M1 iMac teardown reveals massive speaker chamber, Magic Keyboard Touch ID sensor

Posted:
in Current Mac Hardware edited May 25
Repair experts at iFixit have completed their teardown of the M1 iMac, revealing impressive engineering including a large speaker chamber that fills a large portion of the chassis.

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


The repair site published the first part of a two-part teardown on Monday, revealing some of the major design changes from previous generations of iMac. On Tuesday, iFixit wrapped up the teardown by digging deeper into the 24-inch iMac's logic board, ports, keyboard, and power supply.

For example, the new iMac's USB-C boards "flip up like the covers of cigarette lighter sockets" in a car. They're easily disconnected from the interconnect board. That's a change from previous iMacs, which had their ports soldered to the logic board. The site notes that even the ports are color coordinated with the chassis color. "We don't always agree with Apple's choices, but there's no denying their efforts making them," iFixit wrote.

Credit: iFixit
Credit: iFixit


The new iMac's speaker system includes two tiny metal chambers. Although "impossibly thin," they have a large surface area that translates to more internal volume. According to iFixit, it's a "nifty use of what might otherwise be empty space!"

What appeared to be two coin cell batteries in iFixit's preliminary teardown feature 3V output connectors, suggesting that they are CMOS batteries wired in parallel for redundancy. Like iPhone batteries, the CMOS batteries are secured with an adhesive pull tab.

Additionally, iFixit's teardown revealed a modular headphone jack, a power button glued directly into the enclosure, and Apple's triple-microphone array, which is placed at the top of the chassis and near the camera.

The Apple logo on the rear of the 24-inch iMac also houses a patch antenna. The display shield has two horizontal slots hanging on corresponding tabs in the device's computer. Additionally, the iMac's hinge hardware is no longer accessible from the outside of the desktop.

The 24-inch iMac now houses its power supply on the outside, which makes replacing it easier. Although the power supply's internals look like a standard MacBook Pro power supply, it also contains a network cable.

In iFixit's testing, the power supply can output 143 watts. The iMac only draws about 60 watts at most, leaving plenty of headroom for peripherals.

Credit: iFixit
Credit: iFixit


Along with the iMac itself, iFixit also investigated the Touch ID sensor on the new Magic Keyboard. The site says what looks likes an ordinary keycap hides a fingerprint sensor that appears similar to the iPhone 7's Touch ID sensor.

Switching out the Touch ID sensor rendered the fingerprint-reading capabilities of the keyboard useless. That's because each Touch ID sensor is cryptographically paired to their original hardware.

iFixit concluded their teardown by stating that the newest iMac "follows the other M1 machines down an interesting, but even-less-repairable path." The 24-inch iMac earned a repairability score of 2 out of 10, which is lower than past iMac models. The iMac Pro, for example, had a repairability score of 3.

Credit: iFixit
Credit: iFixit


"A lot of impressive engineering went into making this thing as thin as possible, but did anyone really need a thinner all-in-one desktop? Apple's priorities continue to baffle," the site wrote.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 23
    sflocalsflocal Posts: 5,728member

    "A lot of impressive engineering went into making this thing as thin as possible, but did anyone really need a thinner all-in-one desktop? Apple's priorities continue to baffle," the site wrote.
    Screw what these people say.  Most people will never open an iMac.  Fact.  Apple knows this and designs their products accordingly.  I love it, and from what the reviews coming in seem to imply, many others love it.  This iMac is a hit.  Just goes to show how little the opinions of these tech people are valued at.

    That being said, I'm just blown away at how minimal the internals of the new iMac are.  I've cracked open quite a few iMacs in my life and while I was always amazed at their engineering, it was still a beast to disassemble.  These new iMacs are just impressive in terms of engineering.  Removing the power supply has certainly simplified the interior immensely. 

    I'm looking forward to what the 27"+ version will be like.
    williamlondonfastasleepiqatedolkruppapplguyStrangeDaysbaconstangikirjony0watto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 23
    "A lot of impressive engineering went into making this thing as thin as possible, but did anyone really need a thinner all-in-one desktop? Apple's priorities continue to baffle," the site wrote.
    Not really. Some of us have had to dig up space for a work station in corners or other odd places around our houses to work and study this past year. So yeah, a smaller footprint for a desktop computer does address a significant market.

    But then again, I don't make a living criticizing Apple's work, nor praising it either. So my views could be skewed...
    repressthisfastasleepapplguyStrangeDaysrobabaikirjony0watto_cobra
  • Reply 3 of 23
    mobirdmobird Posts: 617member
    Would a iMac be a good candidate for the Thread technology to be implemented? If you believe that it is, why would Apple not do so on this new version? 

    watto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 23
    I mean, Apple’s priorities are pretty clear: sell as many macs as possible at a profit. To do that they focus on thing like differentiation and emotional connection — not on what hobbyists and repair shops might like. 

    Judging by results it seems to be working. 
    edited May 25 fastasleeplkruppStrangeDaysikirjony0watto_cobraArchStanton
  • Reply 5 of 23
    chadbagchadbag Posts: 1,466member
    The comment about baffling Apple priorities is baffling.  Almost no one today repairs their own computers.  Apple or any other manufacturer.  

    Ive built plenty of PCs I clueing rack mount servers.  I’ve fixed older MacBooks (replace keyboards etc). I have experience and skills that most general consumers don’t.  And I don’t want to bother with it.  The fact is the thinness and other technological advances in today’s computers are worth it to me and most consumers.  No one wants to dick around inside modern computers and probably make things worse. 

    Heck, most people can’t be bothered to change the oil in their cars. And that is infinitely easier to do. 


    IFixit are the baffling ones.  
    FileMakerFellerStrangeDaysdangermouse2ikirjony0watto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 23
    "A lot of impressive engineering went into making this thing as thin as possible, but did anyone really need a thinner all-in-one desktop? Apple's priorities continue to baffle," the site wrote.


    Apple ships products by air, not only paying for weight but also for volume. So shipping smaller computers with less packing material does result in a cost savings. This savings is also realized again when a computer under warranty has to be shipped to Apple and returned to the user. Last but not least, a smaller computer requires less materials to build. In total there is a noticeable savings for Apple. Plus, it simply looks more stylish and the absence of the power supply in the case reduces the amount of heat that needs to be dissipated and the energy used to accomplish that cooling.
    fastasleepStrangeDaysbaconstangchiaikirdanoxjony0watto_cobra
  • Reply 7 of 23
    crowleycrowley Posts: 8,709member
    "A lot of impressive engineering went into making this thing as thin as possible, but did anyone really need a thinner all-in-one desktop? Apple's priorities continue to baffle," the site wrote.


    Apple ships products by air, not only paying for weight but also for volume. So shipping smaller computers with less packing material does result in a cost savings. This savings is also realized again when a computer under warranty has to be shipped to Apple and returned to the user. Last but not least, a smaller computer requires less materials to build. In total there is a noticeable savings for Apple. Plus, it simply looks more stylish and the absence of the power supply in the case reduces the amount of heat that needs to be dissipated and the energy used to accomplish that cooling.
    And the number 1 thing consumers are asking for is lower shipping costs.
    muthuk_vanalingam
  • Reply 8 of 23
    What are those very large metal radiator-looking things inside the chassis?
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 9 of 23
    "A lot of impressive engineering went into making this thing as thin as possible, but did anyone really need a thinner all-in-one desktop? Apple's priorities continue to baffle," the site wrote.
    This statement coming from a website solely dedicated to selling repair/replacement parts and tools. Yeah, OF COURSE it baffles you.
    StrangeDaysbaconstangchiaikirjony0watto_cobra
  • Reply 10 of 23
    fastasleepfastasleep Posts: 5,689member
    crowley said:
    "A lot of impressive engineering went into making this thing as thin as possible, but did anyone really need a thinner all-in-one desktop? Apple's priorities continue to baffle," the site wrote.


    Apple ships products by air, not only paying for weight but also for volume. So shipping smaller computers with less packing material does result in a cost savings. This savings is also realized again when a computer under warranty has to be shipped to Apple and returned to the user. Last but not least, a smaller computer requires less materials to build. In total there is a noticeable savings for Apple. Plus, it simply looks more stylish and the absence of the power supply in the case reduces the amount of heat that needs to be dissipated and the energy used to accomplish that cooling.
    And the number 1 thing consumers are asking for is lower shipping costs.
    Reduced carbon footprint is certainly on a lot of (though maybe not most) consumers' minds.
    FileMakerFellerStrangeDaysbaconstangikirjony0watto_cobra
  • Reply 11 of 23
    fastasleepfastasleep Posts: 5,689member
    There's the power brick teardown, for whoever was asking in the part 1 thread:
    https://www.ifixit.com/Teardown/iMac+M1+24-Inch+Teardown/142850#s288736
    Alex_Vjony0
  • Reply 12 of 23
    fastasleepfastasleep Posts: 5,689member
    What are those very large metal radiator-looking things inside the chassis?
    Acoustic chambers for the speakers, as mentioned in this article and clearly spelled out in the teardown article.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 13 of 23
    MplsPMplsP Posts: 3,246member
    sflocal said:

    "A lot of impressive engineering went into making this thing as thin as possible, but did anyone really need a thinner all-in-one desktop? Apple's priorities continue to baffle," the site wrote.
    Screw what these people say.  Most people will never open an iMac.  Fact.  Apple knows this and designs their products accordingly.  I love it, and from what the reviews coming in seem to imply, many others love it.  This iMac is a hit.  Just goes to show how little the opinions of these tech people are valued at.

    That being said, I'm just blown away at how minimal the internals of the new iMac are.  I've cracked open quite a few iMacs in my life and while I was always amazed at their engineering, it was still a beast to disassemble.  These new iMacs are just impressive in terms of engineering.  Removing the power supply has certainly simplified the interior immensely. 

    I'm looking forward to what the 27"+ version will be like.
    How much is consumer driven vs supply driven?  Is the fact that 'nobody opens up an iMac' because nobody wants to or because there's no point in doing so? Many people I talk to bemoan the fact that consumer goods can't be repaired and need to be discarded and replaced. I suspect there is a bit of consumer hypocrisy at play, too. People want devices that are repairable but then turn around and buy sleek, thin devices that can't be repaired. With the iMac, even the ability to swap out the logic board with relative ease would be nice.
    muthuk_vanalingam
  • Reply 14 of 23
    mattinozmattinoz Posts: 1,630member
    MplsP said:
    sflocal said:

    "A lot of impressive engineering went into making this thing as thin as possible, but did anyone really need a thinner all-in-one desktop? Apple's priorities continue to baffle," the site wrote.
    Screw what these people say.  Most people will never open an iMac.  Fact.  Apple knows this and designs their products accordingly.  I love it, and from what the reviews coming in seem to imply, many others love it.  This iMac is a hit.  Just goes to show how little the opinions of these tech people are valued at.

    That being said, I'm just blown away at how minimal the internals of the new iMac are.  I've cracked open quite a few iMacs in my life and while I was always amazed at their engineering, it was still a beast to disassemble.  These new iMacs are just impressive in terms of engineering.  Removing the power supply has certainly simplified the interior immensely. 

    I'm looking forward to what the 27"+ version will be like.
    How much is consumer driven vs supply driven?  Is the fact that 'nobody opens up an iMac' because nobody wants to or because there's no point in doing so? Many people I talk to bemoan the fact that consumer goods can't be repaired and need to be discarded and replaced. I suspect there is a bit of consumer hypocrisy at play, too. People want devices that are repairable but then turn around and buy sleek, thin devices that can't be repaired. With the iMac, even the ability to swap out the logic board with relative ease would be nice.
    Seems like they could with this machine. Only impediment seems to be foam double sided tape and a screwdriver set. 
    Certainly looks like Apple could remanufacture the machine in a couple of years with instore techs to update them either as service to customer or as a refurb sale. 
    robaba
  • Reply 15 of 23
    dysamoriadysamoria Posts: 3,429member
    It’s IS baffling. From the perspective of Apple claiming to be environmentally conscious, it is baffling that they continue to make less serviceable devices. How do Apple themselves actually repair these things? Do they even repair them? At this point, you usually expect to have a used refurb device handed to you when something on yours fails and you order “repair” service. How much of the device gets reused when these refurbs are done and how much is waste? Who does the work? Where?

    The materials, manufacturing & transport energy, and the labor wastage are all legitimate targets for criticism. Why doesn’t anyone here grasp this?
    muthuk_vanalingam
  • Reply 16 of 23
    StrangeDaysStrangeDays Posts: 11,561member
    “but did anyone really need a thinner all-in-one desktop? Apple's priorities continue to baffle.”

    …absolutely. The thinner it is the less mass and weight. I VESA arm-mount my iMac and the previous models required a more expensive arm rated for heavier load. Lighter is always better. 
    baconstangikirdanoxfastasleepwatto_cobra
  • Reply 17 of 23
    StrangeDaysStrangeDays Posts: 11,561member

    crowley said:
    "A lot of impressive engineering went into making this thing as thin as possible, but did anyone really need a thinner all-in-one desktop? Apple's priorities continue to baffle," the site wrote.


    Apple ships products by air, not only paying for weight but also for volume. So shipping smaller computers with less packing material does result in a cost savings. This savings is also realized again when a computer under warranty has to be shipped to Apple and returned to the user. Last but not least, a smaller computer requires less materials to build. In total there is a noticeable savings for Apple. Plus, it simply looks more stylish and the absence of the power supply in the case reduces the amount of heat that needs to be dissipated and the energy used to accomplish that cooling.
    And the number 1 thing consumers are asking for is lower shipping costs.
    Less waste, across manufacturing and transport both, is more of a concern than you’re aware of. I produced retail grocery store products and the industry absolutely considers them. It’s why we have light & square cartons for soup now instead of just heavier, round cans or jars.  
    edited May 26 baconstangikirfastasleepjony0watto_cobra
  • Reply 18 of 23
    StrangeDaysStrangeDays Posts: 11,561member
    MplsP said:
    sflocal said:

    "A lot of impressive engineering went into making this thing as thin as possible, but did anyone really need a thinner all-in-one desktop? Apple's priorities continue to baffle," the site wrote.
    Screw what these people say.  Most people will never open an iMac.  Fact.  Apple knows this and designs their products accordingly.  I love it, and from what the reviews coming in seem to imply, many others love it.  This iMac is a hit.  Just goes to show how little the opinions of these tech people are valued at.

    That being said, I'm just blown away at how minimal the internals of the new iMac are.  I've cracked open quite a few iMacs in my life and while I was always amazed at their engineering, it was still a beast to disassemble.  These new iMacs are just impressive in terms of engineering.  Removing the power supply has certainly simplified the interior immensely. 

    I'm looking forward to what the 27"+ version will be like.
    How much is consumer driven vs supply driven?  Is the fact that 'nobody opens up an iMac' because nobody wants to or because there's no point in doing so? Many people I talk to bemoan the fact that consumer goods can't be repaired and need to be discarded and replaced. I suspect there is a bit of consumer hypocrisy at play, too. People want devices that are repairable but then turn around and buy sleek, thin devices that can't be repaired. With the iMac, even the ability to swap out the logic board with relative ease would be nice.
    I say this as a guy who built PCs for years - consumers don’t open iMacs to repair them, ever. Same way they don’t repair their TVs. But that doesn’t mean they can’t be repaired nor that you must discard them. I have certainly paid to repair my last iMac and MBP when a component failed, and I don’t see how this is any different.

    The hand-waiving about DIY repairability is purely performative.
    baconstangfastasleepjony0watto_cobra
  • Reply 19 of 23
    StrangeDaysStrangeDays Posts: 11,561member
    dysamoria said:
    It’s IS baffling. From the perspective of Apple claiming to be environmentally conscious, it is baffling that they continue to make less serviceable devices. How do Apple themselves actually repair these things? Do they even repair them? At this point, you usually expect to have a used refurb device handed to you when something on yours fails and you order “repair” service. How much of the device gets reused when these refurbs are done and how much is waste? Who does the work? Where?

    The materials, manufacturing & transport energy, and the labor wastage are all legitimate targets for criticism. Why doesn’t anyone here grasp this?
    Nah you’re just ignorant of the answers to your questions. Apple has already earned top accolades for its reduced waste, long useful life spans, high recyclability, environment initiatives, etc. Do your homework. That you’re ignorant about how Apple repair shops operate in no way infers that they don’t service Macs. They absolutely do. As do third parties. 

    Clutch those pearls, my lad.
    edited May 26 baconstangdangermouse2chiafastasleepjony0watto_cobra
  • Reply 20 of 23
    robabarobaba Posts: 159member
    mattinoz said:
    MplsP said:
    sflocal said:

    "A lot of impressive engineering went into making this thing as thin as possible, but did anyone really need a thinner all-in-one desktop? Apple's priorities continue to baffle," the site wrote.
    Screw what these people say.  Most people will never open an iMac.  Fact.  Apple knows this and designs their products accordingly.  I love it, and from what the reviews coming in seem to imply, many others love it.  This iMac is a hit.  Just goes to show how little the opinions of these tech people are valued at.

    That being said, I'm just blown away at how minimal the internals of the new iMac are.  I've cracked open quite a few iMacs in my life and while I was always amazed at their engineering, it was still a beast to disassemble.  These new iMacs are just impressive in terms of engineering.  Removing the power supply has certainly simplified the interior immensely. 

    I'm looking forward to what the 27"+ version will be like.
    How much is consumer driven vs supply driven?  Is the fact that 'nobody opens up an iMac' because nobody wants to or because there's no point in doing so? Many people I talk to bemoan the fact that consumer goods can't be repaired and need to be discarded and replaced. I suspect there is a bit of consumer hypocrisy at play, too. People want devices that are repairable but then turn around and buy sleek, thin devices that can't be repaired. With the iMac, even the ability to swap out the logic board with relative ease would be nice.
    Seems like they could with this machine. Only impediment seems to be foam double sided tape and a screwdriver set. 
    Certainly looks like Apple could remanufacture the machine in a couple of years with instore techs to update them either as service to customer or as a refurb sale. 
    Would definitely like the option to refurbish/upgrade my machines down the line.  Not gonna hold my breath though.

    Alex_V
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