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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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  • Re:Tablets (Score:5, Insightful)

    by DavidR1991 (1047748) on Sunday March 13, 2011 @10:01AM (#35471264) Homepage

    The thing with courier is that, whilst I agree it was a great form factor, it didn't actually exist. It was all talk - no shippable product. So for all the flaws that may exist in Apple's vision of the tablet form factor (or the Android ones for that matter) at least they actually exist - they're real, they work and they are being sold today.

    Courier looked as though it was years away from even being thought of as a real product, let alone being sold to people in the real world

  • Re:fucktards (Score:3, Insightful)

    by arcite (661011) on Sunday March 13, 2011 @10:26AM (#35471448)
    OK but.... wirelessly sending the movie form your iPad to your hi-def TV is decidedly more cool and useful.
  • Re:fucktards (Score:5, Insightful)

    by UnknowingFool (672806) on Sunday March 13, 2011 @10:33AM (#35471514)

    Have you ever seen somebody watching a two hour movie on ipad? It's a sight to behold. TWO HOURS of holding it in your one hand.

    Have you ever seen somebody watching a two hour movie on a laptop? It's a sight to behold. TWO HOURS of holding it in your two hands. Or someone reading a book. Hours and hours of never moving or shifting and just keeping that thing suspended at arms length the entire time. ;)

    tablets do not function as a useful tool except for the guys who scan your creditcards with a handholding device (and for similar purpose). But who am I to reason with retards, fucktards and fanbois?

    You're right. And 15 million people who've bought an iPad are completely wrong. And the millions more who bought/may buy Android tablets. Why can't these people see that tablets is ill suited to your needs and thus they should never get one?

  • by qubezz (520511) on Sunday March 13, 2011 @10:43AM (#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?

  • Re:512mb? really? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Dixie_Flatline (5077) <vincent DOT jan DOT goh AT gmail DOT com> on Sunday March 13, 2011 @11:16AM (#35471854) Homepage

    Ample here means sufficient. It seems to get the job done, and gets it done better (by all accounts) than the Samsung, despite it being half as much.

    Having more RAM in and of itself isn't useful if you're not going to use it. Apple gets to save money on the memory AND beat the performance of the Samsung? That's just clever.

    I don't have an iPad of any sort yet, but putting good cameras in it seems a waste of time to me. I've got an iPhone 4 that I'm far more likely to take pictures on (who wants to hold up a whole freakin' tablet to take a picture?) and a Sony cybershot that I'm MUCH more likely to take travelling with me to take movies and pictures with.

    Samsung is wasting time and money spec-padding. And that dual-core graphics and CPU don't seem to be helping them any in head-to-head comparisons.

    Apple has just designed a better tablet at a better price that people are willing to buy. Don't blame Apple for doing it the smart way, blame Samsung for not paying attention to what will actually perform best and attract customers.

  • by itsdapead (734413) on Sunday March 13, 2011 @11:37AM (#35472032)

    Sorry to burst your applesauce bubble, but 512mb ram is hardly ample in 2011.

    Thanks for the valuable info. Without your wisdom, how would I know that the 256MB RAM on my iPad 1 was so pitifully inadequate?

    On other systems, users would know that they had inadequate RAM due to the usual symptoms (machine slowing to a crawl, errors, crashes) but Evil Apple has conspired to ensure that these rarely happen on the typical iPad, fooling customers into think that, because their device runs perfectly, they have adequate RAM.

    The rascals! I feel soiled.

  • by itsdapead (734413) on Sunday March 13, 2011 @11:58AM (#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 Sponge Bath (413667) on Sunday March 13, 2011 @12:02PM (#35472268)
    Maybe devxo is just a compulsive fanboy. Slashdot has more than a few of those hanging around. Never ascribe to malice that which is adequately explained by someone clicking away in their mom's basement.
  • by Dzimas (547818) on Sunday March 13, 2011 @12:51PM (#35472726)

    You're missing three key things.

    1. The 512MB of memory is incorporated on the A5 chip, along with a dual core CPU and GPU. It's a system on a chip that's estimated to cost a mere $28.90. The true magic in iPad is the hardware engineering -- it's all about providing the best user experience on dirt cheap hardware. For the first time in mass market history, the case (including display) costs more to manufacture than the computer it contains.

    2. iOS is a compact mobile OS that runs on homogeneous hardware. There are essentially only two different hardware options. Developers know with absolute certainty how their apps perform when they ship and don't need to overspec hardware requirements -- if it runs sluggishly, they need to recode it. Period.

    3. Nearly everyone who owns a computer isn't a computer user. They've never compiled code in their lives and haven't got a clue how their machines work. They're not hard-core gamers, either. They just want to connect with others, write a few letters, surf and play cheap games. They don't need a quad core machine with 16GB of RAM and a few terabytes of drive space for that.

  • by ColdWetDog (752185) on Sunday March 13, 2011 @12:55PM (#35472764) Homepage

    Sorry to burst your applesauce bubble, but 512mb ram is hardly ample in 2011.

    Truth mod me up, fanboy mod me down. In the end, you know an expensive piece of tech like this should have at least double, if not quadruple that ram... its 2011, don't forget that.

    Ahh, the passion of youth. The unadulterated joy of believing that the new way is the best way, that nearly a million years of human history can be shoveled under the Pergo flooring with nary an afterthought. The exuberance that comes from a knowledge base spanning months in time.

    Get over it kid, people have been running entire rocket systems on much less than 512 MB RAM. It's a limited appliance designed to do a couple of things well. Running Crysis isn't one of them. Sorry to bust your nihilist bubble, but Apple is laughing all the way to the bank.

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

  • 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.

  • by SuperKendall (25149) on Sunday March 13, 2011 @05:08PM (#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.

  • by Sycraft-fu (314770) on Monday March 14, 2011 @05:58AM (#35477670)

    I happen to love demoscene stuff, but I also happen to have a realistic assessment of what it is and how it works. So, let's take a look at one of Farbrausch's demos, since they really are the kings of the 64k compo. So we'll take fr-27, it's one that after the contest they managed to optimize down to just 47k on disk. All that and ti is full 3D, amazing. Ok but here's a question: How large is it in RAM? Answer is 77MB. That's right, as it loads (the little white bar on black background) it is generating a bunch of procedural data to RAM. Tiny on disk, big on the RAM.

    Also all it manages with that is some very simplistic geometric shapes and animations. It's cool, don't get me wrong, but it is just very simple stuff. No complex artwork, no detailed animation.

    So let's take a newer one, fr-41. This one is a little larger but still only 177k on disk. Also it has a full city scape that is quite nice looking. Still suffers a bit from the procedural generation "copy-paste) brush, but is far more than just simple geometric stuff. Also has some more advanced animation and morphing. Plus it has a UI to configure things. So how's it do on the RAM usage? 835MB. Damn. It has to decompress a ton of stuff in to RAM to fit in that size.

    See those small demos are the art of a certain kind of optimization. You go for low disk usage at all costs. That's fine but it ends up taking up massive amounts of memory, plus heavy CPU and/or GPU usage to generate the content. Fine and extremely cool, I -love- it but don't pretend that all programs could be like that. Also it couldn't run on the iPad, not near enough resources.

    Then there's just the fact that you lose flexibility. You have to deal with more simple things when it is all procedurally generated, you lose artistic control. You can see it in Farbrausch demos. Have a look at fr-25, their second most famous one (fr-19 their fist 64k is their most famous). It is a demo with a fully produced song with vocals and instruments, not just algorithmically synthesized music, and with advanced animation. Uses the same engine as their 64k demos, but weighs in at 8.6MB.

    So you might want to learn a bit more about the tradeoffs one has to make for some of these things. To briefly touch on your garage band thing, I have multiple General MIDI instrument sample libraries. My smallest is a 4MB SoundFont. My largest is 40GB. the 4MB and 40GB library span the same collection of 128 instruments. However if you think the final sound is the same, you are kidding yourself, I don't keep the big one around for show.

The most exciting phrase to hear in science, the one that heralds new discoveries, is not "Eureka!" (I found it!) but "That's funny ..." -- Isaac Asimov

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