Apple iPad 4 Lambasted In New Tablet Teardown

iPad 3 teardown parts
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A teardown of the iPad 4 has revealed marginally better components, but Apple was again slated for its poor ‘repairability’

Apple continues to face tough questions from repair experts over the way it manufacturers its all-conquering Apple iPad tablet.

The questions are being posed by the teardown analysts over at iFixit, which has have been extremely busy the past two weeks, dutifully taking apart Apple’s latest gadgets, the 13-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display and the iPad Mini tablet.

Better Components

Now the teardown team has put the screws to the fourth-generation, full-size iPad, which was unveiled last month alongside the iPad Mini and MacBook Pro.

The latest edition of Apple’s popular tablet, launched just seven months after the debut of the iPad 3, sports an A6X processor, seen as central to the iPad’s consumer and enterprise appeal.

In their effort to dismantle the device, iFixit also discussed early on one of the major differences between the newest iPad and the iPad 3 in the Lightning connector, which replaces the 30-pin dock connector found on all older Apple devices.

To remove the screen from the casing, the team used a tool to soften the adhesive binding, discovering a liquid crystal display (LCD) panel manufactured by LG. The teardown team had previously found Samsung-manufactured displays in the iPad 3 and iPad Mini, but Apple often relies on multiple suppliers for the same components, so it is possible some iPad 4 tablets sport Samsung screens.

The report noted Apple passed up the chance to use the space created by the smaller Lightning connector to install bigger speakers – instead letting the new cable sit in a frame the same size as the old connector.

The team also lamented Apple’s habit of very securely adhering the batteries found in its products, in this instance to the rear case of the tablet. “Since batteries are consumables that wear out, the trend of glued-in, hard-to-access batteries in iPads and other Apple devices is unfortunate,” the report noted.

The front-facing camera on the iPad 4 was also deemed an improvement over the camera on the last iPad, offering a 1.2-megapixel (MP) FaceTime HD camera, with the ability to shoot 720p HD video instead of the 0.3MP FaceTime camera in the iPad 3.

While the improved camera is slightly thicker, Apple was able to fit it into the same space.

Poor Marks

Overall, the iPad 4 received low marks on the repairability scale, scoring a 2 out of 10 (a 10 being the easiest to repair). However, the report noted the LCD was easy to remove once the front panel is gone, and the battery, which is not soldered to the logic board, makes the replacement process “a tad less difficult.”

“Just like in the iPad 2 and 3, the front panel is glued to the rest of the device, greatly increasing the chances of cracking the glass when trying to remove it. Gobs, gobs, and gobs of adhesive hold everything in place, including the prone-to-start-a-fire-if-punctured battery,” the report concluded. “The LCD has foam sticky tape adhering it to the front panel, increasing chances of it being shattered during disassembly. You can’t access the front panel’s connector until you remove the LCD.”

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Originally published on eWeek.

  1. Maybe Apple will one day allow the battery to be accessed, and user replaced.

    The Mac Mii used to be a sealed affair, but the latest versions have a quick-release memory slot, so there is hope.

    1. not surprised at apple’s poor repairability -also all screens for apple products -after the samsung debacle- will not have samsung screens fitted- they severed them from their suppliers list- also ask apple how much a replacement battery and the fitting of same – will cost on the ipad or ipod when out of warranty!!!
      for a company supposedly at the cutting edge of the market, obviously customers come second to profit/reliabilty At least the toshiba prime has the ability to change the battery, by the user and is a very simple procedure and remember after 12 months the battery will not be covered by any extended warranty read small print! it is classed as consumable=even dell laptop batteries are not covered by extended warranties

  2. The rules should be changed re: warranties for batteries. If they are not made replaceable by the owner then they are covered by the extended warranty as then they are an integral part of the machine and not a replaceable wear part.

    This might then stop all this silly irremovable battery nonsense.

  3. What these fools at ifixit seem to forget is that Apple products, like most electronic products, are not designed to be repaired by third party repair companies. Do you honestly think that Apple is going to design a product that is easy to repair? of course not because they know that companies like ifixit will step in and take the repair business away from Apple. So, to stop third party companies from getting in on the repair business, they make the product very difficult to repair, that is unless you have to be an Apple approved dealer, where hence you will be given all the tools and information on how to repair the product. Ifixit are just monaing because it makes their life harder in fixing Apple products. Wake up owners of ifixit, your not supposed to fixed Apple products unless your an authourised Apple repair center, which i believe you are not.

    1. Yea, but making something unnecessarily difficult to repair just so you can maintain a monopoly on repairs is fundamentally wrong. I’d be totally understanding if this was just a side effect of the production method, but it’s actually not, it’s done just to stop people getting their phones fixed for cheaper. That on any level has to be wrong, and a very flagrant form of monopolisation. No?

    2. not all manufacturers intentionally make their products difficult to repair, only Apple!

      lots of other PCs, laptops, Phones and tablets are relatively easy to take apart without any specialised equipment, and the companies that make them are still making profit.

      There’s greedy and then there’s Apple!

    3. You are missing the point. The items are not meant to be repaired at all. They are either replaced or the customer upsold to the new model.