It’s been about three weeks since the Apple iPhone 5S and 5C were introduced and iFixit wasted no time in dissecting the devices.
The 5S proved to be slightly more difficult to take apart compared to its predecessor. Held down with globs of glue, the 1560mAh battery in the 5S requires heat and prying in order to be removed, while the iPhone 5 was equipped with a convenient pull tab.
Without easy battery replacement, iPhones don’t last that long. This is when consumers usually start tossing old phones into junk drawers or even the trash to pick up a new one.
How long do iPhone batteries last?
That depends on the amount of use, but Apple rates the lifespan of an iPhone battery at around 400 complete charges.
Let’s take a look into the design of the newest iPhone 5S feature, the Touch ID sensor.
In order to inspect the sensor in the home button, iFixit had to bring in a suction cup. They found that this added to the poor repairability score because if pulled too hard the fingerprint sensor cable could be easily ripped out of socket.
Although sapphire is the second-hardest material on the planet, there is concern of the sapphire material covering the sensor degrading over time, which is common in CMOS fingerprint senors.
Another downfall of the iPhone 5s is its display. The front glass, digitizer and LCD are all one component increasing cost of repair, leaving little wiggle room for easy refurbishment and parts repair by IT asset management organizations.
We have to give Apple credit for their iPhones having at least always been manufactured out of recyclable materials. On the other hand, the iPhone 5C, Apple’s penetration into the cheap smarthphone market, is made of 14 grams of hard-to-recycle polycarbonate. Every port, button and slider has had its metal traded out for plastic.
How do you recycle polycarbonate material?
This electronics recycling process requires chemical recycling to break down the plastic for reuse. ITAD vendors would have to ground off, burn off, somehow remove the lacquer coating in order to even reuse the plastic.
Is the iPhone 5C environmentally friendly?
The iPhone 5C isn’t the hardest to repair but it certainly was not designed for disassembly. iFixit discovered in its breakdown that the 5C is not really environmentally friendly and is difficult to recycle.
The verdict? Both the 5S and 5C earned a 6 out of 10 in repairability.
OEMs must consider the after-affects electronics have on the environment. By encouraging design for disassembly in the early design phases, this will decrease regulation and potential liability while maintaining competitiveness in a marketplace of increasingly environmentally conscious consumers.