New images obtained by Motherboard appear to show the specially designed “iPhone Calibration Machine” that Apple uses for screen replacements. One former Apple employee said the machine appeared after the release of the iPhone 5s and was “not very Apple-like at all.” The ex-Apple Genius said the machine had a much more utilitarian feel than Apple’s consumer devices, resembling something more like “a big clunky machine that honestly looked like someone built it in their backyard.” The device requires different iPhones to be placed in specific molds before being placed inside and has at least one liquid inside the machine that forces employees to wear gloves to prevent damage to their hands.
The device features various shapes, flock paper and a gray card for calibrating the phone’s camera, but the true proprietary ability of the device is being able to pair a new Touch ID module with an old device. The iPhone is paired with an iMac and updated with one of Apple’s own in-house servers to facilitate the repair, securely linking the Touch ID sensor with the Secure Enclave, making Apple the only repair shop able to simply replace an iPhone’s screen outright without having to remove the existing Touch ID button. While independent repair shops are lobbying to gain access to Apple’s repair manuals and parts, Apple has pushed back on “right to repair” legislation, telling one official that passing such a law would make her state a “mecca for bad actors.”