Apple Watch Series 3 LTE Teardown Reveals Intricate But Serviceable Internals, Slightly Larger Battery

apple watch series 3 ifixit 1
The Apple Watch Series 3 was released last week to mixed reviews. While some reveled in the ability to make phone calls without needing to be tethered to an iPhone, nagging connectivity issues lead many reviewers to shun the hot new wearable. However, now that the device is out into the hands of millions of customers, you knew what was coming next: the teardown, of course.

The folks at iFixit broke out their heating pad and knife to slice into the Series 3, much like it did with the previous generation Series 2. Inside, they found that the layout of the device's internals hasn’t changed much, although a "whole new section of RF chips" was discovered, which obviously relate to the newfound LTE capabilities. The team also came across a barometric altimeter, which sits next to the microphone. Apple introduced the altimeter as a new feature for the Series 3 during the keynote earlier this month, but hardware was actually included to enable this feature on the Series 2.

apple watch series 3 ifixit 2

Other new components found include the eSIM, which is manufactured by ST Mircoelectronics. There’s also the W2 wireless chip, which promises to boost its 802.11n Wi-Fi speeds by 85 percent while making both Bluetooth and Wi-Fi 50 percent more power efficient than the Series 3. Also uncovered was the new Apple S3 dual-core processor, which is up to 70 percent faster than the preceding S2 chip. We should note that battery capacity is up ever so slightly from 1.03 Whr to 1.07 Whr. Given this meager output, it’s no wonder that LTE calls on a Series 3 will drain your fully-charged battery in an hour or less.

In the end, actually getting inside and mucking around with the internal components of the Apple Watch Series 3 wasn't too daunting a task for the iFixit crew. Replacing the display is a difficult procedure, but manageable if you have the right parts, tools and the patience to pull it off. Likewise, replacing the battery is also possible if you pack a Y000 screwdriver in your tool belt. The Apple Watch Series 3 achieved a repairability score of 6 out of 10, which is quite good for such a densely packed wearable.

apple watch series 3 ifixit 3

While it might be possible to make limited repairs to your Apple Watch Series 3, Apple definitely would rather you simply take to an authorized service center. In an interview last week regarding the new iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus, Apple VP Lisa Jackson warned, "Our first thought is, 'You don't need to repair this.' When you do, we want the repair to be fairly priced and accessible to you. To think about these very complex products and say the answer to all our problems is that you should have anybody to repair and have access to the parts is not looking at the whole problem."