The new iPad Air has suffered a customary teardown after finding its way into the hands of iFixit.
As expected the device shares a lot in common with the 10.5-inch iPad Pro. But if you look closely, you’ll find Apple has made a whole bunch of big changes that make this more of a mid-range iPad than a smaller flagship.
Here’s what was found under its hood.
The new iPad Air isn’t an upgraded 10.5-inch iPad Pro with a different name. Although it sports an almost identical design, there are some big differences between the two.
The new Air has some advantages — like Apple’s new A12 Bionic chip — as well as some disadvantages. It packs only two speakers as opposed to four. It doesn’t offer ProMotion technology. And its rear-facing camera is an 8-megapixel sensor — a downgrade from the 10-megapixel sensor found in the Pro.
On the inside, then, the new Air is more like the new iPad mini.
Tearing apart the iPad Air
Getting into the new iPad Air is difficult. Just like every other iPad, the device is glued together and its display must be removed if you want to access its internals.
Once you’re inside, you’ll find the iPad’s logic board front and center, flanked by two big batteries that work together to provide the promised 10 hours of use in between charges.
That battery is slightly larger than a 10.5-inch iPad Pro’s battery with a 30.8 Wh capacity, and much larger than the 27.6 Wh cell found inside the second-generation iPad Air. It’s just as difficult to remove, having been glued into the iPad’s chassis.
Toward the bottom of the iPad there are a number of chips, such as a timing controller from Parade Technologies, and the same level shifter from Texas Instruments that was found inside the new iPad mini.
All the chips
Of course, the most exciting chips can be found on the iPad’s logic board, alongside its A12 processor. There’s 3GB of RAM from SK Hynix, NAND flash from Toshiba, and the same Bluetooth and Wi-Fi module found in the iPhone XS.
The logic board is also home to two touch controllers made by Broadcom, and other mysterious chips.
Not an easy repair
Obviously the new iPad Air is no easier to repair than its siblings.
Battery replacement is possible but “unnecessarily difficult,” iFixit says. And just like in the new mini, “gobs of adhesive” hold many of the cables and components in place, “complicating all repairs.”
As a result, the iPad Air was awarded the same repairability score as its little brother: 2 out of 10.