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September 24, 2018

Apple Watch Series 4 Teardown: 4% More Battery Capacity, Hidden Barometric Sensor, and Streamlined Internals

by John_A

iFixit has completed a teardown of the Apple Watch Series 4, providing a look inside a larger 44mm model with LTE.

Image Credit: iFixit
The repair experts believe that while the original Apple Watch was awkwardly layered together and used too much glue, the Series 4 lineup feels “much more thoughtfully laid out,” likening it to the iPhone 5.

Apple pundit John Gruber has compared this to the leap in design brought by the iPhone 4, and we might even go a bit further and call it an iPhone 5: a device that knows its priorities, and wants to look as elegant inside as out.

At first glance, the internal design of Series 4 models looks more or less the same as previous models, with the battery and Taptic Engine taking up most of the space. Dig deeper, however, and the changes become evident.

Image Credit: iFixit
Teardown highlights:

  • 291.8 mAh battery, which is 4% more capacity than the 279 mAh battery in 42mm-sized Apple Watch Series 3 models.
  • A thinner and longer Taptic Engine, but iFixit says it still takes up a lot of space that could have gone to a larger battery.
  • The barometric sensor may have been relocated to the speaker grille for access to the outside atmosphere. The sensor had its own dedicated hole beside the microphone on Apple Watch Series 3 models.
  • The new Apple S4 chip is secured only with screws, whereas the processor is also “fiercely glued” in previous Apple Watch models.
  • The golden ring is likely a streamlined antenna system, as iFixit says it has not seen the usual fiddly brackets or golden gaskets.
  • The entire rear casing pops off more easily.
  • The display is not only larger, but also thinner.

iFixit says the Apple Watch Series 4 is nearing iPhone levels of repairability, with the highly-glued display being the primary remaining obstacle. Beyond that, they say the battery is straightforward to replace.

Image Credit: iFixit
All in all, the Series 4 received a “solid” 6/10 on iFixit’s repairability scale, with 10 being the best possible score. That’s the same repairability score iFixit gave the iPhone XS and XS Max in its teardown of those devices.

Related Roundups: Apple Watch, watchOS 5Tags: iFixit, teardownBuyer’s Guide: Apple Watch (Buy Now)
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