Tumblr has been enjoying a resurgence thanks to some recent
policy changes and ongoing chaos at Twitter, and that’s drawn a few
real-world celebrities like Ryan Reynolds and Lynda Carter to the platform. Unlike most big social
networks, though, Tumblr doesn’t verify high-profile accounts’ authenticity. That’s caused a little confusion
since, without a link from some known off-platform account, it’s almost impossible to tell if these accounts are
real. Fortunately, Tumblr
is rolling out a new feature that will do absolutely nothing to change this — and you can buy it for a
one-time fee of $7.99.
The Tumblr Important Blue Internet Checkmark is
the latest of a few joke items Tumblr sells on its web store, and it does about what you’d expect: add a blue
check — actually two blue checks — next to a blog of your choice. In case it’s not 100 percent clear, this is a
complete vanity purchase that confers no special status and requires nothing except paying around $8. Where Twitter’s
new verification plan gets you some extra site features via Twitter Blue for $8 a month, your only perk
here is that the badge “may turn into a bunch of crabs at any time.” (If your Tumblr hasn’t been updated since
2014 or so, this references an on-site April Fools’ joke.)
More seriously, this joke cements the status quo that Tumblr — currently owned by WordPress.com operator
Automattic — isn’t interested in verification. Knowledge of the site’s real-world-famous members is a kind of
community lore, mostly centered on author and active Tumblr user Neil Gaiman, who chats with fans regularly
about things like Netflix’s Sandman adaptation and whether
he is actually Neil Gaiman. (He is.) And for now,
it’s likely to stay that way.
Meanwhile, Twitter is still figuring out the precise details of its verification strategy, including when
previously verified users who don’t subscribe will lose their checks. But new owner Elon Musk stated today that it will happen in the
coming months, asserting that the site needed to be purged of “corrupt” blue badges. His public views on crabs,
as well as whether he violated
a federal consent decree and asked
Twitter engineers to risk prison over it, remain unknown.
On Sunday, NASCAR driver Ross Chastain made history with an unprecedented wall-riding maneuver that qualified him
for a championship race and set the record for the fastest lap on the track at 18.845 seconds. Remarkably,
Chastain said he learned the move playing NASCAR 2005 on the Nintendo GameCube when he was a kid.
The maneuver happened at the
Xfinity 500 race hosted at Martinsville Speedway in Ridgeway, Virginia. Martinsville is a half-mile
short track built in 1947 that is well known for its tight, shallow-banked turns that usually require heavy
braking to negotiate.
During the final lap of the race, Chastain found himself in 10th place but
to pick up two positions to earn enough points to qualify for the
Championship race on
November 6. Instead of slowing down on the turn, Chastain shifted into fifth gear and gunned it, riding the
outside wall and passing five cars to finish the race in fith place.
In a post-race interview with NBC Sports, Chastain said, “I played a lot of NASCAR 2005 on the
GameCube with Chad [Chastain’s brother] growing up, and you can get away with it, and I never knew if it would
actually work. I did that when I was 8 years old.”
The game Chastain is referring to is likely
NASCAR 2005: Chase For the Cup , released in September 2004 for GameCube. Chastain, born in December 1992, would have been 12 at
the time. To check out the technique, we ran NASCAR 2005 in the Dolphin emulator on a PC, selected
the Martinsville track where Chastain pulled off his move, and rode the wall. It is indeed possible in the game,
although it takes a great deal of skill and a little luck to use the technique to pull ahead as Chastain did.
Ross Chastain explains his GameCube inspiration in a post-race interview.
To understand the advantage of Chastain’s move, a little knowledge of
racing physics comes in handy. Typically, when taking a tight turn on a racetrack, drivers brake to
counteract forces that push their cars toward the outside of the track. This braking action dramatically slows
them down on the turn. This time, instead of slowing down for the turn, Chastain kept his car in fifth gear,
hugged the wall, let go of the wheel, and allowed the wall to hold his car in place—no brakes necessary. That’s
how he passed five cars and set a 75-year lap record.
Of course, a move like that comes at a cost, which is probably why it hasn’t been tried—at least
successfully —until now. Chastain faced guaranteed damage to the finish of his car from scraping the
wall and potentially catastrophic failure if his car happened to hit a protruding obstruction. “Once I got
against the wall, I basically let go of the wheel and just hoped I didn’t catch the turn four access gate or
something crazy,” Chastain said, “But I was willing to do it.”
For now, the racing world is equal parts
surprised , and even a
little worried that Chastain’s move might become a regular technique going forward. For now, Chastain
likely appreciates the attention as he prepares for the Championship on November 6—thanks to the Nintendo
Apple has given its most direct confirmation yet that a USB-C-equipped iPhone will happen, now that the European
Union is mandating that all phones sold in its member countries use the connector if they have a physical
charger. When asked by The Wall Street Journal’s Joanna Stern if the company would replace Lightning, Apple’s
senior vp of worldwide marketing, Greg Joswiak, answered by saying: “Obviously, we’ll have to comply; we have no
Stern brought the law up during a talk with Joswiak and software VP Craig Federighi at the WSJ’s Tech Live
conference and followed up by asking when we can expect to see USB-C on an iPhone. Joswiak replied, “the
Europeans are the ones dictating timing for European customers.” Currently, the law dictates that “all mobile
phones and tablets” will have to use USB-C by “autumn 2024.” Joswiak refused to answer whether the company would
include the connector on phones sold outside the EU.
But he made it abundantly clear that Apple isn’t happy about being legally coerced into making the switch. Before
acknowledging that the company must comply with the law, Joswiak went into a long explanation about how Apple
has historically preferred to go its own way and trust its engineers rather than be forced into adopting
hardware standards by lawmakers. He cited the examples of Micro USB and hearing aid compliance as situations
where Apple has been pushed to meet ill-considered requirements.
He also suggested that charging bricks with detachable cables have mostly solved the issue of standardization and
claimed that switching the iPhone from Lightning to USB-C would cause lots of e-waste. (Personally, I don’t find
this argument compelling; I have to replace most of my Lightning cables every few years anyways, at around the
same cadence I buy new phones because they wear out or get chewed on by cats.)
Still, it’s telling what didn’t come up: a portless iPhone that relies solely on wireless charging, something
that would theoretically be allowed. Joswiak didn’t say that the company is weighing its options or mention
discussing ways to avoid putting a USB-C port on the iPhone. Instead, we got a resigned, slightly winding answer
that lead to what seems like an inevitable conclusion: USB-C is the future port for connecting to and charging
Apple’s latest base-model iPad cribs a lot of features from the more expensive iPad Air. But it also is
considerably more expensive than before, making it a tough sell.
The new 10th-generation iPad is ostensibly the new starting point
for the iPad line. It’s got a bigger screen, faster processor, and better design than the ninth-gen
model that came out in 2021 and has been the entry point for the iPad line for the past few years. The
bigger size screen and many of the design features have trickled down from the more expensive iPad Air, but the 10th-gen iPad has
an older processor and makes some other omissions to bring the price down.
At its core, this iPad is an excellent tablet with fast performance, reliable battery life, and a
vast library of optimized apps to make use of its large touchscreen.
But along with those upgrades comes a higher price: the 10th-gen iPad starts at $449, $120
more than the previous model, and can be kitted out to over $1,000 with storage, cellular, and accessory
upgrades. This is for the entry-level iPad with no qualifier after its name, the one that you buy for
casual use, kids, schoolwork, travel, and content consumption — it’s not really a device to replace your laptop
Apple seems to be aware of this conundrum because it’s still selling the ninth-gen iPad for $329, a much more
palatable and accessible price for the many people just looking for a basic iPad to do basic iPad things.
That puts this iPad in a weird spot — it’s certainly better than the ninth-gen model (which is still
great), but it costs considerably more and is not as good as an iPad Air. And since you can find a current iPad
Air on sale fairly easily at this point, this new iPad is not the iPad to buy right now despite the fact that it
has a lot going for it.
Looking the part
The 10th-gen iPad brings the squared-off, even-bezel, home button-less design
Apple introduced on the iPad Pro way back in 2018 to the sub-$500 price point. It’s very nearly a clone of the
last two iPad Air models, with the same size display and chassis measurements within a millimeter of the Air in
every dimension. (Those millimeters do mean it’s different, though, and precisely fitted cases can’t be swapped
between the Air and the new iPad.)
The updated look is much more modern than the ninth-gen iPad, but since we’ve seen variations of this
for four years now on other iPad models, it doesn’t look particularly fresh. It just looks like an iPad.
Like virtually every other iPad ever made, the new model has an excellent fit and finish that feels
nice to hold and interact with. My review unit is a yellow that I’m not especially fond of, but thankfully Apple
sells it in three other colors, including silver, blue, and pink.
Apple says the iPad has an “all-screen design” in its marketing materials, but let’s be honest here:
the front of this new iPad is not “all-screen.” There is a considerable bezel area framing the display, and
though it’s nice that it is the same size all around and provides a place to hold the thing without accidentally
touching the screen, it’s far from edge-to-edge. Plus, there’s a camera on the front. So even if you don’t count
the bezel, it’s not “all-screen.”
The camera is good news, though: in a long overdue change, Apple’s stuck the front-facing camera in
the bezel on the long edge of the screen, which makes using it for video calls in landscape orientation much
easier. It’s surprising that this is the first iPad to actually have the front camera in the right spot, but
it’s a safe bet we’ll see this change in future updates to other iPad models (though not for this year’s iPad
Pro M2, oddly). The camera itself is just fine, but the better placement makes using it for video calls from a
desk much less awkward. It still supports Apple’s self-centering Center Stage feature, but there’s no real point
to using it now that the camera is in the right spot, and I left it off for the majority of video meetings I
took on the iPad.
The biggest upgrade over the ninth-gen iPad, other than the updated design, is the larger screen,
which stretches out to 10.9 inches diagonally from 10.2. It’s the same size as the iPad Air’s screen, and it has
the same brightness and resolution. It’s a good size for a tablet and comfortable enough for getting light work
done as well as watching movies, reading, or playing games, even if it feels a bit cramped as a laptop
replacement. The roughly 3:2 aspect ratio also works well in either portrait or landscape orientations.
But unlike the screens on the iPad Air or Pro, this is not a laminated display, and it
has an inferior anti-glare coating to those models. That results in a screen that’s just not as nice to look at,
with more reflections, a noticeable gap between the glass and the LCD panel, and shifts in brightness when you
view it off-axis. These issues are much more forgivable at $329, but it’s a lot tougher to excuse this display
Also carried over from the iPad Air and Mini models are the Touch ID fingerprint scanner in the power
button on the left side (when in landscape orientation) and a USB-C port for charging and data in place of the
prior iPad’s Lightning port. The Touch ID scanner works well enough, even if it’s not quite as seamless and
convenient as the iPad Pro’s Face ID system. The USB-C port makes charging and attaching accessories like USB
hubs much more convenient than before, though it is limited to USB 2.0 data speeds and 4K 30Hz (or 1080p 60Hz)
external displays. I don’t think either of those limitations will matter much for the consumer uses this iPad is
The big thing that’s missing here is a headphone jack, which is a baffling deletion for the iPad that
is supposed to appeal to the widest range of people. A lot of schools and parents buy entry-level iPads for
kids, and not having a universal and easy way to plug in standard wired headphones will be frustrating. Apple
does include a braided USB-C cable (nice) and a 20W charging brick (bless) in the box, but there’s no USB-C to
3.5mm wired headphone adapter. That’ll cost you $9.
Magic Keyboard Follies
Despite the 10th-gen iPad looking like the iPad Air and iPad Pro
models, it doesn’t share any accessories with them. Instead of using the same Magic Keyboard as the Air and Pro,
the 10th-gen iPad gets a wholly new keyboard accessory called the Magic Keyboard Folio. (If you’re keeping
count, that brings Apple’s iPad keyboard
lineup up to six distinct models, and no, you can’t use this new one with an iPad Air or Pro.)
The staggeringly expensive $249 Magic Keyboard Folio (a full 55 percent of the iPad’s starting price,
putting an iPad-plus-keyboard kit at $700) has a two-piece magnetic design with a back cover with a kickstand
and a separate keyboard. The keyboard connects to the iPad via the Smart Connector on the tablet’s edge,
eliminating the need for a battery or Bluetooth connection.
Typing on the Folio keyboard is satisfying — the keys have the same amount of travel as Apple’s Magic
Keyboard, and they are well-sized and spaced apart. The trackpad is also excellent and even slightly larger than
the one on the Magic Keyboard. The inclusion of a function row with quick access keys for things like media
control, volume, and brightness, is much appreciated; the lack of any kind of backlighting is a dumb omission,
especially at this price.
Unlike the Magic Keyboard for the iPad Air and Pro, which features a unique floating design, the
Magic Keyboard Folio is a design we’ve seen many times before. It’s very similar to Microsoft’s Surface
keyboards and basically identical to the keyboards that are bundled with inexpensive tablets like Lenovo’s $300
Chromebook Duet. It’s even effectively the same design as the $160 Logitech Combo Touch, which comes in versions
for the iPad Air, Pro, and now the 10th-gen iPad.
This two-piece design provides more flexibility than the Magic Keyboard — you can pull the keyboard
off and still have a kickstand holding the tablet up for movie watching or gameplay with a controller. But it’s
also much less stable on my lap — I’m able to make it work, but it’s not nearly as comfortable as the Magic
Keyboard or a proper laptop. Microsoft solved this somewhat with more magnets to hold the keyboard in place
better, but Apple’s keyboard is much floppier on a lap. You really have the best experience using this on a desk
Apple’s design also limits how far back the kickstand can travel, so you can’t push it down to a
20-degree angle ideal for drawing or writing like you can with many other keyboard cases of this type. And just
like the Magic Keyboard, the Magic Keyboard Folio provides virtually no protection against drops — if you need
something with more protection, you should look at Logitech’s offering.
Lastly, the Magic Keyboard Folio only comes in white, so you’ll want to be careful using it while
eating a Doritos Locos Taco unless you want a slightly orange Magic Keyboard Folio.
Another confounding accessory situation is that the 10th-gen iPad doesn’t work
with the second-gen Apple Pencil, which has been shipping since 2018. It only works with the first-generation
model that came out way back in 2015. But since the new iPad doesn’t have a Lightning port anymore, pairing and
charging the $99 first-gen Pencil with this iPad requires a new $9 USB-C to Lightning adapter that plugs into a USB-C
cable that then plugs into the iPad itself. (Apple is bundling the adapter in the box with first-gen Pencils
purchased now, but if you’re upgrading from an older iPad and still want to use your Pencil with this one,
you’ll have to buy the adapter.)
So despite the new iPad having the same design as the iPad Air and Pro, complete with a flat side
that could be home to a second-gen Pencil, you’re stuck with a comical umbilical cord charging situation and
nowhere to store the Pencil when you’re not using it.
Those limitations with charging and storage were always weird with the first-gen Pencil but made more
sense when it was introduced as an add-on to an existing iPad design that wasn’t built to accommodate it. Apple
figured out a better iPad and Pencil solution back in 2018, and this iPad uses that better design, so
it’s baffling that we’re in this situation with a new iPad released in 2022.
So, yes, there’s an awkward charging situation and a silly little end cap that’s easy to lose. But
don’t worry, the first-gen Pencil is also worse to use than the second-gen model and doesn’t support things like
double-tap to switch between writing and erasing. Its glossy surface is also not as nice as the matte finish of
the newer model, and it has a much greater tendency to roll off a desk due to its circular design.
As for its performance, the first-gen ApplePencil is the same as the second-gen, and it has very
little lag and a smooth stroke. It’s pressure sensitive and has tilting support — both good for art and drawing
purposes — but I prefer Samsung and Microsoft’s softer-tipped styli for handwriting. The Pencil’s hard tip slips
and slides across the glass of the iPad and makes more noise when writing compared to the others.
For those who already have a first-gen Apple Pencil and are just looking to upgrade to this iPad,
it’s great that the older stylus is compatible with the new iPad. But Apple could have designed the iPad to work
with the second-gen Pencil and provided backward compatibility for the first-gen one for those that need it, and
it chose not to.
An Air on the inside
Inside, the 10th-gen iPad is a dead ringer for 2020’s fourth-gen iPad Air.
It’s got an A14 Bionic chip, Wi-Fi 6, and either 64GB or 256GB of storage. While the A14 is not as fast as the
M1 or M2 processors Apple’s putting into the more expensive iPads, I’d be shocked if most people can really
tell. This iPad has no problem doing the exact same tasks I use my 11-inch iPad Pro M1 for, from running
multiple apps side by side to jumping between tasks to playing games like Genshin Impact smoothly and
Apple now has four different processors (five if you count the still-available ninth-gen iPad) in its
lineup of iPads, but outside of the most demanding uses, all the iPads I’ve used perform effectively the same.
If you’re coming to this iPad from a model that’s considerably older, you will certainly notice a faster
experience using it. But you’ll also get a faster experience from the $329 A13-powered ninth-gen iPad and save
Consistently, what’s struck me the most in the time I’ve been using this iPad is just how similar it
is to every other modern iPad once you look past its lower-quality screen. There really wasn’t anything I
couldn’t or found frustrating to do on this iPad that I’m accustomed to doing on the iPad Air or an 11-inch iPad
Pro. That’s a different experience than I have with MacBooks, where I can notice the difference in performance
between a MacBook Air and a MacBook Pro.
Battery life on this iPad is right in line with what we’ve come to expect from every iPad released
over the last decade or so — it will last about 10 hours or more for basic tasks, closer to six or seven if you
try to use it for office productivity work. The 10th-gen iPad also has optional sub-6GHz 5G support, making it
useful when you don’t have Wi-Fi available, but that’s a $150 upcharge, and at that price, you might as well
just consider an iPad Air.
The iPad runs iPadOS 16, which isn’t a huge departure from the last couple of
versions of iPadOS. It’s got a lot of the features that arrived on the iPhone in iOS 16, including editable
iMessages, live text for video, and the ability to pull a subject out of a picture and place them into another
app. It also has more options for adjusting the way apps are arranged in split-screen mode, as well as more
configurability for toolbar layouts in apps.
What’s missing in iPadOS 16 on this model compared to the Air or Pro is the Stage Manager windowing
feature and the ability to adjust the display scaling to show more things on the screen at a smaller size. At
least lacking Stage Manager isn’t a loss — it’s not a great experience in its current state — and unless you’re
coming to the new iPad from an Air or a Pro and are used to the scaling option, you’re not likely to miss that,
iPadOS remains very straightforward and easy to use for tablet tasks, such as reading, light email,
watching movies, or playing games. It can also handle light workloads — I wrote much of this review on the iPad
in Google Docs in the Safari browser — but it still struggles with multitasking and heavier workloads compared
to a laptop. The 10.9-inch screen quickly gets cramped when working with longer documents and multiple apps, as
well. I don’t think many people are actually replacing their laptop with an iPad at this level, and if they are,
they are likely light users and aren’t hamstrung by iPadOS’s limitations.
I have seen some odd graphical and display bugs here and there, though, which tarnishes the polish
that we’ve come to expect from Apple’s platforms. Given that iPadOS 16 is actually launching as iPadOS 16.1, I’d
have expected these bugs to be ironed out, but it’s clear Apple still has some work to do.
Oh, and I feel like I’m beating a dead horse here, but I still think Apple should add multi-user
support to iPadOS, even though with each passing year, it seems less likely to happen. Entry-level iPads are
often shared devices in homes, as opposed to the iPad Pro, which is likely purchased for use by one person. Not
being able to support more than one user account at a time makes for a lousy experience when sharing an iPad.
The most basic Android tablets can support multiple users, complete with parent and children accounts — it’s
long past time Apple did as well.
In a vacuum, there’s very little to complain about with the 10th-gen iPad.
It’s an excellent tablet that does all of the things you expect from a tablet very well. Even though its screen
isn’t as good as other iPads, it’s still good enough, and its performance is unimpeachable. If this was the only
iPad Apple sold, many people would buy it and be perfectly happy with it.
But in context with the many other iPads that Apple sells, I’m not sure why you’d pick this one. If
cost is a factor, you’re buying an iPad for a kid, or need a headphone jack, the still-available and much less
expensive ninth-gen model is the one to go with. For a lot of people, the ninth-gen model is the better iPad for
their needs. If you want the bigger screen and more modern design, the iPad Air is right there with its better
display, even faster processor, and better accessory landscape, and you can frequently get it for less than $100
more than the new iPad.
It’s likely that this iPad will be the entry-level iPad at some point, fully
replacing the ninth-gen model. But I hope that Apple brings the price down quite a bit by the time that happens
and adds the headphone jack back (which is, admittedly, unlikely to happen). Until then, the 10th-gen iPad sits
as a weird sub-midrange, not really budget-level middle child in Apple’s sprawling iPad lineup.
The best feature of the iPhone 14 is one that Apple didn’t tell
you about. Forget satellite SOS and the larger camera, the headline is this: Apple has completely redesigned
the internals of the iPhone 14 to make it easier to repair. It is not at all visible from the outside, but
this is a big deal. It’s the most significant design change to the iPhone in a long time. The iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max models still have
the old architecture, so if you’re thinking about buying a new phone, and you want an iPhone that really
lasts—besides the one in your pocket—you
should keep reading.
If this surprises you, you’re not alone. It surprised us! The new features and external changes to the iPhone
14 are so slight that The Verge suggested it should have been called
the iPhone 13S, saying “The iPhone 13, which came out a year ago and Apple is still selling, is nearly
identical to the 14.”
But that’s actually not true—though almost nobody had any way of knowing. Apple didn’t mention
the secret redesign in their keynote. If reviewers had disassembled the phone, they would have discovered
this: The iPhone 14 opens from the front andthe back.
This is the iPhone 14 reborn as a beautiful butterfly—a midframe in the middle, accessible screen on the
left, and removable rear glass on the right.
That’s no small feat. The new metal midframe that supports the structure required an entire internal
redesign, as well as an RF rethink and an effective doubling of their ingress protection perimeter. In other
words, Apple has gone back to the drawing board and reworked the iPhone’s internals to make repair easier.
It’s an upgrade so seamless that the best tech reviewers in the world didn’t notice.
A Brief History of Phones
We’ve written thousands of repair guides for smartphones,
so before we dive into the details of the 14, let’s take a bird’s-eye view at the mechanical evolution of
smartphones. The iPhone has gone through a few major architectural shifts over the years.
The original phones opened screen first, making screen swaps on the 3G a
breeze. But getting at other parts, like the charge port and battery, was a lot harder.
To solve that Apple flip-flopped their approach with iPhone 4, making the phone open back first. That allowed
for all kinds of cool aftermarket options like our transparent rear panel (I
still think this is pretty badass), but unfortunately made screen swaps a total pain. Apple pivoted back to
a (more streamlined) front-entry for the 5, and has stuck with it ever since. Opening the phone screen-first
made screen repairs vastly easier, and has generally worked out pretty well, save for one major
drawback—we’ll get to that in a minute.
That design is in marked contrast
to the rest of the phone industry. Almost every Android phone opens from the back. Ever since the Galaxy S6, the iPhone’s nemesis has had a glued on back panel.
Any repair tech will tell you that screen
swaps on the Galaxy are much harder than screen swaps on the iPhone. You have to unglue the back
panel, and then systematically work your way all the way through the phone removing components. Once the
whole thing is essentially de-manufactured, you’re left with the screen assembly. Then you have to put
together your entire phone! It’s quite a process, considering screens are the most common component to
The iPhone 8 Ushered in an Era of Pain
From our perspective, the iPhone’s design has optimized fast Apple store service of two critical components:
the screen and the battery. The disadvantage with this front-optimized design, of course, is that it’s hard
to swap out the back panel. That wasn’t really an issue until the iPhone 8, when they switched to
radio-transparent glass to support wireless charging and NFC payments. Then, with the X, they welded a bulky
camera lens cover over that glass.
If replacing the screen on a Galaxy phone is hard, changing the back glass
on an iPhone X (or 11, or 12, or 13) is murder. The easy part is removing every single component
from the phone. Seriously, you don’t want to leave any parts in there because the process is pretty rough on
the hardware. The adhesive holding the back glass down is so powerful that none of our usual techniques of
prying, heat, or chemicals budge it. Repair shops deploy a variety of aggressive shattering and scraping
techniques to remove the glass while carefully working around the welded camera bezels. The
“easiest” way uses a laser to systematically raster-vaporize the adhesive before then shattering and
scraping the glass shards off with razor blades and cutting tools. At the very least, heavy duty gloves are
required equipment if you don’t want to slice your hands open. Resultantly, this is not really a viable
process for DIYers. I’ve never done it, and hope I never have to.
A Bold New Approach: 14th Time’s the Charm
Enter the iPhone 14. The back glass is simply secured with two screws and a single connector. Apple has
seemingly used a slightly less aggressive adhesive, making opening it up a tad easier than screens of yore.
And as a bonus, removing the exact same screws as the back glass gets you access to the screen.
Just two screws, and both screen and back glass are immediately accessible. Incredible.
This is a dramatic rethinking of the phone, and the new approach impacts most aspects of the design. Adding a
whole new opening surface introduces a world of engineering challenges. There’s twice as much perimeter to
seal against water, lots of radio frequency complications, and a whole world of parts changes.
Any time you glue or weld something together, it’s easier to achieve thinness and durability targets. We’ve
long said that designers could get all of the design features and functionality they’re looking for, as well
as repairability, if they just put in a little more effort to avoid the glue. Well this time, Apple put in
There’s a new midframe behind the screen that all the internal components are mounted onto. The incredible
wealth of antennas that make modern 5G + GPS + Wifi + Bluetooth + satellite signaling all work in one device
require extensive grounding. Ten new electromagnetic interference fingers connect to contact points spaced
across the rear panel to preserve grounding that was previously accomplished with welds.
Achieving the high levels of durability that we all expect is an incredible engineering challenge. When you
drop an iPhone 13, its metal frame absorbs that shock, transmitting and spreading the force across the
glued-in battery and sturdily adhered rear glass. The iPhone 14 meets this same challenge, but achieves the
required torsional rigidity in a totally different way. A new midframe sits between the display and the guts
of the phone and takes the brunt of force distribution across the frame and battery.
Another design challenge is the number of components that are integrated into the display assembly.
Historically, these have included the Face ID sensor, the speaker, and the ambient light sensor. We noticed
in the 13 Pro that Apple had
relocated the earpiece speaker and front-facing camera
from the display to the mainframe. At the time, we appreciated the move as incrementally increased
modularity, but we didn’t quite understand the rationale. Now it appears it laid the groundwork for a vastly
A Few New Features
The advertised flagship features of the iPhone 14 are satellite-powered SOS, an upgraded camera, and a
missing SIM card slot. We’ll dive into more detail with our iPhone 14 Pro Max teardown, but here are some board shots while you
Apple’s pursuit of density is unparalleled. The iPhone 14 Pro Max logic board features the A16 processor,
which is an incremental 10-15% performance advancement over the 14’s A15.
The interior of the US Pro Max logic board features the communications chips and the large SIM reader gap.
One sneak peek ahead of time: we can confirm that the satellite connectivity is powered by a new Qualcomm
X65 modem, which adds new 2.4 GHz n53 band
capabilities to support Globalstar. ICJay Monroe, Globalstar’s Executive Chairman, bragged about this in a press
release earlier this year: “We have appreciated a close relationship with Qualcomm since the
inception of the company and want to thank the team there for their hard work in helping us deliver on Band
We are hearing reports that Apple is continuing their hostile path of pairing parts to the phone, requiring
activation of the back glass after installation. You really shouldn’t need Apple’s permission to install a
sheet of glass on a phone that you already own.
Using software to prevent the use of aftermarket parts gets a big thumbs down from us. These locks are
frustrating and ultimately futile—Apple simply can’t control all the repairs that happen with their
products, no matter how hard they try. We’ll be reporting on parts compatibility a bit more after we finish
our lab tests, unless Apple miraculously posts their service manuals.
The Bottom Line
This is the most substantial iPhone redesign since the X. It’s hard to overstate how big a change this is.
For a reference point, Samsung hasn’t changed their phone architecture since 2015.
So, with the biggest update in years, we’re upgrading the iPhone 14 to a repairability score of 7 out of 10.
That’s the best score we’ve given an iPhone
since the iPhone 7. This is the most repairable iPhone in years.
This is such a big deal that it should have been Apple’s big announcement—the iPhone has been redesigned from
the inside out to make it easier to repair. In fact, just days before we started this teardown,
iFixit’s very own Sam
Goldheart argued that in this day and age, a product launch shouldn’t just rattle off tiny new
features. Why isn’t Tim Cook bragging about repairability? We had no idea this was coming, because Apple
didn’t mention it—at all. But they should have.
All of our—and your—work has paid off. Our advocating, lobbying, yelling in the streets. We’ve convinced
Apple’s design team that repairability matters. Now we need your help to convince their marketing team to
talk about it when they take the biggest stage in tech.
If you’re trying to decide whether to go with the 14 or the Pro or Pro Max, from a repairability
perspective the answer is clear: It’s the 14 all the way. Let’s hope this advanced design becomes the
standard across the iPhone 15 lineup. In the mean time, the greenest phone is the one you’ve already got, so
join us in skipping the upgrade, we’ve got
the refresh you need at the price you’ll like.