Apple's new iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus are slightly easier to repair than their forerunners, the iPhone 5C and 5S, iFixit said today after tearing apart the smartphones in Australia, where the devices first went on sale Friday.
iFixit, a popular electronics do-it-yourself repair website, gave the new iPhones a repair score of 7 out of a possible 10, the same as 2012's iPhone 5, but better than the scores by 2013's iPhone 5C and 5S, which were each awarded 6 out of 10. The site credited the better score for this year's round of iPhones to easier removal of their batteries and the change to the fingerprint scanner's cable, which last year was easily torn from its socket while opening the case.
"The battery is straight-forward to access. Removing it requires a proprietary pentalobe screwdriver and knowledge of the adhesive removal technique, but is not difficult," iFixit said in its iPhone 6 teardown, published earlier today. Apple has used the pentalobe screws since the iPhone 4 of 2010.
"[And] the fingerprint sensor cable has been re-routed, fixing a significant repairability issue with the iPhone 5S and making the phone much safer to open," iFixit it continued.
iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus sales started today in Australia, where iFixit had sent staffers to get their hands on the new smartphones and disassemble the devices. They obtained both the iPhone 6, which boasts a 4.7-in. display -- up from the 4-in. screen of the iPhone 5C, 5S and 5 -- and the iPhone 6 Plus, for Apple a Godzilla-sized smartphone equipped with a 5.5-in. display.
iFixit's iPhone 6 Plus teardown confirmed that the Apple-designed A8 SoC (system on a chip) contained 1MB of cache memory, and iFixit presumed that the same chip in the iPhone 6 did as well. The 1MB was the same amount as in the last several years' worth of iPhone's A-series SoCs. Some had speculated before the devices' release that Apple would push the SoC RAM to 2MB in at least the iPhone 6 Plus.
The tear-down specialists also revealed that both the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus contained more powerful batteries than last year's iPhone 5S.
iFixit found that the iPhone 6 uses a 3.82-volt, 1810 mAh (milliamps hour) battery, compared to the iPhone 5S's 3.8-volt, 1560 mAh battery, for a 16% increase in milliamp hour, an indicator of how long a battery will run between recharges.
The larger iPhone 6 Plus, with its corresponding larger case and thus space for a larger battery, uses a 3.82-volt, 2915 mAh battery, an 87% increase over the iPhone 5S and a 61% improvement over the iPhone 6.
In the two years since the debut of the iPhone 5, Apple has boosted the battery of its flagship -- this year's iPhone 6, more akin to the 2012 model than the super-sized 6 Plus -- by 26%.
Apple claimed that the iPhone 6 Plus will provide 24 hours of talk time, 384 hours of standby, up to 12 hours of Internet use over LTE, and as much as 14 hours of video playback. The less-expensive iPhone 6's numbers, said Apple, were 14 hours of talk time, 250 hours on standby, 10 hours over LTE and 11 hours of video playback.
The iPhone 6 and 6 Plus went on sale today at Apple's retail stores and other outlets in the U.S., Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Japan, Puerto Rico, Singapore and the U.K. Lines were very long at some Apple stores, according to financial analyst Brian White of Cantor Fitzgerald, who did spot checks in New York City today.
"Our visits to Apple stores in NYC this morning highlighted lines that we would describe as unprecedented relative to our checks in recent years," White wrote in a note to clients Friday. He estimated lines were 30% to 50% larger than last year.