The Apple Watch has started shipping out to the first batch of users who preordered the device, and the team at iFixit has gotten their hands on an Apple Watch from the Sport collection.
The iFixit team, of course, initiated their trademark teardown on the Apple Watch Sport, which saw the device disassembled to have its components analyzed.
iFixit begins by studying the externals of the Apple Watch Sport, beginning with the fancy graphic visualization that the device features. The Sport band of the device looks complicated to fasten, but thankfully the instructions are printed right at the back of the band.
The back of the device's case reveals a composite cover that protects several photodiodes and LEDs. The Sport band, when removed by sliding out the metal peg that holds it to the watch, reveals what the iFixit team thinks is the reported diagnostic port.
The iFixit team then whips out its iOpener tool to pry open the Apple Watch Sport's display, which reveals cables connected under a springy bracket that makes it hard to disconnect the device's display. Once the display is disconnected, revealed underneath is the first close look at the highly advertised Taptic Engine and Digital Crown of the Apple Watch.
After comparing the Apple Watch Sport at that point to the internals of an old mechanical watch, and showing how much the repair tools have changed through the times, the iFixit team proceeds with the teardown by easily removing the device's battery.
The battery is a 3.8V, 0.78Wh, 205 mAh lithium-ion battery, and according to Apple, it could last for up to 18 hours. While the battery is smaller compared to the 300 mAh battery of other smartwatches such as the Samsung Gear Live and the Moto 360, the iOS version for the Apple Watch may translate into a better battery life for the Apple Watch Sport.
The iFixit team had to modify their tools to take out the smallest Tri-wing screws that they have ever seen, which is notable as the team rarely does not have the right tool to complete its teardowns. The team then proceeds to release the microphone ribbon cable that is ensnared in the middle of the inner and outer layers of the device's case.
Next to remove is the Taptic Engine, attached to the device's speaker. The component creates movement in straight lines to provide haptic feedback when the device is tapped. Combined with the subtle sounds by the speaker, the Taptic Engine has been designed to create a unique motion. The speaker is also the next component to come off.
The very small antenna component, tucked into a case recess, is then removed. The component is thought to house the Bluetooth and Wi-Fi features. A similarly small button assembly is then removed, then a tiny panel that leads to the removal of the supposed diagnostic port.
The bracket of the Digital Crown is the next to go, which allows the iFixit team to remove the S1 SiP, which is the Apple Watch's integrated computer. The back of the S1 SiP, however, looks like a mess, with cables and adhesive everywhere. The difficulty of removing the S1 SiP also puts to rest the rumors that the device is upgradeable by merely swapping out components.
Looking back at the Apple Watch Sport's display panel, the iFixit team sees the Analog Devices AD7166 ARM Cortex M3 chip and what could be Apple's solar cell ambient light sensor. The Digital Crown component, on the other hand, seems to feature its own encoder system.
At the bottom of the case of the Apple Watch Sport are the device's sensors and lenses, along with a magnet that sets the device on its inductive charger.
The iFixit team conducts teardowns to evaluate the repairability of devices, and with the difficulty in getting the Apple Watch disassembled, it means that it will be very difficult for users to do self-repairs on the device.
iFixit has given the Apple Watch Sport a repairability score of 5 out of 10. While the band and display of the device can be easly replaced, most of the device's parts are very difficult to access and replace.