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Apple

IPad 2 Teardown Shows Tablet's Guts 368

Posted by samzenpus
from the taking-a-look-under-the-hood dept.
alphadogg writes "Apple's iPad 2 tablet, which became available Friday, boasts a big battery, tiny speakers, an ample 512MB of RAM and a glass front that's tricky for tinkerers to take off. That's the upshot from an initial teardown of the new Apple tablet by iFixit, which specializes in Apple product repair. IFixit warns that those who dare to peer into the insides of the iPad 2 on their own risk cracking the glass front panel, which is thinner than that from the original iPad (0.62 mm vs. 0.85 mm) and glued on rather than attached via tabs. A heat gun was needed by iFixit to disassemble the device."
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IPad 2 Teardown Shows Tablet's Guts

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  • Sounds a lot like an iPhone 4 and the Macbook Air. I work for an authorized Mac sales and service center; our Mac specialist had to use a heat gun to take the screen/glass off on a Macbook Air. Research for the iPhone 4 returns similar needs.

    Like the article says, a heatgun did the trick.

    • If you work for an authorised service centre, why haven't you got the service manuals?

      • by Laebshade (643478)

        Who says we don't?

        I said that she had to use a heat gun to take off the screen/glass on the Macbook Air. I never said she didn't have manuals (she does).

        • It just read like she was working out what so was doing as she went rather than following procedure.

      • Is having the service manual going to magically make it possible to take the device apart without the heat gun?

    • by ilikejam (762039) on Sunday March 13, 2011 @11:41AM (#35471590) Homepage

      You can use a microwave as well - it's a bit faster.

      • You can use a microwave as well - it's a bit faster.

        I imagine that an oxyacetylene torch would be faster yet, but speed isn't always the only metric.

        (People these days, no patience.)

      • And somewhat more sparkly!

    • by macs4all (973270) on Sunday March 13, 2011 @03:19PM (#35473428)

      Sounds a lot like an iPhone 4 and the Macbook Air. I work for an authorized Mac sales and service center; our Mac specialist had to use a heat gun to take the screen/glass off on a Macbook Air. Research for the iPhone 4 returns similar needs.

      Like the article says, a heatgun did the trick.

      If you work on consumer electronics products, then you well know that the use of high-performance adhesives is very common, and certainly not limited to Apple products.

      From a mechanical-engineering and "packaging" standpoint, displays are particularly well-suited for the use of high-performance adhesive attachment methods. In a former life, I worked for an industrial controls company that replaced a really problematic front panel/display attachment bracket-thing with a thin line of industrial cyanoacrylate adhesive. That method wasn't perfect, either; but it was a damn sight more manufacturable than the bracket and screws that it replaced. And this was back in 1992, so it ain't exactly a new solution to this problem. In fact, it's a widely-accepted industry practice. Loctite and 3M, to name two adhesives manufacturers, have a whole line of industrial products specifically designed for this sort of thing.

  • by Shivetya (243324) on Sunday March 13, 2011 @11:03AM (#35471282) Homepage Journal

    http://www.anandtech.com/show/4216/apple-ipad-2-gpu-performance-explored-powervr-sgx543mp2-benchmarked [anandtech.com]

    and their review helps as well http://www.anandtech.com/show/4215/apple-ipad-2-benchmarked-dualcore-cortex-a9-powervr-sgx-543mp2 [anandtech.com]

    The key items to take away from both are, yeah the cameras suck but this is truly a real upgrade from the iPad. Performance alone puts is ahead of the older model as well as many available tablets. They did find out that the dual core processor is actually running at only 900mhz. While the Xoom pushes more pixels because of its 1280x800 versus 1078x768 the iPad2 pulls far ahead of it, beyond what the pixel count would account for. As for gaming, some games are already taking advantage of the new power, Infinity Blade has been updated and looks fantastic. This brings up the issue, will there be apps sold that are marked iPad2 required?

    Better yet, its cheaper than its nearest competition. The only question is, how long before really good Android tablets come along?

    • While the Xoom pushes more pixels because of its 1280x800 versus 1078x768 the iPad2 pulls far ahead of it, beyond what the pixel count would account for.

      From what I've read so far about the Xoom is that it's better than other iPad competitors so far but that for an average consumer it still needs a bit of polishing. It functions fine but the little touches aren't there. For example while the Xoom has a higher screen size, it unfortunately has smaller text because the font size in many parts of the OS hasn't been tweaked. For consumers with less than average eyesight, it's a minus. These things can be fixed over time but at the moment, it makes the Xoom

      • by qubezz (520511) on Sunday March 13, 2011 @11:43AM (#35471604)

        Right now it appears that Apple is using every advantage they have to keep the pricing low...

        Hi, my name is Steve, welcome to the Apple store and thanks for purchasing the iPad. In order to use your device, you'll need to register with iTunes to ensure a constant flow of money to Apple for apps, music, media, ebooks, etc. Don't worry, e-magazines and such will still be the same price as other websites if they want to get their stuff on your tablet (don't worry that we are taxing your media companies 30% [which.co.uk] for the privilege of getting through the gatekeeper to your DRM'd locked down device...) Which credit card would you like to register with?

        • by iluvcapra (782887) on Sunday March 13, 2011 @02:01PM (#35472822)

          As others have pointed out, Apple really doesn't make any profit from the iTunes business, they just make it available as an inducement to buying iThings -- people want iThings, but they actually want movies, books and videos more, and those things draw people to iThings. They key insight behind the pitching of these devices is the realization that people want content, and an iPod is just an Archos unless you put a store behind it. You can sell on the media you want to iThing owners, as long as you do the whole transaction over the web and don't rely on the platform to do DRM.

          I don't know if that justifies the 30% thing, but we'll just see what they can get away with. The dream scenario for Apple is the studios go to the Android media markets, pay lower rates to sell on those, but the "openness" of Android allows the customers to use DRM ripping technology willynilly on the platform, causing the content distros to return to Apple, chastened, swearing never to allow their content on an open platform again. Apple's extracting a high tariff but they provide a protected pipeline, something I'm not sure any Android device will ever do. I'm really curious to see what WebOS does.

          The dynamic on the Android phones is similar. If Android users ever begin to systematically circumvent call or SMS billing with VOIP, the phone providers won't play along.

      • I own Xoom.

        or example while the Xoom has a higher screen size, it unfortunately has smaller text because the font size in many parts of the OS hasn't been tweaked.

        I'm pretty sure that's not true. Text size is nice, and font rendering is much better than the usual blurry one so loved by Apple (to my eyes anyway - this is of course subjective).

        The thing about Xoom, though, is that the software is clearly beta quality. I stopped counting how many times Market has crashed on me, and it still has no way to rate apps (if you call support, they'll give directions which seem to imply that their script is about some completely different UI). Browser occasionally cr

    • While you'd expect Android device manufacturers to be slightly ahead of the game because they're on arbitrary release cycles (unlike Apple's apparent 1-year cycle), they can't keep up with Apple on price because of Apple's ability to design the device, pre-order a huge number of the parts, and use the economy of scale to their advantage. I'd suspect that the lag time for an Android device to match the iPad is anywhere from 3 - 9 months. Not only do they have to catch up on the design aspect (mostly; obvious

  • by Matey-O (518004)

    Boy. THAT was a lame article. It was, word for word (except where they doubled up on the same sentence twice) everything stated in the iFixit video. This guy must a spent a LOT of time copying off other people's tests.

    • by qubezz (520511)

      Here's a link [ifixit.com] to the original article with teardown pictures. Beware blatant product placement of ifixit tools.

      Looks like Apple wasn't happy enough putting proprietary tamper-resistant fasteners [digitaltrends.com] on this device though, the iPad 2 is glued together.

      • by Anonymous Coward
        All the talk about the glue and other things being Apple's way of messing with people are missing the point. Structural adhesive is a very good way of keep manufacturing costs down and improving the actual quality of a product. It is far easier to automate than screwing hardware. Some may disagree but having worked in manufacturing engineering and building automated systems for 8 years...that is my opinion.

        Does it make it harder to repair...yes. Do modern devices like this need as much repair (I bet th

  • by wondershit (1231886) on Sunday March 13, 2011 @11:47AM (#35471642)

    Why the main article this summary is about is not linked is beyond me...

    http://www.ifixit.com/Teardown/iPad-2-Wi-Fi-Teardown/5071/1 [ifixit.com]

  • ...and copy the sleek design to create a product that is equally appealing to the eyes and twice or three times as powerful?

    • by itsdapead (734413) on Sunday March 13, 2011 @12:58PM (#35472224)

      ...and copy the sleek design to create a product that is equally appealing to the eyes and twice or three times as powerful?

      Ignoring the "economy of scale" issue (Apple orders displays, Flash etc. in huge quantities to get low prices) how do you make it twice or three times as powerful and still use the same parts?

      Faster processors/graphics cost more. They generate more heat (so you can't pack them in as tightly) and they use more power (so you have to make the battery bigger or sacrifice battery life).

      Higher-res cameras cost more, and probably use more power/generate more heat to boot. They're usually less sensitive (less light falls on each pixel) which means poorer low-light performance, or more amplification (more noise, more power, more heat => even more noise) or built-in illumination (more power/heat). Higher-quality cameras need higher-quality lenses which occupy more space.

      Many of the "improvements" that Apple critics ask for also occupy more space or consume more power: more USB/SD/video connections = more space occupied by connectors and their internal cables and daughterboards + more complex and expensive assembly. Removable battery = user-proof internal battery connectors, extra protection to stop users damaging innards when replacing battery (more space, weight), need to make the battery rigid and safe to handle outside the case (more space, weight, less volume for battery) user-removable back (more space, weight...).

      • by UnknowingFool (672806) on Sunday March 13, 2011 @02:31PM (#35473064)

        Ignoring the "economy of scale" issue (Apple orders displays, Flash etc. in huge quantities to get low prices) how do you make it twice or three times as powerful and still use the same parts?

        I guess here is where people seem to ignore that logistics and planning matter. You can't go from 0 to 15 million in one year without having to put in effort to build out a supply network, work through manufacturing issues, etc. Also it appears that Apple was ahead of its competitors at least a year so they could lock down supply of critical components like 10" screens. I've read rumors that Apple also helped their supplier build capacity where needed in exchange for guaranteed supply.

        Faster processors/graphics cost more. They generate more heat (so you can't pack them in as tightly) and they use more power (so you have to make the battery bigger or sacrifice battery life).

        Here is where Apple designing their own chip has an advantage. They can optimize their chip for power/performance more so than their competitors. While the Tegra is a decent chip, Motorola can't really optimize like they may want. Samsung could design their own chip however as a unit, their chip company is somewhat independent of their consumer electronics division and may not be able to truly leverage expertise like they would wish.

        Higher-res cameras cost more, and probably use more power/generate more heat to boot. They're usually less sensitive (less light falls on each pixel) which means poorer low-light performance, or more amplification (more noise, more power, more heat => even more noise) or built-in illumination (more power/heat). Higher-quality cameras need higher-quality lenses which occupy more space.

        The Xoom does have better cameras but the Apple cameras are adequate for average consumers. This may be more of a decision that Apple feels that average consumers won't really use the higher resolution. Also this might be also a case to where Apple despite their best efforts didn't think that they could guarantee the supply. So they may have focused their attention on more critical components like the screen, the flash memory, etc.

        Many of the "improvements" that Apple critics ask for also occupy more space or consume more power: more USB/SD/video connections = more space occupied by connectors and their internal cables and daughterboards + more complex and expensive assembly. Removable battery = user-proof internal battery connectors, extra protection to stop users damaging innards when replacing battery (more space, weight), need to make the battery rigid and safe to handle outside the case (more space, weight, less volume for battery) user-removable back (more space, weight...).

        Really anyone still arguing for a removable battery is blindly ignoring all the disadvantages. There are advantages and disadvantages to having a removable battery. Considering that many smart phones and tablets have opted for a non-removable ones instead shows that many manufacturers consider the disadvantages of a removable battery to outweigh the advantages. Indeed if you ever looked at one of these teardowns, the one thing that is obvious is how much internal volume the battery takes. Making it removable would be problematic without having to use a smaller battery. The tradeoff is that you can have a removable battery but the battery life would be shorter or a non-removable battery with longer battery life. Many manufacturers appear to be picking the later.

    • Probably because apple subsidizes the (hardware) cost from apps and itunes, something an open system can't do.
      • by jo_ham (604554) <joham999&gmail,com> on Sunday March 13, 2011 @02:30PM (#35473048)

        It's been stated often that the iTunes and App Stores break even for Apple (or close to it) - the bulk of the cash from there goes to the developers. If they're subsidising it's from the large cash reserves they have, or bulk orders, not the App Store.

        My sense is volume pricing based on prior sales and the backing of a large cash reserve.

      • Apple is almost certainly making money on every iPad sold even without apps.

        They've got economies of scale working for them, though. They can order parts in such enormous quantities that it's impossible for other manufacturers to keep up.

        But on the Android side, there's virtually no development cost for the OS (to the manufacturer); Apple subsidizes all of iOS's development themselves.

        Samsung can subsidize their hardware cost because a considerable number of the components that they themselves manufacture a

    • by hey! (33014)

      Well, for one thing it's hard to build a system that is very thin, combines a great screen, reasonable performance and long battery life, and to make that all really *cheap*. There are lots and lots of Android tablets at half the price of the iPad, and not surprisingly they all sacrifice one thing or another (typically screen size or quality, performance, or in the case of the B&N Nook support costs are trimmed by limiting functionality).

      Apple is using the same (or equivalent) suppliers as anyone else

      • by SuperKendall (25149) on Sunday March 13, 2011 @06:08PM (#35474678)

        The Xoom compares to only one iPad2 model, a 3G unit with a decent amount of storage - and even then it's around $70 more.

        The thing is that you can get twice the storage for even less with an iPad if you are willing to forgo 3G. Or if you don't have a lot of money you can get an iPad for many hundreds less.

        I don't think it's correct to say that because one particular model is close at all price-wise, that the two units are close in price. You have to consider the entry price to get into the platform, which is the starting point that consumers use to make choices. For someone initially considering these two devices they come off as $500 for an iPad2 and $800 for a Xoom... or even to be fair I guess you could use the subsidized Xoom price at $600. But that seems a bit dubious to me as not many people will see that price and it's not MSRP.

  • Actual link (Score:4, Informative)

    by Legion303 (97901) on Sunday March 13, 2011 @09:58PM (#35475902) Homepage

    http://www.ifixit.com/Teardown/iPad-2-Wi-Fi-Teardown/5071/1 [ifixit.com]

    Stellar job as usual, editors, allowing someone to post a shitty blog link instead of the real article.

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