixit, the assembly of the new Watch appears to be “much more carefully planned”.

Apple analyst John Gruber compared this to the leap in design brought by the iPhone 4 and we can even go a step further and call it the iPhone 5: a device that knows its priorities and wants to look as elegant on the inside as on the outside.

The Apple Watch Series 4 received 6 points out of 10 on the repairability scale, the same score obtained by the new iPhones. According to the firm, the worst points of the clock are the flexible cables mounted directly on the S4 processor and the processor housing, which make repairing this board virtually impossible.