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No internal design changes found in 4th-gen iPad teardown

post #1 of 24
Thread Starter 
A teardown of the fourth-generation iPad, which some have taken to calling the iPad 4, reveals that besides the addition of Apple's Lightning connector, the tablet's internal design has remained untouched when compared to the previous iteration.

Hours after iFixit tore down the iPad mini, the firm did the same with Apple's new 9.7-inch tablet to find that the iterative component changes didn't warrant a redesign of the chassis or internal layout.

The tablet dissected by iFixit happened to be using an LG-sourced Retina display, not a Samsung panel like those first seen with the initial rollout of the third-generation iPad. At the time, it was reported that LG Display was ramping up production of their own high-resolution displays and began shipment months later. Samsung is still thought to be one of the main suppliers for the 9.7-inch panels, though Apple has recently made moves to diversify its supply chain.

Most of the significant changes were seen in the device's logic board, which now boasts an A6X processor clocked at 1.4GHz with quad core graphics and 1GB of memory. Components on the backside of the board, such as the Broadcom touchscreen controller, were identical to the third-generation iPad.

iPad 4 Logic Board
Source: iFixit


Full list of chips found on the logic board:
  • Apple A6X SoC
  • 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


It appears that Apple chose not to utilize the space afforded by its switch to the Lightning connector, as the extra room is left unfilled. In fact, the Lightning connector is placed in a frame that is the same size as the outgoing 30-pin unit.

The other notable change is the tablet's upgraded front-facing camera, which gets a spec bump from 0.3 megapixels to 1.2 megapixels, granting it the FaceTime HD moniker.

Unveiled alongside the iPad mini at a special event in October, the fourth-generation iPad is available today at only at brick-and-mortar Apple Stores, as preorders for the device sold out on Tuesday.
post #2 of 24

The iPad 4 caught a lot of people by surprise, including me.

 

To be honest, I do not believe that Apple even planned that they would be releasing an iPad 4 six months ago. Maybe we'll find out the details behind that story sometime in the future.

 

I don't think that they would have came out with the third gen and called it the "new iPad", if they'd known that they'd be releasing an even newer one 7 months after the introduction of the third gen. Just throw in a lightning connector, the new A6 chip and it'll be ready before the holidays too! Then Tim Cook and the upper management said, why the **** not! Let's do it!

 

As far as I'm concerned the four iPad models that have been released so far will be called - iPad 1, iPad 2, iPad 3 and iPad 4. At least, that's how I will refer to them.

 

iPad 1, iPad 2, new iPad, fourth gen iPad just sounds totally retarded and confusing.

post #3 of 24
As far as naming goes, why not just do it like one would do with an iMac or MacBook Pro?

Late-2012 iPad, 2013 iPad, etc.
post #4 of 24
iPad, iPad 2, New iPad, and iPad (Fourth Generation).

"Apple should pull the plug on the iPhone."

John C. Dvorak, 2007
Reply

"Apple should pull the plug on the iPhone."

John C. Dvorak, 2007
Reply
post #5 of 24

As I have highlighted elsewhere the BIG change for the iPad 4 is in relation to the LTE chip ..  the previous iPad 3 offering was a solely North American product.  The US has adopted an unusual and highly inefficient band plan for the 700 MHz spectrum band.  Other countries/regions are allocating more frequency to wireless broadband.

 

Thus,  the key reason for the update - was to enable the iPad to offer high speed LTE connectivity outside the US, Canada etc ...

 

There was no compelling reason internationally (other than the retina screen) to buy the iPad 3.  International sales internationally were way less than they could achieve with global LTE connectivity.

 

There is no teardown yet for the iPad 4 with wireless connectivity.

post #6 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by Apple ][ View Post

The iPad 4 caught a lot of people by surprise, including me.

 

To be honest, I do not believe that Apple even planned that they would be releasing an iPad 4 six months ago. Maybe we'll find out the details behind that story sometime in the future.

 

I don't think that they would have came out with the third gen and called it the "new iPad", if they'd known that they'd be releasing an even newer one 7 months after the introduction of the third gen. Just throw in a lightning connector, the new A6 chip and it'll be ready before the holidays too! Then Tim Cook and the upper management said, why the **** not! Let's do it!

 

As far as I'm concerned the four iPad models that have been released so far will be called - iPad 1, iPad 2, iPad 3 and iPad 4. At least, that's how I will refer to them.

 

iPad 1, iPad 2, new iPad, fourth gen iPad just sounds totally retarded and confusing.

 

I agree that Apple jumped quickly. They had the faster A6 in the iPhone 5 and LTE or 4G or whatever it's called ready as well. Add the new connector and it was a sensible move to rush the iPad 4 out the door. I'm sure they new they'd piss off a lot of recent iPad 3 buyers, but I think I read they are offering trade-ins to those that bought just recently.

 

Also, from the teardown, there was this: "It appears that Apple chose not to utilize the space afforded by its switch to the Lightning connector, as the extra room is left unfilled. In fact, the Lightning connector is placed in a frame that is the same size as the outgoing 30-pin unit."

 

I would expect that the iPad 5 fills this empty space. Apple wouldn't have left this empty space unused or  filled it with a frame had they had time to do a full revision. The mini used the extra space from the new, smaller connector to add a speaker.

post #7 of 24

I personally hope Apple starts to do this more. Bump the specs when they can and don't wait to make it some holy grail update. Get the value to the customers quicker and break the hard one year product cycle they have been maintaining.

post #8 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by bugsnw View Post

 

I agree that Apple jumped quickly. They had the faster A6 in the iPhone 5 and LTE or 4G or whatever it's called ready as well. Add the new connector and it was a sensible move to rush the iPad 4 out the door. I'm sure they new they'd piss off a lot of recent iPad 3 buyers, but I think I read they are offering trade-ins to those that bought just recently.

 

Also, from the teardown, there was this: "It appears that Apple chose not to utilize the space afforded by its switch to the Lightning connector, as the extra room is left unfilled. In fact, the Lightning connector is placed in a frame that is the same size as the outgoing 30-pin unit."

 

I would expect that the iPad 5 fills this empty space. Apple wouldn't have left this empty space unused or  filled it with a frame had they had time to do a full revision. The mini used the extra space from the new, smaller connector to add a s

"I would expect that the iPad 5 fills this empty space. Apple wouldn't have left this empty space unused or  filled it with a frame had they had time to do a full revision. The mini used the extra space from the new, smaller connector to add a s"

 

Good point.  So stereo speakers in iPad 5?

post #9 of 24

Does anyone know if the new LG display is any more power efficient?

post #10 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by nicksmith View Post

Does anyone know if the new LG display is any more power efficient?

from my understanding it's still the same display as the iPad 3, so no.

post #11 of 24

Ah OK. It'd still be interesting to see how this new version charges compared to the 3rd gen model. I remember reading a rumour months ago that a tweaked version of the display was in the works that would require slightly less power, also that it might be released about now. Would help with charging while the device is in use. I'm currently trying to dig out the report…

post #12 of 24
[/quote]I don't think that they would have came out with the third gen and called it the "new iPad", if they'd known that they'd be releasing an even newer one 7 months after the introduction of the third gen. Just throw in a lightning connector, the new A6 chip and it'll be ready before the holidays too! Then Tim Cook and the upper management said, why the **** not! Let's do it! [/quote] I think the contrary. Why call it the iPad 3 when you know that people wouldn't understand the difference between that 3 and the 4? I said it months ago (and people mocked me, as usual) that they introduced the name New iPad so that the general public wouldn't really know which version of iPad it is, just like with MacBooks and iMacs. The fact that they just introduced another updated iPad points to that direction.
post #13 of 24
They clearly did it to counter both the surface and the nexus 10. Last year at january 2012 earnings, Apple did 13.5 EPS, which was a 110 % year over year growth from january 2011 EPS.

This year, the guidance is 11.7 EPS. If they meet guidance, that would mean 15% decline from 2012. That is one hell of a reversal in profits. They lost all on of there momentun in one year, they had to react and they did. Competition is catching up and Apple is losing market shares. The january 2013 is a make it or break it quarter, it could signal that Apple as peak, reverse course and is now declining.
post #14 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by Suddenly Newton View Post

iPad, iPad 2, New iPad, and iPad (Fourth Generation).
Thank you to remind us how this has become rather confusing. I mean if some people are savvy enough to buy the wrong tablet although there is a prominent samsung logo on it, how many much have bought an iPad 2 thinking it is newer or better than an "iPad with retina display"? This is a rhetorical question.
post #15 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by telecomsroadwarrier View Post

As I have highlighted elsewhere the BIG change for the iPad 4 is in relation to the LTE chip ..  the previous iPad 3 offering was a solely North American product.  The US has adopted an unusual and highly inefficient band plan for the 700 MHz spectrum band.  Other countries/regions are allocating more frequency to wireless broadband.

Thus,  the key reason for the update - was to enable the iPad to offer high speed LTE connectivity outside the US, Canada etc ...

There was no compelling reason internationally (other than the retina screen) to buy the iPad 3.  International sales internationally were way less than they could achieve with global LTE connectivity.

There is no teardown yet for the iPad 4 with wireless connectivity.

I have the LTE capable iPad "3" and have yet to actually use the feature, it wasn't even available when I wanted to use it. A lot of companies offer WiFi only tablets, some models aren't even offered with a cellular connectivity variant at all, so to suggest there is no reason to buy iPads because the LTE feature isn't compatible everywhere is silly. The retina screen is far more compelling to me, and it did offer more 3G modes in higher speeds as well.

But if they did update the data chip, then that's clearly a great improvement for those that want the feature.
post #16 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by herbapou View Post

They clearly did it to counter both the surface and the nexus 10. Last year at january 2012 earnings, Apple did 13.5 EPS, which was a 110 % year over year growth from january 2011 EPS.
This year, the guidance is 11.7 EPS. If they meet guidance, that would mean 15% decline from 2012. That is one hell of a reversal in profits. They lost all on of there momentun in one year, they had to react and they did. Competition is catching up and Apple is losing market shares. The january 2013 is a make it or break it quarter, it could signal that Apple as peak, reverse course and is now declining.

http://ycharts.com/companies/AAPL/eps

That would still be the third best EPS. Also, Apple guides conservatively, so it could still beat last year's figure.

Maybe you should take your "Apple is doomed" rhetoric elsewhere.
post #17 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by JeffDM View Post

http://ycharts.com/companies/AAPL/eps
That would still be the third best EPS. Also, Apple guides conservatively, so it could still be just fine.
Maybe you should take your "Apple is doomed" rhetoric elsewhere, because we're not falling for that idiocy here.

I am not saying Apple is doom, I am saying Apple may have peak its growth. That doesnt affect at all its survability in the near term, but its a major trend change.

One could assume they lowball guidance, but they only beat by 7% and 10% last 2 quarters. Personnally I think that with the full product refresh they will blowout guidance, if not there are major problems with either the supply lines or margins.
post #18 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by herbapou View Post


I am not saying Apple is doom, I am saying Apple may have peak its growth.

 

We keep hearing this "Apple may have peaked" line every year. And every year Apple's main products, in ALL their categories, rule customer satisfaction, often by wide margins. 

 

All we see is continued growth. Growth is driven by consumer demand + profit. Apple rules both. 

post #19 of 24

Put it another way, the 4th gen iPad is the real iPad Apple wanted to released this year but they had to rush the 3rd gen aka the new iPad out earlier in the year because they were facing competition and to delay the launch by 6 months would have been a disaster. So they released the 3rd gen iPad with a temporary LTE solution that only worked in the US and a few other countries.

 

As mentioned previously in this thread, the new release is not about the new lightning connector or the faster CPU, rather it has everything to do with world LTE. Depending on where you are, it may not make a difference depending on coverage but for those that have LTE coverage it is night and day.

 

For once, the iPhone and iPad have similar technology inside, rather than the iPhone and iPad playing leap frog every year. It may piss off alot of people in the short run but it is something that needed to be done.
 

post #20 of 24

BTW there was about 50th people in line at the downtown Montreal Apple store.  I could see the mini from a distance but could not enter so I will have to wait for my lunch break to go look at it.

post #21 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by Phone-UI-Guy View Post

I personally hope Apple starts to do this more. Bump the specs when they can and don't wait to make it some holy grail update. Get the value to the customers quicker and break the hard one year product cycle they have been maintaining.

Yes, treat the line more like their laptops and get the improvements out the door when the bundle makes sense rather than on some calendar. Isn't that why the stopped attending some events to get away from the calendar?

post #22 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by jfc1138 View Post

Yes, treat the line more like their laptops and get the improvements out the door when the bundle makes sense rather than on some calendar. Isn't that why the stopped attending some events to get away from the calendar?

Apple updated iPods (and now iPhones and presumably iPads) roughly every September/October. That's considerably more flexible window than say, the first Monday of January. I think WWDC even floats a week or two if it meets their needs. Apple generally seems to put out updates to have ample supplies of popular products ready in time for US Black Friday, having the initial burst of demand out of the way by then probably helps them.
post #23 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by Quadra 610 View Post

 

We keep hearing this "Apple may have peaked" line every year. And every year Apple's main products, in ALL their categories, rule customer satisfaction, often by wide margins. 

 

All we see is continued growth. Growth is driven by consumer demand + profit. Apple rules both. 

Ironically enough, Kass of "Apple has peaked at $90" just opined Apple has bottomed and is about to start back up.

 

Though having that asshat write that is maybe cause for a pause...

post #24 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by Shameer Mulji View Post

Good point.  So stereo speakers in iPad 5?
I think that's a given ... I'm just disappointed that they didn't do it here, especially since they released the mini with them. It's kind of a glaring omission in that respect. Then again, I'm kinda surprised they didn't up the storage to compete with the Android and Windows tablets. But, this is when it's kinda obvious that Apple has a planned upgrade strategy ... You want stereo speakers on your iPad? Upgrade to the new NEW iPad!!
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