Your iPhone may be assembled in China, but what happens to it when you sell it on eBay or recycle it? Chances are, it goes back to China. Looking for a spare part for your iPhone, say for a broken screen? Chances are, it comes from China.
See a trend here? You should. In fact, self-declared hacker, engineer and former Silicon Valley software engineer Scotty Allen, who spends his life traveling the world, spent some time in Shenzhen, China on a mission to build an iPhone 6S just from the parts he found around the various local (sometimes gray) markets.
In a surprisingly compelling 23-minute video, the supernerd visits phone-part markets in Huaquaingbei. He starts simple enough with iPhone cases and batteries, but soon goes deeper into the markets as he has a capacitive screen cooked to his display, bargains for logic boards (and has to return one after he finds that the compass is malfunctioning), volume switches and ribbon cables. The adventure is surprisingly compelling and shows not only theses amazing second-hand markets in China, but also the massive market for used iPhone parts across the world.
He says his motivation was simple: “So when someone mentioned they wondered if you could build a working smartphone from parts in the markets, I jumped at the chance to really dive in and understand how everything works. Well, I sat on it for nine months, and then I dove in,” he noted on YouTube.
As of this writing, the video already has 1.1 million views, and that’s after being up for just one day. Seems the guy is onto something, and we have a feeling this isn’t the last we see of him if he keeps this up.