iFixit Tears Down New Apple EarPods And Kindle Fire HD

iFixit: Apple EarPods Teardown

iFixIt’s Miroslav Djuric and team have snuck a peek inside Apple’s new EarPods, noting:

On the outside they certainly look futuristic, but what lurks inside? We knew of only one way to find out.

PhotoCourtesy iFixIt

We didn’t assign a repairability score for the EarPods. Unfortunately, products like these earbuds are still of the throw-away kind. Repair is infeasible because sourcing parts is next to impossible, and it would be a tough sell to convince someone to take apart their EarPods they’re glued together, and will never be the same once taken apart.

* With such a tight fit between the two halves of the EarPods, simply pulling them apart wasn’t an option. Enter the X-Acto blade. We don’t normally cut open earbuds, but when we do, we prefer X-Acto #11 blades.

* Like most speakers, the EarPod speakers consist of a diaphragm/cone, a voice coil, a permanent magnet, and a cabinet. The voice coil is supported by a composite diaphragm made of a paper cone and a polymer surround. This is the first iteration of Apple headphones to use paper cones rather than all plastic.

* Apple had durability in mind with the new EarPods. The new remote design includes larger cable wrapping on both ends to reduce strain on the wires.

* To make the new EarPods more resistant to water and sweat damage, Apple’s designers removed the external microphone grate.

* The microphone in the EarPods’ remote bears the markings 2F17 045; we also uncovered another IC with the markings TI25ASGVI, which Chipworks believes to be an ADC, or a device used for volume-control duty.

PhotoCourtesy iFixIt

* While all these components look large when shot in our pictures, but they’re quite small in real life. This is how the remote’s circuit board looks like when compared to a U.S. dime: http://bit.ly/S34e7V

Miroslav Djuric
Chief Information Architect, iFixit

Three way comparison (Previous-generation iPhone earbuds, first-generation iPod earbuds, and Apple EarPods in that order)

PhotoCourtesy iFixIt

The teardown:


iFixit Kindle Fire HD Teardown

iFixIt’s Miroslav Djuric says:

The Kindle Fire HD landed in our hands on Friday, and we immediately got it on our operating table to see what lurks inside. Interestingly enough, the HD version is quite dissimilar internally from the regular Kindle Fire. It turns out that the new non-HD Kindle Fire is essentially the same thing we took apart a year ago, whereas the Kindle Fire HD contains a completely different layout.

The Kindle Fire HD received a solid 7 out of 10 repairability score. It’s fairly easy to access and replace the battery and most other internal components, but the CPU is covered with a copper tape heat sink that’s hard to re-seat correctly, and the LCD panel and glass are fused together. This unfortunate binding increases the cost of repair for the most oft-broken component of the tablet the front glass.

PhotoCourtesy iFixIt

* Confirmed: the Kindle Fire HD has a TI OMAP 4460 processor with 1 GB of Elpida RAM.

* We used a plastic opening tool to get our first glimpse at the internals. Not long ago, we praised the Nexus 7 for being so easy to get into compared to the iPad, and sacrificing only a single millimeter to do so. Fast forward a couple months later, and Amazon has an easy-to-open tablet that’s 0.1 mm thinner than the Nexus 7. We’ve said it once, and we’ll say it again: you don’t need to sacrifice thinness to make a repairable device.

* Thickness comparison among the major contenders:
* Kindle Fire HD: 10.3 mm
* Kindle Fire (2012): 11.43 mm
* Nexus 7: 10.4 mm
* iPad 3: 9.6 mm

* The battery is secured by four Phillips #00 screws and one lonely T5 Torx screw. While this single T5 Torx isn’t going to keep out our prying fingers, it might be enough to sour the battery removal attempts of those less well-equipped. Lesson learned, kids: don’t bring your Phillips to a Torx fight.

* Inside we find that the battery is enclosed within a metal casing. We believe this is for structural reinforcement, as well as for shielding the battery from any possible electrical damage.

* The Kindle Fire HD gets 11 hours of spark from a 3.7 V, 4400 mAh, 16.43 Wh Li-ion battery that as in most mobile devices dominates the majority of the inner real estate. That’s the same amount of juice as the regular Kindle Fire (which Engadget found to last 7:42 hours), and just a tad more than the Nexus 7’s 4326 mAh unit which lasts 9:49 hours. So take that 11-hour figure with a grain of salt, and possibly some pepper.

* Some careful work with a razor blade allowed us to peel up the copper tape covering the main processor. The copper tape allows the processor to dissipate heat, but is more problematic to remove than a good ol’ fashioned heat sink.

PhotoCourtesy iFixIt

* These are the ICs that Amazon threw into the Fire HD to make it burn:
* Samsung KLMAG2GE4A eMMC 16 GB Flash Memory and Flash Memory Controller
* Elpida B8164B3PF-1D-F 8 Gb (1 GB) DDR2 RAM
* Texas Instruments TWL6032 Fully Integrated Power Management IC
* Broadcom BCM2076 GPS, Bluetooth 4.0, and FM Receiver/Transmitter
* Wolfson WM8962E Ultra-Low Power Stereo CODEC
* B50 5222 12507A9A10

* The backside of the motherboard is mostly barren, save for the InvenSense MPU-6050 six-axis gyro + accelerometer.

* Just like last year’s Kindle Fire, we delayered the main POP to see what processor lurks underneath the RAM. The Texas Instruments OMAP 4460 dual-core processor we uncovered is an upgrade from the standard Fire’s 4430 processor.

* The display is manufactured by LG Electronics, and labeled as LD070WX3-SL01.

* We found an Atmel maXTouch mXT768E mutual capacitance touchscreen controller hiding underneath a piece of tape on the ribbon cable attached to the LCD. Silly Atmel, you’ll have to do better than tape if you want to hide the chip from us.

Miroslav Djuric
Chief Information Architect, iFixit

PhotoCourtesy iFixIt

The teardown:

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