HomePod teardown needs sawing, cutting to get into interior, but is built 'like a tank'

Posted:
in iPod + iTunes + AppleTV edited February 12
As it does with every Apple device, iFixit has torn apart the HomePod, finding a device that is a "labyrinth to open." That means, like many other devices, it's probably not a great candidate for user repairs.




Shortly after Friday's deliveries, iFixit took to disassembly. This assembly was a bit more invasive than most of the rest, finding glued shut threaded connections, an acoustical mesh that needed to be cut off, and a casing that needed a hacksaw to penetrate, given all the glue.

Specific discoveries inside the HomePod include a CX20810 analog to digital converter by Synaptics for the microphone array, conductive screw-posts providing power to most of the device like those found in the cylindrical Mac Pro, and a build suggesting durability "like a tank" so sitting on a shelf won't be an issue.

The A8 processor in the HomePod is "likely" supplied with 1GB of application RAM, but is certainly paired with 16GB of flash memory. There are a few locations on the main motherboard of the device that are unpopulated with chips, but have SMD pads, suggesting that the HomePod may have undergone some design changes late in the process.




However, the company criticizes the HomePod for very strong adhesives securing nearly everything in the device, including the touch input cover, microphone array, rubber foot, and the main point of entry on the top of the device.

Apple's $349 HomePod was revealed at the 2017 WWDC and consumers started getting their hands on it on Friday. The HomePod is powered by an Apple A8 chip featuring realtime acoustic modeling, audio beam-forming, and multi-channel echo cancelation. It also features a subset of Siri, optimized for music consumption.



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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 28
    I hate Apple products being sawn apart & destroyed. I don’t know why ,but it just makes me cringe!
    MacProzroger73hammeroftruthRayz2016watto_cobrajony0lolliver
  • Reply 2 of 28
    IanSIanS Posts: 23member
    Probably all that glue so nothing comes loose with the content vibration.
    zroger73hmlongcomike1jbdragondws-2davenrobjnbb-15spliff monkeyJWSC
  • Reply 3 of 28
    I like my products to stay together and last...I am old fashioned that way.
    netmagerandominternetpersonbb-15spliff monkeywatto_cobrajahbladejony0lolliver
  • Reply 4 of 28
    16 GB of flash memory...in a speaker? I guess - why not, since it's so cheap and it may come in handy in the future, huh?

    And, it's good to know the power cord is replaceable for those concerned about pets chewing through them.
    edited February 12 watto_cobrajahbladelolliver
  • Reply 5 of 28
    zroger73 said:
    16 GB of flash memory...in a speaker? I guess - why not, since it's so cheap and it may come in handy in the future, huh?

    And, it's good to know the power cord is replaceable for those concerned about pets chewing through them.
    Plus 1GB of RAM .
    This thing is built for the future.
    zroger73bb-15spliff monkeywatto_cobrajahbladejony0lolliverjkichline
  • Reply 6 of 28
    MacProMacPro Posts: 17,463member
    OMG that is just a horrible thing to do!   At the very least saw a few Google Alexa things in half too and see if it is easier for a comparison.
    edited February 12 zroger73racerhomie3watto_cobrajahbladelolliver
  • Reply 7 of 28
    adm1adm1 Posts: 871member
    makes you wonder how or if they repair them under AppleCare or do they just replace the unit should anything happen.
    dws-2jahblade
  • Reply 8 of 28
    I like my products to stay together and last...I am old fashioned that way.
    You need a Delorean and a Mr. Fusion then. 
    king editor the grateJWSC
  • Reply 9 of 28
    adm1 said:
    makes you wonder how or if they repair them under AppleCare or do they just replace the unit should anything happen.
    Replace. When's the last time you heard of Apple repairing hardware like Beats or Airport, or the original iPod Hifi?
    spliff monkeywatto_cobrajahblade
  • Reply 10 of 28
    macxpressmacxpress Posts: 4,500member
    Gosh that thing is built like a tank! I did cringe when I saw the hacksaw. :frowning: No wonder this is going to cost about 90% of the price to get one replace out of warranty. 

    I'll patiently wait for someone to whine about how non-environmentally friendly HomePod is. I know its coming!
    watto_cobralolliver
  • Reply 11 of 28
    SoliSoli Posts: 7,847member
    You can easily see this was designed by Apple. Here's one side of the Echo Show board for comparison.


    I like my products to stay together and last...I am old fashioned that way.
    As @IanS states, this is a major importance because of the speaker vibration. I do wonder how much glue plays a role here. Meaning, if the glue breaks down after several years could it start sounding worse. I hope that's not the case, but it's really hard to know without knowing the exact composite of the adhesive and to what it's adhering.

    macxpress said:
    No wonder this is going to cost about 90% of the price to get one replace out of warranty.
    I'm sure that has a direct connection, but I'm thinking that is mostly because people will not see a need to get AC+ for a speaker. Insurance works when people buy into it. With a low (comparatively) low volume product and an even lower percentage of AC+ buyers for the HomePod compared to what I imagine are AC+ buyers for the iPhone the ability for Apple to pass the value onto the customer will not be as easy.

    zroger73 said:
    16 GB of flash memory...in a speaker? I guess - why not, since it's so cheap and it may come in handy in the future, huh?

    And, it's good to know the power cord is replaceable for those concerned about pets chewing through them.
    1) How much space does iOS 11 use on the iPhone? From what I've read, HomePod uses it, not a stripped down version of a new OS called podOS, or something similar.

    2) Well, detachable, but that's nice. I wonder if the propriety plug means that we'll see low-cost options on Amazon in the future, should someone need it.

    zroger73 said:
    16 GB of flash memory...in a speaker? I guess - why not, since it's so cheap and it may come in handy in the future, huh?

    And, it's good to know the power cord is replaceable for those concerned about pets chewing through them.
    Plus 1GB of RAM .
    This thing is built for the future.
    One common statement is that it should have an AUX port if Apple really wanted it to last since speakers can last decades. I'm assuming iOS (which I think will get a name change) will be supported for 4–5  years, and then still work for years after that. Hopefully that RAM means it's not another original iPod with 256 MiB RAM, which I think was Apple's only real longevity issue.

    Hell, I was even using a 2001 iMac as a my media server with a FW400-attached RAID (USB was only 1.0 on that iMac) until a few years ago. The OS was Leopard or Snow Leopard, and iTunes hadn't been updatable for many years, but with Server installed I was also able to use it as my Time Machine backup to the RAID for my other Macs.
    edited February 12 zroger73watto_cobrajahblade
  • Reply 12 of 28
    robjnrobjn Posts: 191member
    You report “an acoustical mesh that needed to be cut off”

    Actually, after they cut it off they found out that it has a drawstring. If they had attacked it from the top instead of the bottom they would have found the drawstring and been able to remove it intact.
    Solispliff monkeyJWSCwatto_cobralolliver
  • Reply 13 of 28
    maestro64maestro64 Posts: 4,180member
    Some pretty big caps there.
    zroger73watto_cobra
  • Reply 14 of 28
    maestro64maestro64 Posts: 4,180member
    IanS said:
    Probably all that glue so nothing comes loose with the content vibration.
    Probably true. Good speakers are made solid since you have built-in vibrations system.
    spliff monkeywatto_cobra
  • Reply 15 of 28
    vadimyuryevvadimyuryev Posts: 135member, editor
    "However, the company criticizes the HomePod for very strong adhesives securing nearly everything in the device"

    Of course, it's got very strong adhesives, they have to guarantee nothing will vibrate after years of use.

    smh, iFixit. 
    bb-15macxpressgilly33watto_cobrajahbladelolliver
  • Reply 16 of 28
    eightzeroeightzero Posts: 2,044member
    I predict a third party accessory for it to be a stand/base with a battery. It will have a cord winding track and a 110vac plug. 
    jahblade
  • Reply 17 of 28
    SoliSoli Posts: 7,847member
    "However, the company criticizes the HomePod for very strong adhesives securing nearly everything in the device"

    Of course, it's got very strong adhesives, they have to guarantee nothing will vibrate after years of use.

    smh, iFixit. 
    That's clearly why they're using adhesives, but adhesives aren't the only way to secure speakers or prevent unwanted vibrations. Adhesive is simply the cheapest method, at least for the short term.
  • Reply 18 of 28
    ivanhivanh Posts: 176member
    In Apple Store environment, there is not much difference in sound quality between a HomePod “loud”-speaker and a siren. Can you tell?
  • Reply 19 of 28
    zimmiezimmie Posts: 151member
    Soli said:
    I like my products to stay together and last...I am old fashioned that way.
    As @IanS states, this is a major importance because of the speaker vibration. I do wonder how much glue plays a role here. Meaning, if the glue breaks down after several years could it start sounding worse. I hope that's not the case, but it's really hard to know without knowing the exact composite of the adhesive and to what it's adhering.
    The adhesive in the center section (in the threads between the controls/woofer and the power/tweeter sections) is almost certainly related to the double-insulation. You have to not only insulate the casing, but also prevent consumers from "accidentally" coming into contact with parts carrying electricity. If it were easy for normal users to disassemble it, they would probably need a grounded metal casing to pass certification.
    crossladwatto_cobrajahbladerandominternetpersonlolliver
  • Reply 20 of 28
    macxpressmacxpress Posts: 4,500member
    ivanh said:
    In Apple Store environment, there is not much difference in sound quality between a HomePod “loud”-speaker and a siren. Can you tell?
    Uh what?
    watto_cobrajahbladelolliver
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