HomePod Teardown Reveals Hidden 14-Pin Connector, 16GB Storage, and Very Low Repairability

Discussion in 'MacRumors.com News Discussion' started by MacRumors, Feb 12, 2018.

  1. MacRumors macrumors bot

    MacRumors

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    #1
    [​IMG]


    iFixit has completed an exhaustive teardown of the HomePod and found that, while the speaker appears to have a simple design on the outside, it will likely be extremely difficult for customers to complete do-it-yourself repairs.

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    HomePod's mesh has a drawstring

    The teardown experts, who admit there might be a better way to open the HomePod that they've yet to learn, were forced to use a variety of tools to gain access to the internal components, including a heat gun, a guitar pick, a knife, and after all else failed, even a hacksaw and an ultrasonic cutter.

    Underneath the rubber foot, iFixit found a hidden 14-pin connector that they speculate is probably used to test or program HomePods on pogo pins during assembly in Taiwan. Given the port sits below a layer of strong adhesive, it's unclear if it will be used for any other purpose, such as diagnostic testing.

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    HomePod's hidden 14-pin port

    Digging further, the team found the HomePod has an Apple A8 chip, as advertised, likely paired with 1GB of RAM layered underneath. There's also a 16GB flash storage chip from Toshiba, although users can't store songs on the speaker directly, as music must be streamed from Apple Music or an AirPlay source.

    HomePod also has a two-part power supply, composed of an inner block handling the AC/DC conversion, and an outer ring distributing power to all eight of the speakers. The seven tweeters each have a conductive screw post.

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    In the end, the teardown concludes that the HomePod is very durable, but extremely difficult to open. This might explain why Apple is charging $279 to replace the HomePod entirely if it is damaged, unless only the power cable is damaged, in which case Apple charges a more reasonable $29 fee to have it repaired.

    [​IMG]

    There's also AppleCare+ for HomePod, which adds up to two incidents of accidental damage coverage, each subject to a service fee of $39 in the United States, plus the upfront cost of the plan. But even then, it still appears that Apple is simply replacing damaged HomePods outright beyond power cable repairs.

    Article Link: HomePod Teardown Reveals Hidden 14-Pin Connector, 16GB Storage, and Very Low Repairability
     
  2. chuckee.2002 macrumors newbie

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    #2
    Where are the tweeters and microphones' arrays?
     
  3. davie18 macrumors regular

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    #3
    Really there should be no need to ever repair these because of damage caused by users.

    The chance of you damaging them is reduced drastically by the fact it's a product that'll remain still 99% of the time for most people. How often do you manage to cause any damage at all to a TV, for example? SO I wouldn't really worry about the low repair-ability
     
  4. and 1989 others macrumors regular

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    #4
    This tear down reminds me of skinning a Furby....
     
  5. MacDawg macrumors Core

    MacDawg

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    #5
    You've done that often have you? :)
     
  6. nwcs macrumors 65816

    nwcs

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    #6
    I don’t see this as something people need to be self-repairing. It’s not like a phone or computer. Not every electronic device is intended, or desirable, to be accessible for user repair. I would imagine in most cases a typical user couldn’t even source a component with which to repair — nor have the expertise to identify the failed component.
     
  7. oldoneeye macrumors member

    oldoneeye

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    #7
    I wish that apple would focus on repairability for their products rather than scrapping to landfill. Perhaps they have here - but it's not obvious
     
  8. RogerWilco macrumors 6502

    RogerWilco

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    #8
    Amps are all class D? Let's be real, this gadget has no power, no room for the kind of inductors needed to make great sounding audio from a digital amp.
     
  9. MacDawg macrumors Core

    MacDawg

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    #9
    I'm thinking a lot of people will opt for actually listening to the device to determine if they like the sound instead of reading a spec sheet to make the determination
     
  10. recoil80 macrumors 68000

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    #10
    Yes and this isn't a device you want to upgrade to, say, add more RAM or more storage like you'd like to do with a Mac.
    The fact that it is hard to repair isn't an issue for this product. My only complain is the cable, a standard one would have been better.
     
  11. and 1989 others macrumors regular

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    #11
    Only once, it had broken anyway, so naturally at 8 years old we wanted to see how it worked, it never went back together after that. Great fun.
     
  12. Wags macrumors 6502

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    #12
    Must be why Apple charging $279 for out of warranty repair. You are buying new one.
     
  13. RogerWilco macrumors 6502

    RogerWilco

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    #13
    As a graduate of the North Avenue Trade School, I understand your '"tween the hedges" opinion on this device. :rolleyes:
     
  14. HobeSoundDarryl macrumors 604

    HobeSoundDarryl

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    #14
    That ship has long since sailed. Maximizing repairability means minimizing revenue. A big benefit of easy repairability is opportunities to improve devices to extend their life. "...but who makes the most profitable _______" philosophy practically begs for throwaway device decisions to motivate re-buys as soon as reasonably possible.

    Easier access & repairability also create repair competition from other shops, driving down money to be made by having to take something only to Apple for potential repairs.

    As is always the case: when logic seems to conflict with what has actually come to market, think about the money. The money rules all such decisions.

    And yes, it didn't used to be this way but every year it becomes more and more like that. Recently, I had to open up an early gen iMac. It was very easy to open and all of the parts that could go bad were readily accessible. Now, it takes nearly a surgeon to replace something as simple as a dead hard drive. Ohhhhhh Apple of old, how I miss thee.
     
  15. AmazingRobie, Feb 12, 2018
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 12, 2018

    AmazingRobie macrumors regular

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    #15
    "But even then, it still appears that Apple is simply replacing damaged HomePods outright beyond power cable repairs."
    So it's easier to throw in the trash than or have it "recycled" than repair it. Quotes intentional. No wonder it costs just as much to "repair" without Apple care than it does to purchase a brand new one. Apple generates more trash to fill up the worlds landfills. Who will stop them? Noone it seems. Hope this is the product that forces Cook and Co. out.
     
  16. potatis macrumors 6502a

    potatis

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    #16
    Looks like the Mac Pro. Glad they could reuse the trashcan design for something...
     
  17. curtvaughan, Feb 12, 2018
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2018

    curtvaughan macrumors 6502

    curtvaughan

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    #17
    Maybe someone will come up with a dongle to hook to the mystery 14-pin interface. The imagination soars at the possibilities.
     
  18. urtules macrumors regular

    urtules

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    #18
    They have special robot to dissemble iPhone and recycle each part. I am sure they not going to dump HomePod's into land fill and there's some kind of recycling.

    "Apple offers and participates in various product take-back and recycling programs in 99 percent of the countries where Apple sells products"
    https://images.apple.com/environment/pdf/products/homepod/HomePod_PER_feb2018.pdf
     
  19. ChrisCW11 macrumors 6502a

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    #19
    Well its a good thing the HomePod sits on a table or shelf and doesn't move for its entire life. These repairability ratings are stupid. For mobile devices and laptops, sure, accidents happen and you would like to know if you can easily replace a battery or screen if something happens, but for a shelf-top speaker, come on. If you drop it and break it, suck it up and buy another one.

    Of course you are going to get people that are going to move these things around the home all the time and bring them to friends, using them the way they would normally use a wireless Bluetooth speaker, and then they will drop it in a pool or on concrete and cry.
     
  20. MrGimper macrumors 601

    MrGimper

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    #20
    That's when some boy racer mounts 10 in the back of his hot hatch.
     
  21. doctor-don macrumors 65816

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    #21
    That visible (at 14 points) silicone glue / cement used to prevent electronics from moving around might contribute to heat buildup unless it contains some heat conductive properties - but then it might be an electrical hazard.

    Those tweeters are placed around the base, making it necessary to keep clutter away from the HomePod. They can be seen in the X-ray of the HomePod.
     
  22. jimbobb24 macrumors 6502a

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    #22
    Repairability of a speaker? This may be the shark jumping on repairability. I used to repair my car but new cars are wound so tight and the electric ones are so tight that you cannot repair most of them beyond the basics without serious investments in special tools. Welcome to the age of the micro.
     
  23. doctor-don macrumors 65816

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    #23
    If only he could access it.:eek:
     
  24. RogerWilco macrumors 6502

    RogerWilco

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    #24
    Pods, Pods, HomePods...oh I remember:
    [​IMG]
     
  25. Plutonius macrumors 604

    Plutonius

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    #25
    I wonder if they asked the HomePod Siri how to open a HomePod. It might explain why they used a hacksaw :).
     

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