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For some, tearing apart iPhone is first order of business

It took Apple Inc. more than six months to build the iPhone, but curious gadget fanatics needed only minutes to tear one apart.

Within hours of the first iPhones going on sale Friday, enthusiasts scrambled to be first to discover what makes the devices tick, posting photos of disassembled phones online.

The information is more than just academic. Apple keeps a tight grip on data about parts suppliers so "tear downs" of its products are closely watched by investors keen to figure out how to place their bets. In the past, word that a particular part was being used in Apple's popular iPod music players has sent that company's shares higher.

"With every new release of an Apple product, the hype and interest ratchets up a notch," said Andrew Rassweiler, an analyst with market research firm iSuppli.

Rassweiler and his team were working through the weekend to catalog the phone's guts for a report estimating the cost of every component, crucial for figuring how much it cost Apple to make each iPhone.

Apple is offering the phone in two versions costing $500 and $600, depending on memory capacity, but the high price and limited availability wasn't enough to stop some people from giving into curiosity. Some dissected the phones with surgical skill, while others resorted to brute force.

By yesterday afternoon, a video on YouTube showing two guys banging away at an iPhone with a hammer and nail was the 13th most-watched clip on the site, prompting angry comments. Watching the clip, it is difficult to see what was learned from the destruction.

Ifixit.com, an Apple parts and repair guide site, conducted one of the most sophisticated dismantlings, posting dozens of high-quality photos alongside technical commentary.

Their efforts yielded a few nuggets: The iPhone boasts a main processor and memory chips from Samsung Electronics, an audio-processing chip from Britain's Wolfson Microelectronics PLC, and a WiFi chip from Marvell Technology Group Ltd.

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