Pebble Smart Watch Waterproofing Makes Repairs Impossible as Low-Energy Bluetooth Support Questioned

Discussion in 'iOS Blog Discussion' started by MacRumors, Mar 13, 2013.

  1. macrumors bot


    Apr 12, 2001

    iFixit has done a teardown of the Pebble smart watch and declared it unrepairable due to the amount of adhesive used to waterproof the device. iFixit could only manage to disassemble the watch by breaking the e-ink screen.

    The innards of the Pebble are unsurprisingly very simple, with the multicontroller unit, three-axis accelerometer and Bluetooth radio all contained on a single board alongside other support components.

    One surprise noted in the teardown is that the Bluetooth radio does not appear to conform to the 4.0 low-energy protocol (BLE) claimed in its specs. The Panasonic PAN1316 RF module used in the Pebble is supposed to contain Texas Instruments' CC2564 Bluetooth controller, which supports BLE, but iFixit found a CC2560A chip that does not support BLE inside the package. Pebble had previously noted that it was using a chip that would support BLE but that it would not ship with support enabled, promising that it would be added via a software update at a later date.

    The good news for Pebble owners is that opening it is unlikely to be necessary: the battery is expected to last for ten years, and the watch strap can be replaced without opening the watch.

    Update 9:26 AM: iFixit has updated its article and Pebble has posted on Reddit to confirm that BLE support is indeed possible.
    Article Link: Pebble Smart Watch Waterproofing Makes Repairs Impossible as Low-Energy Bluetooth Support Questioned
  2. macrumors 6502

    Jun 27, 2008
    Shame they wont be able to sell videos and parts on how to repair it now.
  3. macrumors 603

    Jan 20, 2010
    Not surprising, such a small device calls for smaller, integrated parts.
  4. macrumors 603


    Sep 19, 2003
    Canada, eh?
    Watches are pretty much disposable-when-broken items anyway. Who fixes a watch anymore, if it's not a Rolex or some other expensive heirloom style piece?
  5. macrumors 68000


    Jan 6, 2002
    It's guts look good, if only they worked, my Pebble lasted 3 days before the screen got all messed up to the point you can't read it.
  6. macrumors member

    Jul 18, 2007
    Really? I was part of the Kickstarter and haven't gotten mine yet. Were you one of the early adopters? Might you show a picture?
  7. macrumors 68000


    Jan 6, 2002
    I was one of the first few thousand, I'm at work now but I will post a picture later. I'm not the only one with the problem, the Pebble forums are filled with the same deal.
  8. macrumors regular

    Oct 26, 2004
    I was an early adopter, and my screen looks pristine. My watch goes about 4 days between charges. Really no complaints, except for fixes which are supposed to come through firmware updates (disable vibration, etc.).
  9. macrumors 6502


    Jul 15, 2010
    What the hell? No BLE? Are they using counterfeit PAN1316 modules? (Maybe relabelled PAN1315s)

    Not good news for third party app support.
  10. macrumors 604

    Jul 29, 2003
    Silicon Valley
    false advertising?

    No BTLE? That may be false advertising. Some early customers (developers?) are going to want their money back.
  11. macrumors 6502a


    Mar 23, 2011
    Leeds, UK
    I assume the fact that they said it wouldn't be enabled on launch is because the chip doesn't support it as standard, but will be able to with a software upgrade.
  12. macrumors 68000


    Jun 29, 2007
    This was posted on Reddit, so I guess we should get some answers soon?
  13. macrumors 65816

    Mike MA

    Sep 21, 2012
    Germany, Europe
    Sooner or later iFixit won't anything to fix anymore.
  14. macrumors P6

    Jun 22, 2009
    As per Engadget:

    Update: Well, we've finally heard back from Pebble and it seems the watch does have support for Bluetooth Low Energy. The confusion comes from the fact that, although the TI controller inside is label as a CC2560 (which lacks support for BLE) it actually carries the same firmware as the CC2564 which does support the protocol through Panasonic's RF module.
  15. macrumors 6502


    Sep 28, 2005
    Bay Area, California
    Please stop posting anything to do with ifix.
    I know I'm just one person, but I do have the ability to get my rumors elsewhere.
  16. macrumors 68040

    Oct 21, 2012
    Seriously, iFixit need to go die.

    They just bash stuff that they can't sell price-inflated Chinese copy parts for. They're as much a reviewer as I am.
  17. jsw
    Moderator emeritus


    Mar 16, 2004
    Andover, MA
    When my orange Pebble finally arrives - probably about a month after Apple ships the 2nd gen iWatch, based on current rates - I'll have had time to adjust to the fact that I can't crack it open to fix the things inside that would likely cost me about as much as a new Pebble to buy.

    I'll... I'll be ok. I will. I'll find the strength.
  18. sza
    macrumors regular

    Dec 21, 2010
    I am wondering even it is not water-proof without the glue, are you still able to fix the circuit?
  19. macrumors regular

    Jan 17, 2006
    about 3 meters from here. *points*
    iFixit rates all other watches as "virtually unrepairable" to the common consumer due to extremely small, intricate parts.

    iFixit, go worry about laptops and things people actually give a 5H!7 about repairing.
  20. JAT
    macrumors 603

    Dec 31, 2001
    Mpls, MN
    Maybe you are misunderstanding what they do. They are not "reviewing" products, and they are not aiming their comments at most people.
  21. macrumors 68020


    Jan 6, 2004
    Raleigh, NC
    I would rather my watch be waterproof than easily repairable.
  22. macrumors member

    Feb 3, 2004
    Wherein iFixit continues their war against some nebulous evil that is our alleged right to be able to repair everything.

    Maybe if they make some more nifty hipster Soviet-era graphics with manifestos, the world will suddenly sacrifice cost and manufacturability just to cater to iFixit.
  23. macrumors 6502a


    Apr 29, 2009
    Chicago, IL
    Does Macrumors have a partnership with iFixit? It seems like we're all supposed to care about this, but no one, and I mean NO ONE I know has ever opted to do a self-repair on a modern Apple product when it's still covered by Applecare. Also, was anyone on the planet REALLY interested in tearing open a Pebble watch to fix it, when it could easily be replaced by the manufacturer? This isn't the Industrial Revolution still. Companies do things like refunds, warranties, and repairs. It's quite amazing. That brings me back to my original question - WHY is everything iFixit says posted here, and what's the compelling reader interest?
  24. macrumors newbie

    Oct 5, 2011
    So much bashing against ifixit. While I agree that in this case there is no reasonable expectation of repairability this is more than just a watch and does warrant the consideration. I don't think not being very repairable is a fault of the watch but more just a statement about it. I can agree with the core priciples of the site though. All things being equal it should be easier than harder to open up a device if you feel up to it. Using a proprietary screw when a small philips is only a tactic to try and increase sales of new devices when things go wrong. And in a case like this, a low repairability score is actually a boon for ifixit, guess who gets to sell that screw driver that fits that proprietary screw.
  25. macrumors 68030

    Nov 10, 2007
    I'm sorry, but anyone who would look at a Pentalobe screw and say to themselves, "I give up. Not even going to try to fix it." really shouldn't be trying to crack open a device, anyway.

    I love iFixit's statement: "Pebble employs tons of adhesive to keep water—and tinkerers—out. Add in a bezel around the screen, and it's impossible to separate the cases without compromising the display."

    No, how about the adhesive keeps the water out? Geez. What a bunch of tools. No pun intended.

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