Another company that performs thorough teardowns like iFixit is Chipworks, but the latter focusses on the technical side of things and digs deeper by using microscopes to identify specific chips and parts.
Chipworks has started their teardown of the Apple Watch and put the device under X-ray to give a preview of the chip layout hidden beneath the S1 cover.
Within the top left corner of the S1 module, Chipworks expected a motion sensor from InvenSense, but was surprised to see the contract went to STMicroelectronics which debuted a new 3 mm x 3 mm land grid array (LGA) featuring a 3D digital gyroscope and accelerometer.
Also unearthed was an Analog Devices capacitive touch screen controller with a package marking of AD7166, not listed on the company’s website, but high suspected to be part “AD7166-202A Cortex M3 Based Cap”, unearthed from import and export documentation via a Product Change Notification (PCN) dated April 2015.
Another part within the S1 is the Texas Instruments OPA2376 Precision, low noise, low quiescent current operational amplifier.
Chipworks explains this is all they have for now but they will be continuing their teardown by handing off the S1 to their ‘artisans’ to find out more. Earlier, iFixit noted the S1 was nearly impossible to pull apart, as the tightly encased parts “makes board-level repairs impossible.” (but Apple Watch still garnered a repairability score of 5; 10 is the easiest to repair).
It’ll be interesting to see what else Chipworks will discover within the S1 inside the Apple Watch. There is a tonne of tech crammed into a small space, which shows off the ingenuity of Apple engineers.