iFixit has now performed its customary teardown on Apple’s fourth-generation iPad, and it seems like a lengthy case of déjà vu. While there are some differences between this model and its predecessor, such as the introduction of Apple’s new A6X processor and Lightning connector, it seems the device remains largely the same — inside and out.
I suppose that’s hardly a surprise to most of you, given that this is essentially a minor, “incremental” upgrade. However, iFixit notes that Apple has almost wasted the opportunity to make certain changes or improvements.
Like the third-generation iPad and the iPad mini, Apple’s latest tablet takes a lot of effort to pull apart. The display has to be heated up so that the adhesive holding it down can be pried apart. Once inside, everything’s largely the same as it was before.
Apple is now using an LG display for the fourth-generation iPad, as opposed to the Samsung display it used in the third model. However, it’s likely that both companies are actually supplying the panels in an effort to meet the strong demands of Apple’s customers.
The battery remains exactly the same; it has the same model number and offers the same 3.7 volt, 43 Whr output. It’s not soldered to the logic board as it is in some of Apple’s newer iOS devices, which means battery replacements will be easier and significantly cheaper. Apple still uses “gobs, gobs, and gobs” of glue to hold everything together, however, so the device isn’t at all easy to repair.
Here’s a list of chips that iFixit found on the iPad’s logic board:
- Apple A6X Processor
- Hynix H2JTDG8UD2MBR 16 GB NAND Flash
- Apple 338S1116 Cirrus Logic Audio Codec
- 343S0622-A1 Dialog Semi PMIC
- Apple 338S1077 Cirrus Logic Class D Amplifier
- QVP TI 261 A9P2
- Broadcom BCM5974 Touch Screen Controller
- Broadcom BCM5973A1 Touch Screen Controller
- Texas Instruments CD3240B0 Touch Screen Line Driver
- 2 x 4Gb Elpida LP DDR2 = 1 GB DRAM in separate packages in a 64-bit configuration
- 2 x Fairchild BCHAH/FDMC Voltage Regulator / Reference
- Murata 339S0171 Broadcom BCM4334 WiFi Module
Despite its teeny tiny Lightning connector, the new iPad has hardly any extra space at its bottom end. Why? Because for some strange reason, Apple chose to use the same frame it used for the old 30-pin connector. Instead, it could have modified the frame to make room for stereo speakers — like the iPad mini’s — but it didn’t.
Aside from the obvious differences, then, the fourth-generation iPad is much the same as its predecessor. Apple could have made more improvements, but it chose not to. As upgrades go, this is one of the smallest the iPad has seen. And it goes without saying that if you already have a third-generation model, this one probably isn’t worth the upgrade.
iFixit awards the new iPad mini a repairability rating of 2 out of 10.