Why are there not more custom built iPhones...?

Discussion in 'iPhone' started by Turnpike, Jan 18, 2015.

  1. Turnpike macrumors 6502

    Turnpike

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    #1
    Back when it was just starting to be common that people would have a PC in their homes, when someone told me they "built custom computers" I thought they were on par with brain surgeons, and I remember one guy upgrading RAM on a computer for a friend, from a whopping 2GB to 4GB (all 4GB were on ONE PIECE of RAM, wow!), and it stuck with me how impressed I was that he could confidentially reach right into the side of a computer and do that... and if my memory serves me correctly, it was common that people were a bit impressed if someone could either build a computer or actually work on one. Now, fast forwarding 100 years (seems like it) to the present, it's almost silly if you don't swap out your own HD, RAM, or video card if you need to upgrade. Even if you're 12 years old. Familiarity with computers has made them seem much more simple...

    Maybe I'm missing something, but is there a reason people aren't taking apart old iPhones to make something cool or different? Like putting in whatever the equivalent of a HD with the OS of an iPhone 4 with iOs5 or something, into an iPhone 6plus? If for nothing else, it would be cool and different- plus you could have the original Google Maps app (which I still miss) or the Youtube app that came in iOs5 where there are no ads... and on a Retina screen... of course from a usability standpoint an iPhone 6plus is better with what it comes with than anything from an iPhone 4, but between Instagram, Youtube, and even on MacRumours it would be pretty cool to have something totally different to show off.... it seems that even a few generations into the iPhone now nobody out there is really making a Frankenstein type of phone with the parts from different generations, if for nothing else other than to show it off on Youtube... (let's face it, these days that's become what's considered a reasonable thing to pursue... people are cutting them in half, boiling them, blending them, burning them...) So my question is are the parts really THAT impossibly un-interchangeable? There are a zillion parts phones on Ebay everyday, and even a mint iPhone 4 or4s goes for less than a good pair of sneakers anymore... I guess I've just been waiting for something to eventually pop up, and not much by way of that has.... (and given the iPhone's small size, there's always the iPads too...)

    If there are a few hurdles that I don't know about it would be interesting to know of them... or reasons you might think why nobody bothers with this...
     
  2. aPple nErd macrumors 68030

    aPple nErd

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  3. adamhenry macrumors 65816

    adamhenry

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    #3
    Doing solder work with a microscope isn't much fun. :eek:
     
  4. eNcrypTioN macrumors 6502

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    #4
    Parts don't exist like computers to do this...
     
  5. SeilerBird macrumors regular

    SeilerBird

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    #5
    Computers are simple to upgrade, phones are impossible.
     
  6. Chatter macrumors 6502a

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    #6
    Watch one of the ifixit videos on any topic and see how crazy small, tight, soldered and glued the inside of the phone is.
     
  7. Turnpike thread starter macrumors 6502

    Turnpike

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    #7
    That's my point- computers seemed overwhelming when they first came out... When people pay almost $1,000 for a new 6Plus to open and smash, soldering parts with the help of all the stuff on the internet doesn't sound like that much of a leap...
     
  8. yjchua95 macrumors 604

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    #8
    Problem is you need a microscope to do any soldering on the iPhone.
     
  9. nostresshere macrumors 68030

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    #9
    People were opening up computers way, way back when. In the mid 80's for sure. They were NOT that mysterious or difficult. You could put all kinds of stuff in the SPACE inside those boxes.

    Phones are totally different story.

    To start with, try to find a screw to even open the damn thing?
     
  10. chrfr macrumors 603

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    #10
    Computers are made up of a bunch of standard, common parts. Smartphones are not.
     
  11. SeilerBird macrumors regular

    SeilerBird

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    #11
    PC computers were never overwhelming. They are totally plug and play from beginning to end. Super easy to upgrade, no soldering needed. Meanwhile phones are the typical stuffing 10 pounds of junk into a 5 pound bag. No room for any changes or additions. And phones are definitely not plug and play.
     
  12. technosix macrumors 6502a

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    #12
    Apple products are proprietary devices to provide lock in. That keeps Apple customers captured, insuring Apple's profits. Works brilliantly :)
     
  13. Applejuiced macrumors Westmere

    Applejuiced

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    #13
    Op you should stick to things you know instead of ever considering modding iPhones.
    You're not just missing something, you're missing a lot...
     
  14. T5BRICK macrumors 604

    T5BRICK

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    #14
    Not just a microscope. Removing and installing a BGA can require specialized equipment that costs thousands of dollars.

    OP, you have complete misunderstanding of how this works if you're actually comparing it to upgrading a desktop PC.
     
  15. Turnpike thread starter macrumors 6502

    Turnpike

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    #15
    Oh, I'm not considering it... I was just surprised that someone else hasn't. But now I realize that these things really are more "once piece" than I first thought. Thanks for the input everyone, I've seen places in the mall where they replace screens, and wondered why there weren't more people tinkering with more parts of the phones... but I can see now they really are that complicated.

    Thanks for the input!
     
  16. Rlong405 macrumors member

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    #16
    Good times. I remember my old 486 DX66 machine. My dad used to pack the whole thing including monitor, tower etc into his car and take me around to my mates every weekend where we would link my computer and his using a null modem cable and play networked doom.
    His computer was a Pentium 75 and I was extremely jealous

    Even my poor 486's RAM upgrade from 4mb to 8mb (IIRC) costing £130 couldn't match the might of that Pentium.

    And don't even get me started on the new technology of an external CD burner that i just HAD to have so spent another £160 on.

    Anyway, that's totally off topic but I enjoyed the trip down memory lane. Sorry OP
     
  17. Turnpike thread starter macrumors 6502

    Turnpike

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    #17
    So it's not just me who thinks back to that time... good to know! ;)
     
  18. Newtons Apple macrumors Pentium

    Newtons Apple

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    #18
    The places in the mall just replace whole parts and many do not do that very well. That is much different than exchanging components on the circuit board. Even Apple does not do stuff like that, they just toss it in the recycle bin.
     
  19. scaredpoet, Jan 21, 2015
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2015

    scaredpoet macrumors 604

    scaredpoet

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    #19
    There's another issue to this too: the tightness of the supply chain. Apple keeps a pretty tight grip on the supplies to make iPhones, and have a lot of customization to the components. You can't just pick up an A8 chip on the open market, or build your own circuit board.

    As for the screen fix shops, there are very few of them who use new, genuine Apple components, and when they do, they are usually smuggled out of the supply chain and in very short supply. For the most part, those shops are using either parts removed from other iPhones (often carrier-blacklisted for theft/nonpayment, or iCloud-bricked and most likely lost/stolen at some point), or they're using third-party knockoffs which might or might not be of the same build quality.

    This is totally different from standard desktop PCs: the parts of those ARE available on the open market and easy to get your hands on new, totally legit gear.

    Here's another thing to consider: When's the last time you built a custom laptop using components? You could get SOME of the parts, like RAM and hard drives, But they don't just sell new laptop enclosures and motherboards.


    P.S.: Looks like there is an attempt being made at custom smartphones, called Phonebloks. Definitely not an iPhone, though, or even very sleek for an Android phone. And not yet in production.
     
  20. IpadSC400 macrumors 6502a

    IpadSC400

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    #20
    Smartphones aren't made to have an alterable design or build. That's why you get what you want when you get it.
     
  21. Septembersrain Contributor

    Septembersrain

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    #21
    It's much harder with smaller parts, compatibility, and other factors. It's not impossible but it's highly involving work compared to modifying a computer. Most computers are slip and slot, much more soldering with a phone.
     
  22. lakaiordie macrumors 65816

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    Jun 17, 2008
    #22
    iPhones are only made to work with the hardware that comes with it. there aren't any replacement parts available anywhere that you could buy that would make something "better" perhaps a 3rd party battery that maybe has a higher capacity in the same size, but i doubt it. the rest you'd never find.
     
  23. OneMike macrumors 601

    OneMike

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    #24
    If everyone shared that mentality there would probably be no Iphone, or at best ios would still be using web apps.

    Op went a few kilometres too far. As with Nextel in its day. There are some mods that could be done though if someone took the time.
     
  24. Applejuiced macrumors Westmere

    Applejuiced

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    Apr 16, 2008
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    #25
    Sorry but not everyone is technically inclined or understands the basics of electronics and wireless tech.
    Anyone can come out and complain or rant why isn't this work like this or in their minds it's all so easy and simple to accomplish. But without having no knowledge or background of what they're talking about just makes them look clueless.
    Engineers and people in charge of making wireless devices or handheld electronics know the basics, the current obstacles and limitations and work methodically to overcome and come up with new products and services.
    It's not something that everyone can do.
     

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