or Connect
AppleInsider › Forums › Mac Hardware › Current Mac Hardware › Teardown of iPad 3G shows Apple using LCD frame as an antenna
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Teardown of iPad 3G shows Apple using LCD frame as an antenna

post #1 of 36
Thread Starter 
Apple's iPad 3G, which went on sale in the U.S. on Friday, reveals a new approach to achieving optimal wireless reception and some interesting differences internally when compared to its Wi-Fi-only sibling, according to a new tear-down analysis.

Most of the differences are due the iPad 3G's additional 3G / GPS functionality, said iFixIt, which also noted the following highlights from its internal examination:

The immediate visible difference is the inclusion of a black plastic RF window on top of the iPad for better antenna reception.
The black RF window significantly changes the opening procedure. You cannot start separating the display using the notches on the top (Ã* la Wi-Fi version), since that will undoubtedly break the RF window. You have to start from the right side and gingerly proceed to the top and bottom of the iPad.
There are actually FIVE antennas in this iPad:
Two antennas handle the cell reception -- one is in the RF window on top, the other attaches to the LCD frame.
A single GPS antenna is also housed in the RF window on top.
Just like the iPad Wi-Fi, there are two antennas that handle Wi-Fi / Bluetooth connectivity, one in the Apple logo and another to the left of the dock connector.
Apple looks to be using the entire LCD frame as an antenna. This approach draws parallels to Apple's decision to also mount a wireless antenna to the frame of the optical drive on its new MacBook Pros.
Apple uses the same 3G baseband processor in both the iPhone 3GS and the iPad 3G.
The baseband processor in question is the Infineon 337S3754 PMB 8878 X-Gold IC. It was actually white-labeled on the production unit, but with enough sleuthing iFixIt was able to confirm its true identity.
The iPad 3G has a Broadcom BCM4750UBG Single-Chip AGPS Solution, whereas the iPhone 3GS uses an Infineon Hammerhead II package -- a big win for Broadcom.
Apple did not change any major suppliers between manufacturing the pre-production unit they provided the FCC and their final production run.

New to the 3G iPad, there's an antenna attached to the backside of the display assembly.

Apple soldered the EMI shield onto the communications board, making it challenging to show the chips.

The iPad's SIM card measures 12mm x 15mm. That's just under half the size of the standard size SIM card from an iPhone 3GS.

The iPad 3G completely torn down.
post #2 of 36
cool..
post #3 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

You have to start from the right side and gingerly proceed to the top and bottom of the iPad.

When these people say "gingerly", I'll assume they mean something on par with neurosurgery.
post #4 of 36
I wonder if the 3G's WiFi signal is better and by how much.

PS: I forgot about the antenna attached to the ODD frame in the new MBPs this might make today's project a little tricker.
Dick Applebaum on whether the iPad is a personal computer: "BTW, I am posting this from my iPad pc while sitting on the throne... personal enough for you?"
Reply
Dick Applebaum on whether the iPad is a personal computer: "BTW, I am posting this from my iPad pc while sitting on the throne... personal enough for you?"
Reply
post #5 of 36
The only thing I keep thinking when I look at these teardown pictures is why the heck they didn't make a more useable, smaller version of the iPad at the same time? Take out one of those batteries and shrink the case (it's half empty anyway), and you'd have a paperback sized device you could actually type on comfortably while standing up which has always been one of the central and yet elusive goals of tablet computing.

Ask any real writer what they think of the iPad and they'll tell you it's really only okay for the occasional typing task. Something a bit smaller that you can actually thumb-type on would enable proper portable computing, and allow you to actually be productive instead of just watching crappy movies or play games on the couch.
post #6 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by Prof. Peabody View Post

The only thing I keep thinking when I look at these teardown pictures is why the heck they didn't make a more useable, smaller version of the iPad at the same time?

They have. It's called the iPod Touch. It's unlikely they'd scale down the iPad, as it'd then just be an iPod.
post #7 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by Elijahg View Post

They have. It's called the iPod Touch. It's unlikely they'd scale down the iPad, as it'd then just be an iPod.

Yes and no. There's a pretty big gap between the 10" and 3.5" sizes.

Apple doesn't seem to like making a lot of variations, unless it's iPod nanos, then they'll go nuts and maintain 18 permutations.
post #8 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by JeffDM View Post

Yes and no. There's a pretty big gap between the 10" and 3.5" sizes.

Apple doesn't seem to like making a lot of variations, unless it's iPod nanos, then they'll go nuts and maintain 18 permutations.

Crying? No, I am not crying. I am sweating through my eyes.
Reply
Crying? No, I am not crying. I am sweating through my eyes.
Reply
post #9 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

I wonder if the 3G's WiFi signal is better and by how much.

PS: I forgot about the antenna attached to the ODD frame in the new MBPs this might make today's project a little tricker.

I have both iPads. I have to say the signal seems about the same with both on wifi. However, the 3G reception compared to my iPhone is so much better I noticed it instantly. Areas where my phone looses service my iPad has signal.
Hard-Core.
Reply
Hard-Core.
Reply
post #10 of 36
That is incredible. How do they figure that stuff out.

Davies
Online Anonymity
post #11 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by Prof. Peabody View Post

Ask any real writer what they think of the iPad and they'll tell you it's really only okay for the occasional typing task.

Be wary of such generalizations as *any real writer*. I just finished listening to the MacBreak Weekly podcast where one real writer said that he now uses only the screen keyboard for all production typing on his iPad, and leaves his Apple Bluetooth keyboard at home. He said he adapted quite nicely, thank you. I guess he must write sitting down.
A.k.a. AppleHead on other forums.
Reply
A.k.a. AppleHead on other forums.
Reply
post #12 of 36
Wow, using the LCD frame as an antenna! How come no one else thought of that? Genius, I tell you...
post #13 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by Robin Huber View Post

Be wary of such generalizations as *any real writer*. I just finished listening to the MacBreak Weekly podcast where one real writer said that he now uses only the screen keyboard for all production typing on his iPad, and leaves his Apple Bluetooth keyboard at home. He said he adapted quite nicely, thank you. I guess he must write sitting down.

I have listened to that show and that Jason guy said no one would write more than a paragraph or two on the iPad. I've written 17 documents on the iPad, each between 1 ~ 24 pages in length. I seriously considering borrowing a video camera and recording myself typing on this. I type pretty fast on this. I often wonder if I don't type faster on the screen than I do on a real keyboard. I know I am at least near as fast if not as fast. I used to read others state such things on cell phones, and I never believed it. However, on this iPad, I find myself writing that same statement. You can easily master the screen keyboard. I had it down cold in two days.

MacBook Pro | iPad (3rd gen)
Samsung Galaxy Note

Reply

MacBook Pro | iPad (3rd gen)
Samsung Galaxy Note

Reply
post #14 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by Prof. Peabody View Post

The only thing I keep thinking when I look at these teardown pictures is why the heck they didn't make a more useable, smaller version of the iPad at the same time? Take out one of those batteries and shrink the case (it's half empty anyway), and you'd have a paperback sized device you could actually type on comfortably while standing up which has always been one of the central and yet elusive goals of tablet computing.

Ask any real writer what they think of the iPad and they'll tell you it's really only okay for the occasional typing task. Something a bit smaller that you can actually thumb-type on would enable proper portable computing, and allow you to actually be productive instead of just watching crappy movies or play games on the couch.


I don't know what you mean by a 'real writer,' but I can speed type (all fingers) on the iPad only in landscape. There's no way that I could do that on a smaller form factor.
post #15 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lochias View Post

I don't know what you mean by a 'real writer,' but I can speed type (all fingers) on the iPad only in landscape. There's no way that I could do that on a smaller form factor.

Well I haven't got mine yet as they still aren't selling them outside of the USA, but al l reports I've read from real writers is that the keyboard is not good for touch typing.

What I was really talking about though is mobile computing or writing "on the go." I take the train everyday, and that's when I do a lot of writing (currently standing up using the iPhone). I get good speed on the phone, but it is cramped.

One of the "elusive goals" as I phrased it, of tablet computing has always been being able to use the device while standing/walking since otherwise you have to lay the thing down on a table or your lap. If I could find a seat on the train I could hunch over the thing on my lap I guess but my neck kind of aches enough already.

My main point was that if it was just a bit smaller, or if the side bezels weren't so damned big, you could thumb-type on it like the phone, while standing or walking. That would make it a hundred times more useful for me and turn it into a truly mobile computing device. If I have to find a "place" (like a table or something), to put it down and type, then to me it's not really mobile computing and I don't see the big advantage over a simple laptop. I like to be more mobile than that I guess.
post #16 of 36
Why no reports on last nights retail 3G iPad release? I'm curious as to how stock seems to be holding up.
post #17 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by Prof. Peabody View Post

The only thing I keep thinking when I look at these teardown pictures is why the heck they didn't make a more useable, smaller version of the iPad at the same time? Take out one of those batteries and shrink the case (it's half empty anyway), and you'd have a paperback sized device you could actually type on comfortably while standing up which has always been one of the central and yet elusive goals of tablet computing.

Ask any real writer what they think of the iPad and they'll tell you it's really only okay for the occasional typing task. Something a bit smaller that you can actually thumb-type on would enable proper portable computing, and allow you to actually be productive instead of just watching crappy movies or play games on the couch.

I don't think typing novels was one of the iPad tasks from the beginning.
Apple had me at scrolling
Reply
Apple had me at scrolling
Reply
post #18 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by Prof. Peabody View Post

The only thing I keep thinking when I look at these teardown pictures is why the heck they didn't make a more useable, smaller version of the iPad at the same time? Take out one of those batteries and shrink the case (it's half empty anyway), and you'd have a paperback sized device you could actually type on comfortably while standing up which has always been one of the central and yet elusive goals of tablet computing.

Ask any real writer what they think of the iPad and they'll tell you it's really only okay for the occasional typing task. Something a bit smaller that you can actually thumb-type on would enable proper portable computing, and allow you to actually be productive instead of just watching crappy movies or play games on the couch.

Any real writer would not use an iPad, but a laptop to undertake their work. Your native generalization of writers is probably from no known knowledge, but providing your preference of writing.
post #19 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by StLBluesFan View Post

Why no reports on last nights retail 3G iPad release? I'm curious as to how stock seems to be holding up.

I went to the Apple store in Jacksonville after work yesterday and they were sold out around 6:15. They had been selling them all day so I am not sure why it was said they would go on sale at 5:00. Being a shareholder I asked the clerk and he said there was a line all day and they sold them non-stop.

It just amazes me how crowded the store always stays. I saw 2 27" iMacs, 1 21" iMac, 4 MBPs and countless iPads sold in the 45 min or so I was there.
post #20 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tobiwan View Post

I went to the Apple store in Jacksonville after work yesterday and they were sold out around 6:15. They had been selling them all day so I am not sure why it was said they would go on sale at 5:00. Being a shareholder I asked the clerk and he said there was a line all day and they sold them non-stop.

It just amazes me how crowded the store always stays. I saw 2 27" iMacs, 1 21" iMac, 4 MBPs and countless iPads sold in the 45 min or so I was there.

The Fedex guy who delived my iPad 3G at 2.30 PM, said he was delivering a truckload of them. Not much news was made about the product. I suspect most people got theirs via Fedex. It is backordered anyway.
post #21 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by Robin Huber View Post

Be wary of such generalizations as *any real writer*. I just finished listening to the MacBreak Weekly podcast where one real writer said that he now uses only the screen keyboard for all production typing on his iPad, and leaves his Apple Bluetooth keyboard at home. He said he adapted quite nicely, thank you. I guess he must write sitting down.

Quote:
Originally Posted by sfoalex View Post

I have listened to that show and that Jason guy said no one would write more than a paragraph or two on the iPad. I've written 17 documents on the iPad, each between 1 ~ 24 pages in length. I seriously considering borrowing a video camera and recording myself typing on this. I type pretty fast on this. I often wonder if I don't type faster on the screen than I do on a real keyboard. I know I am at least near as fast if not as fast. I used to read others state such things on cell phones, and I never believed it. However, on this iPad, I find myself writing that same statement. You can easily master the screen keyboard. I had it down cold in two days.

Well! Harumph! You're obviously not a "real writer".... Everyone knows that a "real writer" needs to use a "proper OS" to be productive!

... I guess, like the bee, no one 'splained to you that it is impossible for you to fly!

So, stop it, immediately!

.
"Swift generally gets you to the right way much quicker." - auxio -

"The perfect [birth]day -- A little playtime, a good poop, and a long nap." - Tomato Greeting Cards -
Reply
"Swift generally gets you to the right way much quicker." - auxio -

"The perfect [birth]day -- A little playtime, a good poop, and a long nap." - Tomato Greeting Cards -
Reply
post #22 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by vingmoo View Post

That is incredible. How do they figure that stuff out.

Davies
Online Anonymity

If something can be put together, it can be taken apart.
post #23 of 36
I'm a writer.
I'm real.
So........... damn, guess I can't use this here new iPad I gots me.
post #24 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by sippincider View Post

When these people say "gingerly", I'll assume they mean something on par with neurosurgery.

I thought of South Park red heads
post #25 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by DCJ001 View Post

If something can be put together, it can be taken apart.

Really? Thanks for the Humpty Dumpty refresher.
post #26 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by Prof. Peabody View Post

The only thing I keep thinking when I look at these teardown pictures is why the heck they didn't make a more useable, smaller version of the iPad at the same time? Take out one of those batteries and shrink the case (it's half empty anyway), and you'd have a paperback sized device you could actually type on comfortably while standing up which has always been one of the central and yet elusive goals of tablet computing.

Ask any real writer what they think of the iPad and they'll tell you it's really only okay for the occasional typing task. Something a bit smaller that you can actually thumb-type on would enable proper portable computing, and allow you to actually be productive instead of just watching crappy movies or play games on the couch.

While it is probably not 'writers' that mostly need to type while standing or on the go, I agree that a slimmer and lighter iPad would have been a killer. Even for emailing purposes, messages and responses would be more in depth if one could easily type on the large screen of the iPad when standing.
The great things for the great, the abysses for the profound, the thrills for the refined, and, to sum up shortly, everything rare for the rare.
Reply
The great things for the great, the abysses for the profound, the thrills for the refined, and, to sum up shortly, everything rare for the rare.
Reply
post #27 of 36
GPS antenna? Has it got real GPS not wifi.

My first take is that positioning on my 3G is very good.
post #28 of 36
GPS is space based therefore satellite no?
Quote:
The Global Positioning System (GPS) is a satellite-based navigation system made up of a network of 24 satellites placed into orbit by the U.S. Department of Defense. GPS was originally intended for military applications, but in the 1980s, the government made the system available for civilian use. GPS works in any weather conditions, anywhere in the world, 24 hours a day. There are no subscription fees or setup charges to use GPS.

WiFi location = IP based location services. However there is satellite internet so Hmmmmm

But normally GPS means satellite and WiFi is terra IP.
post #29 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by Robin Huber View Post

Be wary of such generalizations as *any real writer*. I just finished listening to the MacBreak Weekly podcast where one real writer said that he now uses only the screen keyboard for all production typing on his iPad, and leaves his Apple Bluetooth keyboard at home. He said he adapted quite nicely, thank you. I guess he must write sitting down.

There must be pseudo-writers and semi-writers and quasi-writers, etc.

What picks my attention also are related terms used when some try to "impress others" of the universality of their POV:

Everyone in the world... and variants everybody, all,
and the opposites:
nobody, no one, nothing ...

And among a number of politicians...
The American people (or some other nationality) ...

I want to voice:

What about me?

when I feel left out in the overreaching generalization.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Dick Applebaum View Post

Well! Harumph! You're obviously not a "real writer".... Everyone knows that a "real writer" needs to use a "proper OS" to be productive!

... I guess, like the bee, no one 'splained to you that it is impossible for you to fly!

So, stop it, immediately!

.

You forgot to add real "professional computers"...



Then you have the infamous verdict, before it was even in some people's hands:

"The iPad is ONLY for consuming NOT for creating content."

CGC
post #30 of 36
I just tried a new location and again it seems amazingly accurate. I can track myself moving around the apartment.

But my real question is, the breakdown review says it has a GPS antenna, separate from the 3G antenna. Is the reviewer confused?

Only the 3G antenna would be necessary for the pseudo GPS. Right?
post #31 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by aplnub View Post

I have both iPads. I have to say the signal seems about the same with both on wifi. However, the 3G reception compared to my iPhone is so much better I noticed it instantly. Areas where my phone looses service my iPad has signal.

Would you be so kind to provide a side-by-side photo of the two iPads (front and back)...

Thanks.

I did not have a chance yet to go to the Apple Store.

CGC
post #32 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by Elijahg View Post

They have. It's called the iPod Touch. It's unlikely they'd scale down the iPad, as it'd then just be an iPod.

Quote:
Originally Posted by JeffDM View Post

Yes and no. There's a pretty big gap between the 10" and 3.5" sizes.

Apple doesn't seem to like making a lot of variations, unless it's iPod nanos, then they'll go nuts and maintain 18 permutations.

More than likely, the iPad is a form that may lend itself to size optimization to adopt to the needs of various fields and functions. However, if I remember correctly, Apple has started with a single size model with a number of its products:
  • Mac Classic (?)
  • iMac (size and color)
  • Mac Cube
  • Clamshell Notebook
  • iPod
  • iPhone
  • iPad

If Apple were to create variations, usually it would be in the succeeding generations.

From a marketing point of view, it is far more effective to focus the attention, educate and persuade the target consumer if there is only one variant. This may be even more critical for the iPad because it was a hard sell from the get go -- it was perceived as a product looking for a niche between an iPhone and the "real" computer.

There are also a number of technical reasons for this decision:
  1. The first generation is seldom ever perfect. [That is why I usually buy the second generation.]
  2. Creating size variants is not a simple case of scaling if one considers the "internal design" with respect to interrelation and interconnectivity of the components, as well as the production line, especially if you have to estimate the popularity (or lack thereof) of each size variant.

Just in time (?) inventory policy

A much simpler example this is the popularity of the rainbow colored iPods, all other specifications were the same (except perhaps the capacity???). This color variation was not introduced in the first generation of the iPod. If I remember correctly, some iPod colors did not sell well. It is very costly to have excess inventory.

CGC
post #33 of 36
Does anyone know if this means we can tap into the frame with an external antenna and increase signal strength?

I guess this would require unscrewing something which would immediately void warranty though, right?
post #34 of 36
Seems odd to use two different antennas for cell. Are we sure that the one attached to the LCD frame is a discrete antenna and not a ground plane? I know my iPhone gets better reception with the USB cable plugged into the computer by virtue of the ground plane effect.

Life is too short to drink bad coffee.

Reply

Life is too short to drink bad coffee.

Reply
post #35 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by JeffDM View Post

Yes and no. There's a pretty big gap between the 10" and 3.5" sizes.

Apple doesn't seem to like making a lot of variations, unless it's iPod nanos, then they'll go nuts and maintain 18 permutations.

Nano's won't cannibalize sales from the iPod Touch and the iPad like a mid-tier iPad would do.
post #36 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by Prof. Peabody View Post

Ask any real writer what they think of the iPad and they'll tell you it's really only okay for the occasional typing task. Something a bit smaller that you can actually thumb-type on would enable proper portable computing, and allow you to actually be productive instead of just watching crappy movies or play games on the couch.

All this talk of real writers reminds me of a trivia night I went to at a biology lab. I was at a table with one biologist and the rest computer scientists (we do bioinformatics). The biologist asserted he was the only "real" scientist in our group. "Right," I said, "the rest of us are integer scientists."

If you don't get it, carry on talking iPods ...

Philip Machanick creator of Opinionations and Green Grahamstown
Department of Computer Science, Rhodes University, South Africa

Reply

Philip Machanick creator of Opinionations and Green Grahamstown
Department of Computer Science, Rhodes University, South Africa

Reply
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Current Mac Hardware
AppleInsider › Forums › Mac Hardware › Current Mac Hardware › Teardown of iPad 3G shows Apple using LCD frame as an antenna