iPad teardown reveals a 'gorgeous,' symmetrical interior

Posted:
in Current Mac Hardware edited January 2014
Soon after its release on Saturday, iFixit began their teardown of Apple's new iPad, and discovered a hidden symmetry inside that the solutions provider said is "there for aesthetics alone." The peek inside also revealed that both the NAND flash and custom Apple A4 processor were manufactured by Samsung.



Calling the machine "gorgeous" when disassembled, iFixit said the device uses more epoxy to secure chips to the board than they've ever seen before.



"This indicates that it is designed to be even more rugged than their laptops," they said. The company noted that taking off the display of the iPad may break off some tabs.



As was revealed in photos release by the FCC on Friday, a majority of the inside of the iPad is taken up by its lithium-ion battery. The battery isn't soldered onto the motherboard, which means replacement is possible if a battery goes bad.



But in a change from the FCC photos, Toshiba does not provide the flash memory for the production units. The model obtained by iFixit has its NAND flash from Samsung.







Also "markedly" different, they said, is the logic board, which reveals that Apple's A4 processor is likely being manufactured by Samsung. The DRAM was created in January while the processor die was created in the first week of February.







The teardown found that the display assembly and rear case each weigh 350 grams, giving the device 50-50 weight distribution. The display includes a marking referencing a patent from Honeywell.



The logic board was made by AT&S, which is noteworthy because the company said they haven't seen Apple's printed circuit board manufacturers brand their boards. Also unique, the main board is secured with T3 Torx screws with a bit smaller than Apple has ever used.







The teardown also found that the Wi-Fi and Bluetooth card, which is the same as is found in the third-generation iPod touch, is integrated into the dock connector cable. The iPad also has a speaker assembly that was found to be larger than expected.



For more details and photos, see the full step-by-step teardown at iFixit.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 65
    finetunesfinetunes Posts: 2,065member
    In yesterdays comments re: A4 chip indicates that Apple can design chips but they do not manufacture them. If they want to make processors for the Mac line they will have to either buy a fab plant or team up with someone like AMD.



    http://www.appleinsider.com/articles...processor.html



    Question: How much RAM--some people wanted to know.
  • Reply 2 of 65
    gotapplegotapple Posts: 115member
    Pretty sad if you need to make news about symmetry in the logic board... Average Joe never sees it. Would be better if iPad ran flash even with a non symmetric mother board...
  • Reply 3 of 65
    rot'napplerot'napple Posts: 1,839member
    Remove all that 'black' processor guts stuff and you're left with the same glass rippled party tray I have in my pantry!



    Wait a minute, let me look in my pantry to make sure it is still there!
  • Reply 4 of 65
    spotonspoton Posts: 645member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post


    The peek inside also revealed that both the NAND flash and custom Apple A4 processor were manufactured by Samsung.



    Question is of course, how long will it be before we see Samsung iPad knockoffs?





    Quote:

    Calling the machine "gorgeous" when disassembled, iFixit said the device uses more epoxy to secure chips to the board than they've ever seen before.



    Likely because Apple does not want to be fixing these at all if it can help it.



    Must be hard to open the case without damage, that's why I want to know how to do straight off!





    Quote:

    "This indicates that it is designed to be even more rugged than their laptops," they said. The company noted that taking off the display of the iPad may break off some tabs.





    Yikes!



    Quote:

    As was revealed in photos release by the FCC on Friday, a majority of the inside of the iPad is taken up by its lithium-ion battery. The battery isn't soldered onto the motherboard, which means replacement is possible if a battery goes bad.



    Good thing to hear.



    Quote:

    Also unique, the main board is secured with T3 Torx screws with a bit smaller than Apple has ever used.



    T3? Yea that is tiny! If I remember right, my MBP uses T6
  • Reply 5 of 65
    webfrassewebfrasse Posts: 147member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by FineTunes View Post


    In yesterdays comments re: A4 chip indicates that Apple can design chips but they do not manufacture them. If they want to make processors for the Mac line they will have to either buy a fab plant or team up with someone like AMD.



    http://www.appleinsider.com/articles...processor.html



    Question: How much RAM--some people wanted to know.



    Sun Microsystems (now Oracle) also does the design and outsources the manufacturing of their chips and other hardware. Not uncommon....
  • Reply 6 of 65
    bageljoeybageljoey Posts: 1,917member
    Does a larger than expected speaker assembly equate in any way to louder speaker volume? On my old PowerBook, I couldn't hear if I was watching a movie while watching dishes. I had to connect the laptop to my television's speakers which was annoying. Same for when I was spinning on my bike...
  • Reply 7 of 65
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by FineTunes View Post


    In yesterdays comments re: A4 chip indicates that Apple can design chips but they do not manufacture them. If they want to make processors for the Mac line they will have to either buy a fab plant or team up with someone like AMD.



    I think it's better we stop mentioning the A4 and Mac together. I don't think there has been any credible rumors much less announcements that this is a direction that Apple wants to go. In the meantime it seems to be causing many people all kinds of anxiety which is unrelated to the topic of the iPad at hand.



    In terms of the RAM, K4X2G643GE if I'm not mistaken in Samsung nomenclature means a 2Gb chip, which translates into 256MB per chip. Assuming only 1 DRAM chip in the A4, then I guess we are still at 256MB of DRAM which is kind of disappointing if multitasking really is coming with iPhone OS 4.



    Edit: For reference the iPhone 3GS also used a 2Gb chip on package to achieve 256MB of RAM according to iSuppli. It only costs $8.50 too.
  • Reply 8 of 65
    ltmpltmp Posts: 204member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Bageljoey View Post


    Does a larger than expected speaker assembly equate in any way to louder speaker volume? On my old PowerBook, I couldn't hear if I was watching a movie while watching dishes. I had to connect the laptop to my television's speakers which was annoying. Same for when I was spinning on my bike...



    Well, let's not forget that watching dishes is a very noisy thing to do. They start screaming as soon as they feel like they're being watched.
  • Reply 9 of 65
    spotonspoton Posts: 645member
    Quote:

    I think it's better we stop mentioning the A4 and Mac together. I don't think there has been any credible rumors much less announcements that this is a direction that Apple wants to go. In the meantime it seems to be causing many people all kinds of anxiety which is unrelated to the topic of the iPad at hand.





    I agree and I'm the one who brought up the subject.





    The connotations that occurred with the mention of "A4" with the iPad announcement, as well as Apple's comments on the matter, and the purchase of PA Semi, and the lack of MacBook updates, led to wild speculation that Apple was going to produce its own processors. First starting in the iPad and then later in their Mac line. This came about because the iPad takes a lot of features from ordinary computers.



    It's clear now, with the revelation that the processors are just special order from Samsung, that Apple intends to continue its practice of using other companies processors and mainly Intel's for their high volume, low prices and widest use, keping Apple's hardware relevant in the market place.



    Although a of ordinary Apple users likely don't give a rats *ss what the processors in their machines are, a lot of the more technical types and enterprise markets do care. Apple still wants to enjoy sales from outside its consumer based market.
  • Reply 10 of 65
    davegeedavegee Posts: 2,765member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by SpotOn View Post


    Question is of course, how long will it be before we see Samsung iPad knockoffs?



    Samsung is only acting as chip fab for Apple... Apple owns the A4 chip design and nobody else can use it without their permission and unlike a shady 'software vendor' in Taiwan, Samsung isn't gonna just start knocking off their own supply on a whim.



    As for Samsung doing a tablet 'knockoff' sure they could... but as with all Apple products, the design (as elegant as it is) is only part of the equation...
  • Reply 11 of 65
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by gotApple View Post


    Pretty sad if you need to make news about symmetry in the logic board... Average Joe never sees it. Would be better if iPad ran flash even with a non symmetric mother board...



    I think the symmetry of the components is to help in balance besides making it look good. Example "The teardown found that the display assembly and rear case each weigh 350 grams, giving the device 50-50 weight distribution. "



    A cheapo PC maker won't care and make the device uncomfortable to hold.

    My Mac Pro is beautiful inside as well, Mac Pros were one of the first PCs to be super neat inside, with latch open panels and sliding carriages for drives. But the aesthetics are also practical making repairs, changes to memory, drives, cleaning easier.
  • Reply 12 of 65
    solipsismsolipsism Posts: 25,726member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by SpotOn View Post


    Likely because Apple does not want to be fixing these at all if it can help it.



    Gotta love the posters that jump to the most absurd answer. Occam's Razor, anyone?
  • Reply 13 of 65
    mdriftmeyermdriftmeyer Posts: 7,501member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by FineTunes View Post


    In yesterdays comments re: A4 chip indicates that Apple can design chips but they do not manufacture them. If they want to make processors for the Mac line they will have to either buy a fab plant or team up with someone like AMD.



    http://www.appleinsider.com/articles...processor.html



    Question: How much RAM--some people wanted to know.



    To be more precise, team up with Global Foundries.
  • Reply 14 of 65
    solipsismsolipsism Posts: 25,726member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Davewrite View Post


    I think the symmetry of the components is to help in balance besides making it look good. Example "The teardown found that the display assembly and rear case each weigh 350 grams, giving the device 50-50 weight distribution. "



    A cheapo PC maker won't care and make the device uncomfortable to hold.

    My Mac Pro is beautiful inside as well, Mac Pros were one of the first PCs to be super neat inside, with latch open panels and sliding carriages for drives. But the aesthetics are also practical making repairs, changes to memory, drives, cleaning easier.



    I thought it was clear that the symmetry was for weighted balance.
  • Reply 15 of 65
    desuserigndesuserign Posts: 1,316member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post


    . . . a hidden symmetry inside that the solutions provider said is "there for aesthetics alone." . . .



    Really, "there for aesthetics alone." Funny. I've never heard or read that from Apple or iFixit (its unclear who you are quoting.) I see many expressions of both symmetry and aesthetics that are readily apparent in the iPad. But as a product designer I see nothing that is "there for aesthetics alone."

    I suspect this is a bit of "creative reporting."
  • Reply 16 of 65
    gqbgqb Posts: 1,934member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by gotApple View Post


    Pretty sad if you need to make news about symmetry in the logic board... Average Joe never sees it. Would be better if iPad ran flash even with a non symmetric mother board...



    When I was a kid, I was painting a cabinet for the living room, and asked my Dad if I really needed to paint the back, since it would be against the wall and no one would ever see it.

    He told me that quality applies to everything, even if you're the only one who knows its there.

    Kinda stuck with me.

    Sort of like the thing about integrity being the thing you do even if no one is watching.
  • Reply 17 of 65
    ktappektappe Posts: 808member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by SpotOn View Post


    T3? Yea that is tiny! If I remember right, my MBP uses T6



    Indeed. I thought I had a "full" set of Torx drivers but they only go down to T5. I didn't even fathom there was a T3 until reading this article.
  • Reply 18 of 65
    desuserigndesuserign Posts: 1,316member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by GQB View Post


    When I was a kid, I was painting a cabinet for the living room, and asked my Dad if I really needed to paint the back, since it would be against the wall and no one would ever see it.



    Not only that, but if you only paint one side of a panel, its much more likely to warp with changes in humidity and temperature because of differential swelling (learned that from experience.) Similarly, attention to detail in product design (yes, even/especially on the inside) engenders quality beyond esthetics or surface appearance.
  • Reply 19 of 65
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by solipsism View Post


    I thought it was clear that the symmetry was for weighted balance.



    Not to the guy whom I was replying to who said "Pretty sad if you need to make news about symmetry in the logic board... Average Joe never sees it. Would be better if iPad ran flash even with a non symmetric mother board..."



    he said it would be 'better' to have non symmetry and flash.

    I'm not discussing the flash stuff but I'm pointing out weighted balance makes it better to hold.
  • Reply 20 of 65
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by GQB View Post


    When I was a kid, I was painting a cabinet for the living room, and asked my Dad if I really needed to paint the back, since it would be against the wall and no one would ever see it.

    He told me that quality applies to everything, even if you're the only one who knows its there.

    Kinda stuck with me.

    Sort of like the thing about integrity being the thing you do even if no one is watching.



    Very nicely put!
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