Apple Watch Teardown Proves It's Hard To Fix - InformationWeek

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IoT
IoT
Mobile // Mobile Devices
Commentary
4/24/2015
02:10 PM
Eric Zeman
Eric Zeman
Commentary
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Apple Watch Teardown Proves It's Hard To Fix

The miniscule battery in the Apple Watch is the only component nimble-fingered technicians might be able to replace, according to iFixit's latest report.

10 Apple Watch Apps For Business, Productivity
10 Apple Watch Apps For Business, Productivity
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Apple's mobile devices are generally not easy for do-it-yourselfers to fix. The Apple Watch, which launches today, proves no exception. iFixit's teardown of Apple's new wearable shows the construction makes it all-but-impossible to repair.

iFixit says the watch bands are easy to remove and swap, but points out they don't conform to industry standards. Given the wide variety of bands Apple is making available for the Watch, the company clearly expects consumers to purchase extra bands and change them regularly. Everything else about the Apple Watch is difficult.

The screen has to be removed to access any of the innards, and iFixit says the display doesn't come off easily. iFixit used razor blades to pry it loose. Once the screen is off, the battery is easy to remove. Only a small amount of glue holds it in place.

(Image: iFixit)

(Image: iFixit)

The battery is just 205mAh, which is much smaller than the Moto 360's 300mAh battery and the LG G Watch R's 400mAh battery. Early reviews of the Apple watch said the device struggled to last a full day, so it's curious that Apple gave it such a small power supply.

Beyond the battery, not much else can be replaced.

"Removing any other component is essentially impossible," according to the iFixit engineers. "All peripheral cables are soldered onto the back of the S1 [processor]. While not proprietary, incredibly tiny tri-wing screws are a repair hindrance, especially when Torx or Phillips could have been used."

The S1 processor is encased in resin, which iFixit says makes board-level repairs impossible.

iFixit tore the Apple Watch down completely, however, and splayed its guts in fine fashion on video. The heart rate monitor component proved surprising.

"Apple's heart rate monitor is actually a plethysmograph that looks and acts like a pulse oximeter, but Apple isn't claiming it can measure your blood oxygen level. Why? Beats us. But it's probably FDA regulation related," according to the iFixit report.

With really only one replaceable part, iFixit said the Apple Watch isn't designed for the long haul. That's a rather concerning sentiment given that some models cost as much as $17,000.

Apple made the Watch available for preorders April 10. The first wave of devices is reaching consumers April 24. Consumers can go to Apple Stores to look at, and even try on the Apple Watch, but for the moment Apple is only selling the device online. (You can buy one at some high-end boutique shops.) Supply of the device is limited, and delivery times stretch out until July for select models.

[Read about the teardown of the Galaxy S6 Edge.]

It's been a busy few weeks for the iFixit team. Earlier this month, engineers tore down the new Samsung Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge and found that the removable battery of older models is now gone, making the smartphones harder to fix.

Interop Las Vegas, taking place April 27-May 1 at Mandalay Bay Resort, is the leading independent technology conference and expo series dedicated to providing technology professionals the unbiased information they need to thrive as new technologies transform the enterprise. IT Pros come to Interop to see the future of technology, the outlook for IT, and the possibilities of what it means to be in IT.

Eric is a freelance writer for InformationWeek specializing in mobile technologies. View Full Bio
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Ashu001
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Ashu001,
User Rank: Ninja
6/2/2015 | 11:32:11 AM
Re: iwatch has many surprises
Pedro,

You will be amazed to know that I was discussing this very issue with my friend just today itself!

My Laptop is 4 years old (and really starting to creak...LOL!!!) and my Smartphone is 2 years old(and is starting to groan as well).

Both have reached what certainly looks like the end of their lives.

But I still want to keep using them continously till I can squeak every single last amount of Work from them.

This makes me an outlier(atleast that's what My friend says).

I on the other hand,value my hard-earned money enormously and want it to go every single extra mile for me!

Will definitely buy new stuff when the old stuff really,really breaks down.Still not there yet.

 
PedroGonzales
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PedroGonzales,
User Rank: Ninja
5/22/2015 | 10:25:54 PM
Re: iwatch has many surprises
I think if you can't get your consumer to buy your product, make them really fragile so they HAVE to get the same product.  Even with Ipads, it is usually a onetime purchase unless it breaks or is in need of repairs.  I think people have enough electronic devices, we definitely don't need more
nomii
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nomii,
User Rank: Ninja
5/19/2015 | 2:46:44 AM
Re: iwatch has many surprises
@Ashu001: Customers are spending upon junk electronics, for me spending a huge amount on every new model of a smartphone is not necessary especially when almost everything can be done with the previous one. But still people want to get hold on the new device and make previous one like a junk even if it was bought a few months back. I don't see such a trend to be adopted in smart watch in near future which is necessary for its success.
nomii
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nomii,
User Rank: Ninja
5/19/2015 | 2:39:53 AM
Re: iwatch has many surprises
I think Samsung gear would have got better response from the users if they would have made it water resistant. The price was good as compared to apple watch, synchronization with smartphone was fine and had all the qualities of setting a new trend. But small mistakes had let the users start thinking about alternatives. I am not sure if they would be able to bring it back with a boom.
Ashu001
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Ashu001,
User Rank: Ninja
5/16/2015 | 11:33:44 AM
Re: iwatch has many surprises
Pedro,

With the recent sharp fall in Oil Prices[YoY];even Oil Magnates are having a Hard-time justifying frivolous expenses.

LOL!!!

Jokes apart your points are well-taken here.

Apple has a really-really hard time on hand trying to convince consumers regarding the Repeat Utility of Buying the same Electronic Junk over and over and over again!

 
Ashu001
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Ashu001,
User Rank: Ninja
5/16/2015 | 11:29:56 AM
Re: iwatch has many surprises
Nomii,

I share your very same scepticism regarding this Device.

It also does'nt help that Gasoline(&Diesel as well) prices are up sharply since the Begginning of the Year.

Lets wait and watch how customer Demand pans out now when you realize that Customers really are'nt spending as much money on Junk Electronics as before.

Especially on Devices which don't really have much Practical Use going ahead now.
Ashu001
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Ashu001,
User Rank: Ninja
5/16/2015 | 11:24:00 AM
Re: iwatch has many surprises
Nomii,

You raised a very-very valid point here.

The amazing thing about the Samsung Gear is that ,retailers are'nt even stocking the Device anymore(on their Display shelves).

The Customer Response to the Device has been that bad.

If you want to see how it looks like you have to make do with a Dummy!

LOL!

Not just that if you order a Piece they will deliver it to you after 24 hours or so from their Warehouse.

The Apple Watch is definitely seeing slightly better response but not by much.

 
nomii
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nomii,
User Rank: Ninja
5/15/2015 | 9:11:21 AM
Re: iwatch has many surprises
I am afraid that it would be hard for iwatch alone to make an impact. It should be collaborated with another device, smartphone is already a big no and has been proven by gear. So a little low priced supporting gadgets if integrated to the watch might be able to make a difference.
nomii
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nomii,
User Rank: Ninja
5/15/2015 | 9:06:06 AM
Re: iwatch has many surprises
@Ashu001: I think Samsung learned from their experience early, we didn't see any promotion of their gear with the last few products because it decline could have affected the sales of their primary product which is smartphone. On the other hand apple has so much invested in its marketing that apple watch has become the talk of the town, even if it is not quoted in good words. It will be a bit difficult for them to fade it away now.
PedroGonzales
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PedroGonzales,
User Rank: Ninja
5/14/2015 | 8:47:38 PM
Re: iwatch has many surprises
I agree. I do not know how anyone unless you are an oil magnate would want to replace their iwatch regularly.  I think it is still too early to tell whether the iwatch will make the impact it says it will.  So far it is just speculation. 
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