Apple Watch Series 6 teardown reveals bigger battery, Taptic Engine

Posted:
in General Discussion edited September 2020
Repair company iFixit has completed its teardown of the Apple Watch Series 6, revealing a refined design, a beefier battery, and a bigger Taptic Engine.

Credit: Andrew O'Hara, AppleInsider
Credit: Andrew O'Hara, AppleInsider


The Apple Watch Series 6 launched on Sept. 15 with a few key additions, including a blood oxygen sensor and new color options. As far as outward appearance, however, the device appears virtually the same as the previous Apple Watch Series 5.

On Monday, iFixit released its teardown of a 44mm GPS + LTE Apple Watch Series 6 variant. One of the first things that the site noted is that the new wearable opens to the side, rather than from the top. Opening up the device is also a bit easier because of the removal of Apple's Force Touch gasket. The pressure-sensing feature was removed in watchOS 7.

Credit: iFixit
Credit: iFixit


The 44mm Apple Watch battery has seen a jump to a 1.17 Wh capacity, which represents a slight 3.5% increase over the Apple Watch Series 5. Apple also bumped up the battery size on the smaller 40mm variant to 1.024 Wh, an 8.5% increase.

"Slowly but surely, Apple Watches seem to be clawing back capacity after the big drop from Series 3 to Series 4," the repair site wrote.

The new, brighter display on the Apple Watch Series 6 features slight design differences and simpler cabling. Apple also increased the Taptic Engine's size on the new Apple Watch model. The company didn't mention that addition, or the larger battery, at its Sept. 15 keynote.

Credit: iFixit
Credit: iFixit


As far as the brains of the new Apple Watch, iFixit notes that there are a few more conventional ICs installed on the package, as well as a Skyworks chip marked 239.7. None of the chips appear to be an exact match for Apple's U1, despite its inclusion on the model.

The slightly slimmer profile of the Apple Watch Series 6 is likely attributable to the modified case and removal of the Force Touch gasket. The frame also has a modified footprint with a narrower lip.

All in all, iFixit praised the removal of the "fussy" Force Touch gasket and the consolidation of fragile display cables to two. It also called the fact that Apple managed to fit a larger capacity battery and Taptic Engine into a slimmer frame "impressive."

"They just keep polishing this thing to a higher and higher gloss and it's almost sneaky how much of it they don't tell you about, keeping all the focus on the whiz-bang health features," iFixit wrote.

iFixit gave the Apple Watch Series 6 the same overall repairability score as the Apple Watch Series 5 -- a six out of 10.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 24
    GabyGaby Posts: 176member
    I hadn’t even realised the dimensions had shrunk. It’s even slimmer than my original model now. Coupled with the slight reworking of the lines of the case it looks pretty diminutive. I was already happy with the look of my series 4 on the wrist.  
    Admittedly I’d have been just as pleased if they kept the dimensions the same and increased the battery even more.  
    edited September 2020 razorpit
  • Reply 2 of 24
    I still tend to force touch „clear all“ in the notifications pane. However, since his was effectively the only force touch gesture I regularly used, I think that the gain of removing force touch is well worth its price. 
    george kaplanStrangeDayswatto_cobra
  • Reply 3 of 24
    dcgoodcgoo Posts: 247member
    The sound is also noticeably better, louder and voice much clearer and cleaner.  👍👍
    caladanianwatto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 24
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 33,030member
    I haven’t gotten mine yet. It’s frustrating. First they said the 25th to the 29th. Then they said the 28th, and the ups tracking also said that. Then ups said the 23rd, which was exciting, but it was still in China, so that would have to be fast air. But today the ups site took the date off and said I would be notified of a delivery date. Ugh!

    I was hoping for more than a 3.5% bigger battery. When Apple came out with the always on feature last year, I turned it on. At first, battery life seemed about the same. But after a month, I came to see it wasn’t, so I turned it off. Now, they say the screen will be 2.5 times brighter when it’s using that feature. I doubt I’ll use it, though I’ll likely try it. I know they said the efficiency of the SIP is much greater, but I don’t see that as making much difference. I’d rather see at least a 10% increase in battery, and keep the Taptic Engine the same size. It’s fine now.
    montrosemacswatto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 24
    MplsPMplsP Posts: 3,251member
    Apple’s engineering is definitely impressive. I’m interested to see what the real-life battery life ends up being. Bigger battery, but a bigger Taptic Engine and a brighter screen plus the pulse o. Sensor. What we don’t know is how the changes in watchOS and the chips will effect power use. 
    razorpitwatto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 24
    @Melgross: I think ours are on the same shipment!  My daughter is even more excited than I because she is getting my Series 2 when I get the 6.  I told her this morning: Wednesday!! And now they took it back!  I haven’t told her yet... maybe it will go from China directly to NJ 🤞 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 7 of 24
    A stopover in Taiwan and on to Anchorage... still no arrival estimate...
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 8 of 24
    bageljoey said:
    A stopover in Taiwan and on to Anchorage... still no arrival estimate...
    Mine allegedly departed Anchorage at 23:01 yesterday.  Currently scheduled for tomorrow.  I guess I shouldn't bank on that.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 9 of 24
    The article referred to the Series 6 GPS+LTE version. Very confusing — and wrong?

    When I ordered the series 6 Apple Watch, Apple didn’t give me an option to which provider. There previously were AT&T, Verizon, ... options .

    That is, GSM and LTE. Did Apple infer AT&T for me because I was giving them my Series 4 AT&T watch? 

    My order doesn’t show which provider. I called Order Support to clarify. 

    My contact said the Series 6 handles all providers. 

    So, there doesn’t appear to be a GPS+LTE series 6 Apple Watch. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 10 of 24
    larryjw said:
    The article referred to the Series 6 GPS+LTE version. Very confusing — and wrong?

    When I ordered the series 6 Apple Watch, Apple didn’t give me an option to which provider. There previously were AT&T, Verizon, ... options .

    That is, GSM and LTE. Did Apple infer AT&T for me because I was giving them my Series 4 AT&T watch? 

    My order doesn’t show which provider. I called Order Support to clarify. 

    My contact said the Series 6 handles all providers. 

    So, there doesn’t appear to be a GPS+LTE series 6 Apple Watch. 
    You don't select a carrier with the Apple Watch, and you don't want to.  If you do, then your carrier will charge you a fee (typically $30-$50) for "activating" the device.  

    When you receive it, you activate on the Apple devices - leave the carrier out of it unless you just like giving them money.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 11 of 24
    nicholfd said:
    larryjw said:
    The article referred to the Series 6 GPS+LTE version. Very confusing — and wrong?

    When I ordered the series 6 Apple Watch, Apple didn’t give me an option to which provider. There previously were AT&T, Verizon, ... options .

    That is, GSM and LTE. Did Apple infer AT&T for me because I was giving them my Series 4 AT&T watch? 

    My order doesn’t show which provider. I called Order Support to clarify. 

    My contact said the Series 6 handles all providers. 

    So, there doesn’t appear to be a GPS+LTE series 6 Apple Watch. 
    You don't select a carrier with the Apple Watch, and you don't want to.  If you do, then your carrier will charge you a fee (typically $30-$50) for "activating" the device.  

    When you receive it, you activate on the Apple devices - leave the carrier out of it unless you just like giving them money.
    It used to be the case that sim-free iPhones cost substantially more than those bound to a carrier. That doesn’t appear to be the case now for the iPhone 11. But, depending on the carrier, you had to install a sim in your iPhone to use a particular carrier. 

    I think the technology has changed, and the watch itself has both GSM and LTE support built in. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 12 of 24
    bageljoey said:
    A stopover in Taiwan and on to Anchorage... still no arrival estimate...
    Mine allegedly departed Anchorage at 23:01 yesterday.  Currently scheduled for tomorrow.  I guess I shouldn't bank on that.
    Interesting!  I’m the same on departing Anchorage time.  But I haven’t had an estimated delivery time (through UPS) since they put up and then took down yesterday’s estimate of tomorrow. 
    I’ve given up hope for Wednesday...
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 13 of 24
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 33,030member
    bageljoey said:
    @Melgross: I think ours are on the same shipment!  My daughter is even more excited than I because she is getting my Series 2 when I get the 6.  I told her this morning: Wednesday!! And now they took it back!  I haven’t told her yet... maybe it will go from China directly to NJ 🤞 
    It’s in Alaska now, or it was earlier today. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 14 of 24
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 33,030member
    Ok, just checked again. At, or departed Kentucky around 10:30 pm. Will be here tomorrow.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 15 of 24
    melgross said:
    Ok, just checked again. At, or departed Kentucky around 10:30 pm. Will be here tomorrow.
    Interesting.  Mine stamped KY at 11:16 pm. 
    They are holding to delivery within 21 hours.  I’m impressed.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 16 of 24
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 33,030member
    bageljoey said:
    melgross said:
    Ok, just checked again. At, or departed Kentucky around 10:30 pm. Will be here tomorrow.
    Interesting.  Mine stamped KY at 11:16 pm. 
    They are holding to delivery within 21 hours.  I’m impressed.
    The ups site still says delivery Wednesday by 9:pm. But usually I get an e-mail from ups in the morning, between 8:15 and 8:45 that I’ll be getting a delivery, and I haven’t gotten one. So, who knows?

    just out of curiosity, let’s keep updating. Ups has been shaky lately, as has been the USPS.

    well, just checked e-mail, and at 9:22 I received an e-mail saying it’s being delivered. Strangely enough, I checked e-mail 10 minutes ago and that wasn’t there. It just popped up, weird. Of course, the follow it on the map didn’t work. I get a lot of packages, and only three times did it work, and only for a time, so I don’t know know why they bother.
    edited September 2020 watto_cobra
  • Reply 17 of 24
    bageljoey said:
    bageljoey said:
    A stopover in Taiwan and on to Anchorage... still no arrival estimate...
    Mine allegedly departed Anchorage at 23:01 yesterday.  Currently scheduled for tomorrow.  I guess I shouldn't bank on that.
    Interesting!  I’m the same on departing Anchorage time.  But I haven’t had an estimated delivery time (through UPS) since they put up and then took down yesterday’s estimate of tomorrow. 
    I’ve given up hope for Wednesday...
    I live in a UPS hub city, so it arrived at the airport at 11:30 last night, was loaded on a truck to be taken to the distribution center early this morning, and then transferred to a delivery truck about an hour later.  If I'd been thinking about it, I could have picked it up at the distribution center this morning, as I had to drive right by there.

    But it's out for delivery now, with a noon - 4 estimate, so I should get it today after all.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 18 of 24
    GabyGaby Posts: 176member
    larryjw said:
    The article referred to the Series 6 GPS+LTE version. Very confusing — and wrong?

    When I ordered the series 6 Apple Watch, Apple didn’t give me an option to which provider. There previously were AT&T, Verizon, ... options .

    That is, GSM and LTE. Did Apple infer AT&T for me because I was giving them my Series 4 AT&T watch? 

    My order doesn’t show which provider. I called Order Support to clarify. 

    My contact said the Series 6 handles all providers. 

    So, there doesn’t appear to be a GPS+LTE series 6 Apple Watch. 
    You’re confusing yourself. GPS has nothing to do with GSM networks. The watch in aluminium for example comes as a GPS only model or GPS + cellular. The higher end models only come with GPS and cellular. Since they support all carriers a selection option is unnecessary.  
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 19 of 24
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 33,030member
    Well, it just got here! Some observations.

    one is that the finish dies look great. Apple’s computer generated images they use for these things generally, don’t do the mirror finishes justice, as they always look somewhat matte. This is glossy. If anything, because of the color, it looks even glossier than my Space black model I’m comparing it to here.

    ‘’straight on, they look the same, but under different angles and lighting, the graphite look like a gun metal glossy grey. It’s difficult to explain exactly, but it’s very nice.

    it’s being setup now.

    I read that the new charger puck was thicker to support the faster charging. But someone screwed that up, because it’s actually thinner. Too bad it still has the USB A connector, rather than the USB C connector. The annoying thing is that Apple supplies them, as usual, with the short cable, and I’ve bought the longer two meter models. I don’t know how different the chargectimes are, but I hate to spend $39 again on a new, longer cable. But that’s for the living room, for the bedroom I have a wireless model that the watch and phone goes on. The phone is vertical, and the watch is on a column. It will charge an AirPod case too, but I don’t have one.

    now I’m getting a weird situation with Verizon about my address. The number is 110-55, but it has it as 11055. But it can’t find that address, and asked if I want to use it as typed. I say yes, and there’s a problem. If I go back and edit the dash in, it tells me to use a valid address. So I can’t set up cellular right now. Otherwise restore from backup is working fine.

    and for those who insist that the sensors are exactly the same—they look completely different.
    edited September 2020 watto_cobra
  • Reply 20 of 24
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 33,030member
    larryjw said:
    The article referred to the Series 6 GPS+LTE version. Very confusing — and wrong?

    When I ordered the series 6 Apple Watch, Apple didn’t give me an option to which provider. There previously were AT&T, Verizon, ... options .

    That is, GSM and LTE. Did Apple infer AT&T for me because I was giving them my Series 4 AT&T watch? 

    My order doesn’t show which provider. I called Order Support to clarify. 

    My contact said the Series 6 handles all providers. 

    So, there doesn’t appear to be a GPS+LTE series 6 Apple Watch. 
    It defaults to the carrier you’re already using. Carriers will charge for service for a watch or tablet. But that’s as an add-on to your existing account, or to a new phone account. If you have a phone on an account, the up charge for a phone it tablet is much less. With Verizon it’s $10 a month.
    watto_cobra
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