It is the same old song and dance every year. A new series of iPhones are released, and people scrounge together all their pennies in the hopes of being able to afford the latest and greatest Apple smartphone. A month thereafter, and iFixit tears down the latest iPhones to reveal that all of the innards are worth half what the device costs in stores. Capitalism!
Well, what if you could get all of those parts yourself? This is the idea that Scotty Allen had and, unbelievably, he succeeded. A former software engineer by trade, today Allen is more widely known as the man who built his own iPhone 6S… from spare parts.
Allen is a traveller and tech-junkie like no other. He travelled to Shenzen, China, over a period of a few months, and discovered that all the parts needed to build an iPhone were readily available to him. Taking up the challenge of building an iPhone, Allen did not estimate that he would spend more than $1300 USD in total, of which only $300 USD actually ended up going toward the phone.
In the video above, we see Allen’s daily struggles as he attempts the challenge. It is by no means an easy one, but it is most certainly an eye-opening experience. He first focused on the main components of the phone: the logic board, display, battery and back casing. He managed to get them all by scouring Shenzen’s markets. Allen’s hope was to do everything himself but had to resort to buying a recycled logic board due to the difficulties imposed by the Touch ID and Secure Enclave’s pairing. This ended up costing him extra, compared to what it would have cost, had he known from the start.
With everything said and done, you might be wondering why Allen did not go for an iPhone 7, since that is the newer phone. Well, it turns out that he would have, had parts been more readily available. Apple’s iPhone 6S has been on the market since 2015. As such, the phone has had two years to make its rounds through the various markets throughout the world, including the big spare parts shops in China.
All in all, the project worked out much more expensive than one would think. Allen mentions that he spent around $1000 USD on tools that he never actually needed. He mentions that, for around $300 USD, one would be able to buy and build the phone with a bit of help. As he notes in his interview with XDA Developers, the task of building an iPhone really is not as easy as it sounds.
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