Apple’s self-service iPhone kit gets iFixit’s teardown treatment

iFixit regularly does dissections of the latest Apple gadgets, but this time the repair resource site compared their tools to other tools by reviewing Apple’s new iPhone self-service repair kit (via me more). The process of disassembling Apple’s repair tools has been documented and posted on iFixit’s YouTube channel Inside Check out the display press, battery press and heated display removal jigs.

The video begins with a disassembly of the display press, which has a really smooth-acting handle that the iFixit host loved the most, describing it as “every time it slides up, a swan flies.” The handle is smooth because it uses ball bearings that move on a revolving track like a conveyor belt as the press moves up and down. It also houses an easily removable AA-size lithium battery housed in a C-size case that powers a small control board that activates the countdown timer screen.

The display press has a mosaic-like rubber frame that presses onto the phone to seal in a new waterproof adhesive. Each section of the frame has a different spring force, but the strongest force is reserved for the corners.

The tools video teardown was performed on tools purchased by iFixit and cost approximately $587.35 for the three tools, based on prices set on Apple’s self-service website. You don’t have to buy all of these tools, since Apple will send them to you as a $49 loan kit, but there’s a catch.

The edge‘s Sean Hollister tested the kit himself and found how difficult Apple makes it for people who want to do a simple repair themselves. In addition to the $49 rental fee and $69 for the new battery (the same amount you would pay at an Apple Store), Apple also required a $1,200 deposit to ensure the £79 repair tools were in Pelican cases that it ships are returned to the company intact.

The setup seems amazingly overhauled, but also very well designed – although the other press for the battery was less impressive and “boring” according to the iFixit host. They described the battery press as a “sophisticated lawsuit avoidance system” and alluded to its primary function of reducing the chances of the user punctured and causing a battery fire. But it merely presses a silicone roller onto the battery with a precise force just enough to adhere to the new battery.

The third tool is the Heated Display Removal Jig, the most complex of the three tools in the video. The iFixit host describes it as “jerky” due to its appearance, as it comes with a mismatched white power cord — the same angled one that came with 2012 and newer Intel iMacs. This tool comes with a “hot pocket” which is basically a metal frame sized specifically for the iPhone you want to open. When you push the hot pocket into the heated display removal tool, it activates a switch that allows it to begin heating, but only when it detects that a phone is actually installed inside. The host also noted that the LCD screen on the front is technically a touchscreen, but it’s not used that way at all.

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