My wife dropped her iPhone 5 and the screen shattered. Since we had an old iPhone she could use for a couple of days, and since we’re planning on getting her a new phone after her period of indenture to Verizon ends in a couple of months, I wasn’t excited about paying Apple $269 for an official fix, so I turned to the free market. Using only my unfettered free will, and Google, I was able to find a replacement screen assembly for $80.
I’ve worked on a lot of computers over the years, including fixing a laptop or two, but mein Gott are the parts inside that phone tiny. Through the intercession of Baby Jesus, and Google, I fortunately purchased an assembly that included a lilliputian tool set, and man did I need it. I’m trying to think of a good comparison for the size of the screws — 50 grains of salt? the part of Dick Cheney’s brain capable of honest self-examination? Anyway, they’re very small.
Because the connectors that go from the screen to the main board are also small and difficult to seat correctly, it took me three tries to get a good connection. Each failed attempt resulted in a screen with white lines, or a screen that wouldn’t respond to touch. I only had to remove a total of 5 interior screws to do this repair because the Middle Way taught by Gautama Buddha, and Google, led me to a screen assembly rather than a screen, which means that it included the home button, camera and earpiece already attached. Some kits require transfer of those parts from the old phone to the new, and another half-dozen adventures with screws.
Now I realize that over at Foxconn, the workers probably have a better set of tools and a magnifying lamp, but I was about to have suicide nets installed around my house by the time I got those fucking screws in and out during the three tries it took to get this repair right. And there are over 40 screws [pdf] inside this damn thing.
I cannot imagine a life spent working 12 or 16 hour days putting these devices together.