iFixit dismantles the new iPad

  • John Cox (Network World)
  • 22 March, 2012 09:33

The screwdriver compulsives at have destroyed one new iPad to tell the world what's inside it. In terms of third-party repair-ability, iFixit gives the new iPad a score of only 2 on a 10-point scale.

The major details, confirming most of what Apple said, and what many guessed:

* Dual-core Apple A5X processor with integrated quad-core graphics

* 9.7 inch LED backlit in-plane switching LCD, by Samsung, with 2048×1536 pixel "Retina Display"

* The NAND flash memory, in 16, 32 or 64 Gigabytes is by Toshiba

* 1GB DRAM comprised of two 4GB Elpida LP DDR2 parts

* a Broadcom BCM4330 802.11a/b/g/n Baseband/Radio, which includes - for the first time for iPad - integrated Bluetooth 4.0+HS

* Qualcomm MDM9600 3G and 4G wireless modem; some had expected the second generation MDM9615 modem

* Qualcomm RTR8600 multi-band/mode RF transceiver for LTE bands

Full details with the step-by-step destruction of the new tablet are online.

HOT STUFF: Apple denies new iPad overheating concerns 

MEMORIES: The last iPad 3 rumor rollup 

One of those who wondered if Apple would opt for the more recent Qualcomm modem, which relies on a 28-nanometer process, was Brian Klug, at A day after the new iPad's unveiling, he did some code sleuthing and concluded that Apple was sticking with the 45-nm 9600. "This part still contains UE Category 3 LTE, CDMA2000 1x/EVDO Rev.A (and B), GSM/EDGE, and WCDMA/HSPA+ all the way through DC-HSPA+ 42 Mbps," Klug noted. "It's a 45nm 13x13mm part we've seen in numerous other 4G LTE devices thus far.

The newest iFixit teardown showed, yet again, that Apple doesn't have the do-it-yourself market in mind. "Getting inside the iPad is as tricky as we expected, knowing how tough it was to get into the iPad 2. The front panel is glued to the frame," iFixit notes. "We carefully used a heat gun to loosen the adhesive, worked to budge the panel with some guitar picks and plastic opening tools, and finally gently lifted it off with some heavy duty suction cups."

One of the most obvious new additions: the "gigantic" new battery. "Next to the logic board is a gigantic battery, which takes most of the space inside the iPad. While the iPad 2 housed a formidable 25 watt-hour Li-ion battery, the iPad 3 has upped the ante to the tune of 42.5 watt-hours." The added 17.5 watt-hours are put "to good use powering the greatly improved CPU and GPU. The additional capacity was accomplished by increasing the physical size, not with new battery technology."

To see the completely disassembled new tablet:

iFixit gave iPad 2 a "repairability score" of 4 out 10. The new iPad only garners a 2. "We've spent the last year trying to repair the iPad 2 with mixed success," says iFixit. "We are awarding the new iPad an abysmal 2 out of 10, and retroactively dropping the repairability score of the iPad 2 to a 2 as well. The adhesive on the front is extremely difficult to remove without damaging the glass, making repair and end-of-life recycling very difficult."

iFixit also comments on Apple's claims that the new iPad is environmentally friendly because of its "recyclable aluminum and glass enclosure." "The materials may be recyclable, but the assembled unit is not," iFixit says. "We spoke yesterday with Steve Skurnac, President of SIMS Recycling Solutions—one of the largest electronics recyclers in the world. He told us, 'Sealed units make it difficult to remove the batteries. From a recycler's point of view, the hazardous components [like batteries] need to be easily separated or removed.'"

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