iPhone 5s teardown finds bigger battery and Sony camera amidst LTE improvements

The iPhone 5s has been out for less than a day but iFixit, as it tradition, has already taken the phone apart to find the secrets within.

Aside from using an identical 4-inch screen, much has changed on the phone’s inside. The dual-core A7 chip, though unconfirmed, is likely built on Samsung’s 28nm manufacturing process, and the device comes with 1GB of RAM, though its DDR3 heritage makes it much faster than more power efficient.

There’s also a 1560mAh battery, an increase of 120mAh over the iPhone 5; this, combined with a more efficient LTE receiver and baseband combination, should lend the average user more battery time, even though the dual-core A7 chip is a bit more power-hungry.

The iPhone 5s uses the same Qualcomm MDM9615M modem as last year, but its WRT1605L receiver gives it many more LTE bands on a single chip, allowing Apple to build fewer SKUs for distribution around the world. Unfortunately, the combo doesn’t allow for LTE-Advanced speeds of 150Mb/s, which many devices boasting Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 800 do allow (the LG G2 is one of the first among them). This may not be an issue today, but in a couple years from users may be hurt by its exclusion.

There’s also a new camera sensor, which is still provided by Sony. Apple claims it is 15% larger than in the iPhone 5 and combines with an improved image signal processor inside the A7 for a better camera experience.

Of course, iFixit’s mandate is to discover how repairable a device is, and thanks to a sticky issue with the fingerprint scanner — it has a cable that is attaches to the motherboard, and is prone to breaking — it only scores a 6 out of 10.

As for the iPhone 5c, iFixit found it to be largely similar to the iPhone 5 on the inside but for an updated front-facing camera and the same new LTE transceiver from Qualcomm. It also has a larger 1510mAh battery.