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Tuesday, April 20, 2010, 05:55 pm PT (08:55 pm ET)

iPhone prototype teardown foreshadows longer battery life

The prototype iPhone that found its way outside of Apple's grasp was disassembled, revealing a tightly packed interior with much smaller components, allowing the device to be thinner than its predecessor while also making space for a much larger battery.

The teardown by Gizmodo found that the main logic board of the prototype iPhone was about one-third the size of the board that controls the current-generation iPhone 3GS. "Basically, the guts have shrunk drastically," author Jason Chen wrote.

Those smaller components allowed Apple to cram a battery that is 19 percent larger than the current iPhone's power supply into the prototype device. And while the discovered hardware was thinner, it also reportedly weighed 3 grams more than the current-generation handset, thanks to the larger battery.

Taking the device apart proved to be difficult, with between 40 and 50 screws inside the prototype iPhone. Chen also dispelled a rumor that the battery on the handset is user-removable — the tightly packed case must be disassembled to access the battery.

"Everything fits in here like an intricately-designed jigsaw puzzle," the report said. "This is definitely laid out like a final product. To think that there's more room left for any components for this case is unreasonable. Unless Apple decides now to go with a larger case so they can fit more things in there, this is the most that we're going to see this summer."

As to whether the device sports a custom-built Apple processor, like the iPad's A4 CPU, that remains a mystery. The main logic board was encased in metal and could not be removed without breaking the device, and did not feature markings to indicate where its components originated.

iPhone 4 takeapart


iPhone 4G Teardown 1


Gizmodo shocked the tech world and gained a great deal of mainstream publicity when the Gawker Media-owned website revealed on Monday that it had obtained a prototype iPhone. The new hardware featured a forward-facing camera, high-resolution 960x640 pixel display, camera flash and a secondary mic for noise cancellation.

Its design is also a significant change for the iPhone, which has looked largely the same since the device was first unveiled in 2007. Apple changed the back of the device to be completely flat, with a material said to be made either of glass or plastic to improve reception.

iPhone 4G teardown 2


The device was allegedly found at a bar in Redwood City, Calif., where an Apple software engineer reportedly left it by mistake. It was wrapped in a casing that disguised it as an iPhone 3GS.

Gawker Media paid $5,000 to an unknown party to receive the device. After it was disassembled and revealed to millions of Internet readers, Gizmodo reportedly returned the device to Apple.