Apple Watch Teardown Reveals Its Big Secrets

Today is the official launch day of the Apple Watch, although many people will need to wait weeks—or even months, depending on the model they preordered—for their device to actually arrive in the mail.

As Apple fanatics around the world rush to stores, hoping against hope that Apple will have a few Watch units available for purchase on launch day, the capable crew over at iFixit has decided to tear down the device in order to see “what makes it tick.” The resulting piece is well worth a read if you’re a hardware geek interested in how tech companies assemble their devices.

As with other Apple products, the Watch offers precious few screws or other obvious means of entry to its internals. After prying open the back of the 38-mm version of the Watch with a knife (kids, don’t try this at home), the iFixit crew found a “wee” 3.8 V, 0.78 Wh lithium-ion battery, relatively miniscule to the ones found in smartwatch competitors such as the Moto 360 and the Samsung Gear Live. “Hopefully, Apple’s Watch OS will help the battery stand the test of time and avoid the problems that initially plagued the Moto 360,” the iFixit crew wrote.

In order to cram all the necessary components into a tiny case, Apple evidently did some creative things with hardware assembly, such as threading the microphone ribbon cable around the inner and outer layers of the case. Everything else—from the water-resistant O-rings to the Taptic Engine that taps wearers on the wrist—is predictably tiny.

After some additional prying, in which they most definitely void the device’s warranty, the iFixit crew arrived at the heart of the Watch: The S1 processor, also described as a “System in Package” (SiP). Apple coated much of the S1 in resin, making it difficult to discern many of the component’s secrets; however, the difficulty in prying it away from the device solved one longstanding question: Apple probably didn’t build this with the intention of allowing users to eventually swap out processors. If you bought the $10,000 Apple Watch Edition with the vague hope that you’d be able to upgrade the hardware at some point, you’re out of luck.

The rest of the iFixit teardown plunges into the watch’s sensors and other components; if you’re into hardware, and you have some time to kill before your Apple Watch arrives, check it out.

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Image: iFixit

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