There’s no secret that Apple announced several new products today; and they all seem to be pretty impressive! What caught my attention first was that the new iPhone 6S and 6S Plus are now made from 7000 series aluminum. This is in effort to stop the bending problem that the current iPhone 6 and 6 Plus have, and today’s release confirmed the rumors that have been floating around for a few months about the new structure.
Here’s a little bit about alloys for those that are truly interested. For those that are not, this may be a little waste of time 😉
The International Alloy Designation System is the most widely accepted naming scheme for wrought alloys. Each alloy is given a four-digit number, where the first digit indicates the major alloying elements.
-1000 series are essentially pure aluminium with a minimum 99% aluminium content by weight and can be work hardened.
-2000 series are alloyed with copper, can be precipitation hardened to strengths comparable to steel. Formerly referred to as duralumin, they were once the most common aerospace alloys, but were susceptible to stress corrosion cracking and are increasingly replaced by 7000 series in new designs.
-3000 series are alloyed with manganese, and can be work hardened.
-4000 series are alloyed with silicon. They are also known as silumin.
-5000 series are alloyed with magnesium.
-6000 series are alloyed with magnesium and silicon. They are easy to machine, are weldable, and can be precipitation hardened, but not to the high strengths that 2000 and 7000 can reach. 6061 alloy is one of the most commonly used general-purpose aluminium alloy.
-7000 series are alloyed with zinc, and can be precipitation hardened to the highest strengths of any aluminium alloy (tensile strength up to 700 MPa for the 7068 alloy).
-8000 series are alloyed with other elements which are not covered by other series. Aluminium-lithium alloys are an example.
So with your new found aluminum knowledge, you can see that the new iPhones will have the highest strength possible, which is a good thing in my opinion. I bent my iPhone 6 shortly after I purchased it, and I even blogged about it here.
Personally, I know that the cause of a lot of screen cracks are due to bent iPhones, so kudos to Apple for rectifying a problem that seems to have been swept under the rug.
We’ve gotten our hands on one of the new iPhone 6S screens, and there is a mysterious little chip that is soldered to the back; we are guessing that it’s the 3D touch screen “force touch” controller, but until we get our hands on a complete phone, the answer will have to remain in the hands of the engineers at Apple. Time will tell, and I can guarantee you that the repair market will be very interested in this IC that may take us by surprise.
Never fear, I know that this won’t change our ability to perform the best repairs in the market, but now that the aluminum shell is tougher, we are going to really need to hone our “blacksmithing” skills for those bent cases. Have you ever seen an iPhone after it’s fallen down a flight of stairs? We have.
If you’re an Apple fan, today was a fun day. I’m looking forward to seeing these new devices in my hands soon!
Have a good night, Ryan
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