updated 11:02 pm EDT, Thu September 20, 2012
iFixit begins teardown work within an hour of first availability
The repair and disassembly experts at iFixit have completed a preliminary teardown of the new iPhone 5. Highlights of the teardown include confirmation of the Qualcomm MDM9615M 4G LTE processor and the Broadcom BCM976 used in the MacBook Air's trackpad, the latter of which has been repurposed for the touchscreen on the iPhone. Also notable is reverse disassembly in the iPhone 5 from the iPhone 4 series -- the screen and digitizer come off first, rather than the back panel.
More modular construction and the screen assembly removal early in the process points toward easier repair of the iPhone 5. During the early phases of the teardown, iFixit noted that "it took 38 steps to isolate the display assembly, and this iPhone may be the most repairable iPhone we've seen in a while."
Some of the chips on the motherboard have been used in other manufacturers' phones and previous iPhone models -- the STMicroelectronics L3G4200D (AGD5/2235/G8SBI ) low-power three-axis gyroscope and the Murata 339S0171 Wi-Fi Module are found in other phones. Two Apple chips marked 228S1131 and 338S1117 adorn the underside of the board, but their function hasn't yet been revealed.
Overall, the device has internal design nods to both the iPhone 3G and 4 families. The front-to-back disassembly process and fewer soldered connections or components with ribbon cables snaking through the interior make the phone the easiest to service since the iPhone 3GS.