iPad Air teardown reveals smaller battery, separate LCD & cover glass

Posted:
in iPad edited January 2014
A new dissection of Apple's latest tablet shows an iPad mini-like construction and several parts shared with the iPhone 5s.

iPad Air teardown


Repair experts iFixit found a new two-cell design design for the iPad Air's 32.9 watt-hour battery, a change from the fourth-generation iPad's three-cell, 43 watt-hour configuration. The iPad Air maintains its impressive battery life despite the lower charge capacity thanks to efficiency improvements in iOS and the new A7 processor, according to Apple.

Also going on a diet, the device's 9.7-inch LG-manufactured Retina display has reportedly lost 20 percent of its thickness. Unlike the newest iPhones, the iPad Air's display is not laminated to the cover glass.

iPad Air teardown


As they dove deeper, iFixit noted the similarities in construction between the iPad mini and iPad Air, saying that it "seems like Apple took an iPad Mini and transmogrified it to a regular iPad's size."

In addition to the similar construction, the iPad Air also gains a mini-like stereo speaker arrangement. The speakers contain no manufacturers identification, making it likely that they are a custom part.

iPad Air teardown


The iPad Air gains the nano SIM introduced with the iPhone 5, and swaps out the formerly Murata-made Wi-Fi module for a USI part, likely thanks to the tablet's new use of MIMO technology.

Lastly, the iPad Air carries a slightly different model of Apple's A7 processor than the one found in the iPhone 5s. Benchmarks have shown that the iPad's variant of the chip has a minimally increased clock speed --?about 100 megahertz --?from the version found in Apple's handset.

iPad Air teardown


A full list of silicon found soldered to the iPad Air's logic board:
  • Apple A7
  • Elpida F8164A1MD LPDDR3 SDRAM
  • Toshiba THGBX2G7B2JLA01 16 GB NAND Flash
  • Apple M7
  • Apple Dialog Power Management IC
  • USI 339S0213 Wi-Fi Module
  • Apple 338S1116 Cirrus Audio Codec
  • Broadcom BCM5976C1KUB6G Touch Screen Controller
  • Qualcomm M9616M Baseband Processor
  • TriQuint TQF6514 RF Power Amplifier Module
  • Three Skyworks SKY77-series LTE RF Power Amplifier/Duplexer Modules
  • Two Avago A79-series LTE RF Power Amplifier/Duplexer Modules
  • Murata Antenna Switch/Filter Module
  • WTR1605L Transceiver Module
  • Qualcomm PM8018 PMIC
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 35
    What no Samsung parts? HAPPY DAY!!!
  • Reply 2 of 35
    irelandireland Posts: 17,526member

    You mean the same smaller battery Ive already told us about in the iPad Air marketing video?

  • Reply 3 of 35
    irelandireland Posts: 17,526member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AndreiD View Post



    What no Samsung parts? HAPPY DAY!!!

     

    Samsung manufactures the A7.

  • Reply 4 of 35
    Happy that "transmogrified" is still in use.
  • Reply 5 of 35
    andysolandysol Posts: 2,506member

    Why would they not laminate the glass?  I'm not familiar enough about the process- what's the advantage (why would they do it on the iPhone)?

  • Reply 6 of 35
    ipilyaipilya Posts: 185member

    Amazing how little the components are and especially when you consider that the GeekBench scores of the iPad Air clobber the MacBook Air up and until 2010 and equal the Macbook air of 2011. 

  • Reply 7 of 35
    wizard69wizard69 Posts: 12,667member
    andysol wrote: »
    Why would they not laminate the glass?
    It could be for any number of reasons. Repair costs might be a significant factor.
     I'm not familiar enough about the process- what's the advantage (why would they do it on the iPhone)?
    The advantages of lamination is likely reliability and thinness.
  • Reply 8 of 35
    Glued in battery?
    No memory expansion?
    No room for a hard drive?
    Low repairability score?
    No IGZO?

    I'm disappointed with the new iPad... /s
  • Reply 9 of 35
    wizard69wizard69 Posts: 12,667member
    ipilya wrote: »
    Amazing how little the components are and especially when you consider that the GeekBench scores of the iPad Air clobber the MacBook Air up and until 2010 and equal the Macbook air of 2011. 
    Amazing isn't it. Most of the machine is in the battery. Just imagine what 14 nm will do for the iPad in 2015.

    Speaking of the Mac Book Air, this performance is why I think a Mac OS running, A7 based laptop is very possible. Think about it the clock rate on the chip is only 1.4GHz, bump it to 2 -2.5GHz and you have an extremely competitive laptop. This especially the case when put up against low end hardware.
  • Reply 10 of 35
    flaneurflaneur Posts: 4,495member
    notscott wrote: »
    Happy that "transmogrified" is still in use.

    Yep, those iFixit guys are so old school. They actually use their hands to do real things like take apart, repair, and put back together. Have to go look up "mogrification" . . .

    Edit: Turns out it's a "jocose blend" of transmigrate and transmute. I imagine a jocose blend is like "humongous," for example. This is from Eric Partidge's Origins.
  • Reply 11 of 35
    wizard69wizard69 Posts: 12,667member
    Glued in battery?
    No memory expansion?
    I understand your sarcasm here but I was actually bummed out that Apple didn't give us a step increase in flash storage. It has been awhile as such Apple needs to realign the capacities of these machines to reflect cost realities.
    No room for a hard drive?
    Low repairability score?
    No IGZO?

    I'm disappointed with the new iPad... /s

    I'm impressed actually.
  • Reply 12 of 35
    wizard69wizard69 Posts: 12,667member
    flaneur wrote: »
    Yep, those iFixit guys are so old school. They actually use their hands to do real things like take apart, repair, and put back together. Have to go look up "mogrification" . . .

    This reminds me about one of my loved iOS features. That is the ability to highlight a word and hit define! I mis that feature at work in a MS world.
  • Reply 13 of 35
    Any idea how much RAM the Elpida F8164A1MD LPDDR3 SDRAM is?

    The iFixIt guys said 1GB, but I'm hoping they bumped it to 2GB. 8-)
  • Reply 14 of 35

    LG display panel, huh?

    I'd better get AppleCare, just in case!

     

    (PS, Huddler is acting up again)

  • Reply 15 of 35
    ipilya wrote: »
    Amazing how little the components are and especially when you consider that the GeekBench scores of the iPad Air clobber the MacBook Air up and until 2010 and equal the Macbook air of 2011. 

    It was not reported in the keynote but Apple is using shorter bits in the new iPads. This is doubly important since the new A7 processor uses 64 bits to a byte, twice as many are required to fit in a space reduced by a third in volume. Using Plank's constant you can easily see where Apple was able to lower the weight of the data while doubling the word length. An amazing feat no one has alluded to before!

    Some have postulated that Apple didn't really shorten the bits but has somehow managed to fold them nearly completely back over on themselves, but this wouldn't account for the reduction we see in the finished device weight. Moving so much data depth around like it does, Apple is also having to deal with the momentum of the electrons put into motion. I am reaching here, so I may be in error, but I think Apple has found a way to use the angular motion existing in Newtonian space to actually "lift" the device somewhat and making it appear to weigh less than it should. Watch for a patent on this if I'm right.

    I hope this has helped explain away some apparent paradoxes your observation brought to the discussion.
  • Reply 16 of 35
    drblankdrblank Posts: 3,383member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by AndreiD View Post



    What no Samsung parts? HAPPY DAY!!!

    The A7/M7 are still mfg by Samsung and I think Samsung is one of their panel suppliers, but that's the extent of it, from the looks of it.  It's the era of relying on Samsung less and less.   That's one way to hurt Samsung's sales/profits.

  • Reply 17 of 35
    ipilyaipilya Posts: 185member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Macky the Macky View Post





    It was not reported in the keynote but Apple is using shorter bits in the new iPads. This is doubly important since the new A7 processor uses 64 bits to a byte, twice as many are required to fit in a space reduced by a third in volume. Using Plank's constant you can easily see where Apple was able to lower the weight of the data while doubling the word length. An amazing feat no one has alluded to before!



    Some have postulated that Apple didn't really shorten the bits but has somehow managed to fold them nearly completely back over on themselves, but this wouldn't account for the reduction we see in the finished device weight. Moving so much data depth around like it does, Apple is also having to deal with the momentum of the electrons put into motion. I am reaching here, so I may be in error, but I think Apple has found a way to use the angular motion existing in Newtonian space to actually "lift" the device somewhat and making it appear to weigh less than it should. Watch for a patent on this if I'm right.



    I hope this has helped explain away some apparent paradoxes your observation brought to the discussion.

     

    I am nearly delirious with the flu.... so you response.... well needless to say it took me over the edge... took me a while to understand it instead of thinking I had lost it.  LOL...  thank you... tears to the eyes.

  • Reply 18 of 35
    good catch ipilya, I was at the Apple store the other day and even though the ipad air wasn't on display yet, I can't help thinking how they could do same thing with Macbook Air 11", as it has a huge rim around the screen.. then we could have macbook 13" in 11" format! that would be truly awesome, as my 13" retina is still a bit too heavy to lug along with a couple of books.
  • Reply 19 of 35
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by drblank View Post

     

    The A7/M7 are still mfg by Samsung and I think Samsung is one of their panel suppliers, but that's the extent of it, from the looks of it.  It's the era of relying on Samsung less and less.   That's one way to hurt Samsung's sales/profits.


    "Keep your friends close, and keep your enemies closer."

     

    Samsung seeing that less and less of a cash cow is theirs... yet keeping them in the loop for a taste of what they could have if they played well with others....

     

    I'm still amazed that it's the A7/M7 that they allow Samsung to make... although it's the critical component and therefore Apple is pretty much tied to someone who can deliver strategic components on time, in quantity, and with quality.   That said, it could be 2 years that they are completely out, especially now with Intel opening up their fabs for non-Intel product.

     

    Apple plays everyone in their supply chain (up and downstream) into a commodity player.   This is the strength of having minimum product SKUs, ability to scale manufacturing of the their products, and a cash pile where they can 'buy' your loyalty (ala the Flash memory scare of 2007/2008, when Apple bought up Samsung's and Sharp's 'market capacity' to feed the needs of iPod, the MBA, and the original iPhone.).   This is Tim Cook's  strength, and as CEO, he's got his lieutenant's improving his strategies.   

     

    This is Apple's long game... make a compelling product to the consumer, and get every supplier and partner to align to Apple's view of consumer delight... You're seeing it in music, in cell phones, and hopefully in TV content and Internet as well (and books... although Amazon bought more political clout than Apple did in that arena... but eventually, that decision will be reconsidered).     This downstream profit source makes it more and more compelling for everyone to play nice with apple lest they get none of the pie.

  • Reply 20 of 35
    ipilya wrote: »
    I am nearly delirious with the flu.... so you response.... well needless to say it took me over the edge... took me a while to understand it instead of thinking I had lost it.  LOL...  thank you... tears to the eyes.

    I'm glad I was able to "lift" your spirits and take your mind off the gravity of your illness, even if it was for only a short bit with my weighty explanation. But, somehow, I sense that you didn't take my short discourse completely seriously?
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