Just as we figuratively broke the iPhone 5 open in our exhaustive review, the folk at iFixit have begun to do so for real. Their teardown of Apple's latest and greatest reveals exactly how easy the device will be to repair (with this being a particular source of controversy for previous Apple products) as well as revealing the source of certain components.
'It may be the most repairable iPhone we've seen in a while.'
The iPhone 5 appears to do well on the repairability front — iFixit says that it "may be the most repairable iPhone we've seen in a while." The phone is easily opened from front-to-back with a suction cup, meaning that the glass shouldn't be too difficult to replace for most, and both the battery and display assembly are also easily removed. Another pain point for iPhone 4 and 4S owners was the home button, which often became less responsive over time, but that too seems to be easier to replace on the 5. It's also housed in a metal support bracket, which iFixit believes will make it less likely to break in the first place.
The DDR2 SDRAM used appears to be from Elpida, marking a departure from the Samsung parts often used in the past. Apple typically sources memory from multiple suppliers, though so we shouldn't read too deeply into the change — the iPhone 5 keynote even showed Samsung RAM identifiers silkscreened onto the A6 processor. As speculated, the separate LTE data and voice radio is Qualcomm's MDM9615M, making the iPhone 5 the first smartphone to ship with this component. It allows for simultaneous voice and data transfer, though not all carriers will support this.
Finally, the iPhone 5 seems to be reasonably scratch-resistant, with the black aluminum coating and sapphire crystal-covered camera resisting iFixit's stress tests well enough. The shiny chamfered edges don't fare so well, though, and it looks like you'll need a case if you want your new phone to remain pristine. iFixit isn't quite done stripping the iPhone 5 to its bones yet, so we'll let you know if any further revelations arise.