iFixit opens the Apple Watch Series 7 with the help of ex-Apple engineers


The Apple Watch Series 7 became the subject of conspiracy theories and harsh criticism ever since it was announced on September 14. After a much-delayed release and some trouble with supply, some units finally reached retail stores and those who ordered it.

iFixit has also got their hands on one and is here to do what they do best—tear it down. This time, though, with some help from a company called Instrumental consisted of ex-Apple engineers, some of whom worked on early designs for the Apple Watch.

What’s hiding behind Apple Watch Series 7’s new screen?

Most likely unsurprising to most of us, iFixit’s teardown shows us that it is as boring to dissect the Apple Watch Series 7 as it is to talk about it. Nevertheless, it can’t be all the same as the previous model, so here are the few changes that iFixit spotted.As you might have noticed, this year’s Apple Watches are millimeters larger than their predecessors. The smaller 40mm model has now become 41mm, and the larger 44mm is now a more rounded number of 45mm.

Well, this tiny increase in its overall size has also allowed for a tiny increase in the batteries. In the 41mm model, that amounts to a 6.8% bigger battery and 1.6% for the 45mm. Unfortunately, the increase in size doesn’t have any real effect on the battery life. As iFixit points out, the brighter screen counteracts the gains from a more sizable battery.

During the teardown, one other change that stood out was a missing diagnostic port that had previously lived between the battery and one of the watch band slots. Some time back, we made an article for a “hidden” 60.5GHz wireless connection in the Apple Watch Series 7, which is what Apple is now using for diagnostics instead.

How about the screen itself?

The moment the Apple Watch Series 7 got announced, Apple made it very clear that the biggest (almost the only) improvement made is in the screen, which is now larger and tougher. In the teardown, iFixit points out that thanks to the new display now being a touch-integrated OLED, it is actually “less complex at first glance.”In fact, the ex-Apple engineers from Instrumental say this new screen might be the culprit behind the delayed launch and problems with supply.

To backtrack a little, the Apple Watch Series 7 brings another durability improvement besides the tougher screen, and that’s IP6X certification. The certification means that the watch is resistant to dust particles, which iFixit points out was achieved thanks to the removal of the diagnostics port, but also thanks to a redesigned grill for the speaker.

How repairable is the Apple Watch Series 7?

At the end of the day, the Apple Watch Series 7 gets the same repairability score as its two previous models—a 6/10. Of course, that doesn’t come as a surprise given how similar they are.

iFixit managed to replace the Taptic Engine, but more importantly the display of the Series 7 without affecting its functionality. Replacing an Apple Watch display has never been easy per se, but at least you know it’s possible and how to do it thanks to iFixit.

You can get detailed instructions for this and other DIY repairs on the iFixit website.


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