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IPad 2 Teardown Shows Tablet's Guts 368

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, Interesting)

    by yog ( 19073 ) * on Sunday March 13, 2011 @12:05PM (#35471772) Homepage Journal

    As a long time Linux programmer and user whose only Apple purchase was an 80 gig iPod a few years back, I was skeptical about the iPad, but after extensive research into the Android tablets, I finally decided to give the iPad a try. I own a Google Nexus One Android phone and was really hoping for a decent Android tablet, but they simply don't exist yet. Every single one has some sort of flaw or missing feature, although the Moto Xoom looks to be a competent offering, once it's tweaked and polished and the prices come down a bit.

    I have found the iPad to be a beautifully designed, well engineered best-of-class portable computer. Its battery life is outstanding, the user interface is smooth and natural, and it is incredibly convenient.

    I fly a lot, and even a small laptop is a pain to use in a cramped coach class seat, whereas the iPad in combination with a $30 leather portfolio case that lets it stand up in various configurations plus a wireless keyboard is just about ideal. It works with all my Google services--email, docs, calendar, contacts--about as well as on an Android handheld, and it does audio Skype phone calls, and the book reading software is adequate. Apple Pages is a pretty decent word processor. Eventually, my 6-year-old will inherit this unit when the really good Android tablets come out, and already she's addicted to the touch interface and the colorful paint and animation games one can download.

    I returned it within 14 days because the iPad 2 had just come out, and now I have to wait like everyone else to upgrade, but I don't regret my purchase for a minute.

    The touch tablet concept proved its value first with the Palm and iPod/iPhone products, and so a larger tablet was merely a logical migration, not a revolution. And yet it feels revolutionary, because suddenly I use a computer for a lot of things that I never would have done before. It fits easily and neatly on my exercise machine, for example, so I can read or watch videos while working out. It slips into a backpack or satchel very easily and is about as thick as a pad of paper, so it's almost an afterthought to bring it along to work or trips or events (but keep an eye on it!). I use it to read in bed, or watch videos late at night--also dangerous, because my eyes are getting tired from all the close-up focusing. I find myself reaching for the tablet rather than the laptop when I want to look something up, because it's simply easier and quicker, even without a mouse or full travel keyboard.

    By the way, the iPad's keyboard is surprisingly not bad to touch type on in landscape mode. I write stories in my spare time, and I have found I can type almost full speed--when I miss a key, the auto-correction often fixes it, although you need to be careful because it will auto-complete to the wrong word occasionally. The thing doesn't totally keep up with my typing, actually, and I'm hoping the iPad 2's increased CPU power will remedy that.

    Everyone screams about Flash missing from the iPad. I would agree that it's better to let the consumer choose, but really I have found it's a non-issue with the iPad. I have watched videos on WSJ, Yahoo, CNN, and a few other websites with no problem. The Youtube app works great, as does the Netflix app (both free). In fact, it's the best way for me to watch Netflix streaming video, since I don't own a Windows PC (hitherto, I watched Netflix in a VirtualBox Windows session but it's not ideal). On my Android phone which of course has Flash, I find it's mainly good for seeing fancy animated ads on websites.

    It's nice that after installing some iPod compatibility software from the Ubuntu software dialog, I could plug in my iPad to my Ubuntu laptop and explore the file system. I could also run iTunes from a VirtualBox WinXP session to do fancier sync'ing.

    Undoubtedly, by Christmas '11, there will be a plethora of highly competent Android tablets in the $200-$300 range that have all the features left out of the Apple products--Flash, MicroSD card expansion, USB

  • Re:fucktards (Score:0, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 13, 2011 @12:18PM (#35471874)

    Hey, Spaniards sold mirrors to native Americans and charged them all the gold, just because mirrors were shiny. Notice any similarity?

    So you're telling me ignorance is bliss? Of course, for apple. "15 million are completely wrong"? Perhaps you should ask all Hitler followers before trying to convince us with statistics.

    Your logic is flawed, but many people will buy into the iPad because it's shiny and "cool", not because it has an actual functionality. And because many don't know what they want.

  • Re:Ample 512mb ram? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by illumastorm ( 172101 ) on Sunday March 13, 2011 @12:24PM (#35471922)

    While it is true that desktops and laptops need more than 2GBs of RAM to even run an OS such as Windows. The iPad can get away with 512MB of RAM is due to the fact that the OS and the apps aren't as big as Windows or Windows programs. 512MBs is alot of RAM considering what the iPad is and what it can do.

  • Re:Ample 512mb ram? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Timmmm ( 636430 ) on Sunday March 13, 2011 @12:33PM (#35472000)

    Are you aware that on Android, apps are limited to 24 MB each? I've no idea what the limit is on iOS, but I can't see why 512 MB wouldn't be plenty.

  • 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.

  • by BasilBrush ( 643681 ) on Sunday March 13, 2011 @02:32PM (#35473078)

    The giveaway is that the posts from this account are made within a minute of the summary being publically posted. Quick enough to usually beat the "Frist psot!!1" idiots. Yet they contain a reasonable amount of text and are on topic. Paid subscribers get the summaries earlier than the rest of us. Yet this account isn't a paid subscriber. Which suggests a collection of accounts: one to read the summaries early, others including "devxo" to post the shilling comments.

Information is the inverse of entropy.