For this project, we have disassembled a valiantly sacrificed iPhone 3GS so that we could map the origins of each of the individual components that we found within the device. Throughout the course of our search, we strove to find both the country and, if possible, city of origin, as well as the date it was manufactured or assembled.
Our first step was taking the iPhone apart, which involved a great deal of force in seperating the pieces that had been industrially glued together as well as a very tiny screwdriver for the 24 screws. Once we seperated the pieces, we isolated the front and back plastic parts of the case, the heat sensor touch pad, the camera, the microphone, and the circuit board (motherboard) which housed the IC (integrated circuit) chips.
We then seperated the parts amongst the three of us and, using the serial numbers, date codes, and company abbreviations on the individual pieces, we were able to determine where the pieces were made, which companies made them, and, in the case of the motherboard, where they were assembled into a more cohesive product. Another interesting fact we learned about the iPhone 3GS was that many of the minerals that go into making the parts were actually mined in inner Mongolia and parts of China, and then shipped to factories and assembly plants in China, Taiwan, and South Korea.
The iPhone has changed slightly from the time the iPhone 3GS came out in 2009 to today in 2013 when we have the fifth generation iPhone. The iPhone 5, for instance, is much thinner because it does not have the layer of glass between the touch pad and the LCD that the earlier models have, and its battery life is longer.