Teardown of Apple's iPad mini 4 reveals 5,124mAh battery, 2GB of RAM, refined layout

Posted:
in iPad edited September 2015
A teardown of Apple's new iPad mini 4 shows the tablet is indeed a shrunken hybrid version of last year's iPad Air 2, but comes with a few surprises like a slightly tweaked component layout.


iPad mini 3 (left) versus iPad mini 4. | Source: iFixit


While Apple gave a fairly comprehensive hardware rundown of the iPad mini 4 during its announcement last week, repair firm iFixit cleared up a few points of contention by disassembling the device on Thursday. Perhaps most notable is confirmation that iPad mini 4 sports 2GB of RAM, a welcome addition that should boost performance system wide.

Aesthetically, the device is 1.4mm thinner than the iPad mini 3 and features round speaker ports to match iPad Air 2 and the upcoming iPad Pro. For its latest mini tablet, Apple opted to go with a fully laminated Retina display that providers users with a better visual experience.

Inside is a thin 5,124mAh single-cell battery putting out 19.1-watt-hours of energy. Apple claims the battery is good for ten hours of use on Wi-Fi models or nine hours for cellular versions. The previous iPad mini 3 used a double-cell battery with a capacity rated at 6,471mAh.

Apple worked some miniaturization magic and reduced the front-facing FaceTime camera's footprint substantially. Interestingly, the new mini's Wi-Fi antenna arrays are split -- at least in the Wi-Fi only version -- one on top next to the camera and another on the bottom near the speaker. Previously, both modules were positioned at the tablet's base, while iPad Air 2 keeps its antennae up top. Other interesting parts include Apple's A8 SoC, an 8MP iSight camera and Touch ID module integrated into the display cable.

Apple's iPad mini 4 takes the place of iPad mini 3 and starts at $399 for a Wi-Fi model with 16GB of storage. Higher capacity 64GB and 128GB variants come in at $499 and $599, respectively, while Wi-Fi + Cellular models start at $529.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 20
    A8, not A8X. Apple isn't that nice.
  • Reply 2 of 20
    I hope this isn't the last year of the Mini.
  • Reply 3 of 20
    bluefire1 wrote: »
    I hope this isn't the last year of the Mini.

    It certainly seems like the Mini 2 was an abberation, and Apple intends to keep it one year behind the Air.
  • Reply 4 of 20
    It seems to me that now iPad mini will get the previous generation non-X chip each year so A9 next year (there is no space for a separate RAM module; they need it all integrated together like iPhones; the iPad Air 1's A7 chip is technically A7X due to a separate RAM module and heat spreader just like A5X and A6X). Then, iPad Air is no longer the flagship of iPads, they will get the previous generation X chip each year so A9X next year. iPad Pro will be the flagship and gets all the latest hardware so A10X next year. My guess of iPad mini 2 being an exception is because the A6 is too weak to drive the Retina display. They cannot put A6X into the mini so they used the same A7 in iPhone 5s to drive the display (not the same A7 to iPad Air 1 though). All this time their intention is mini being one generation behind, and now that applies to iPad Air as well.

    On the other hand, multiple YouTube reviews say the iPad mini 4 display is much better now that it has anti-reflective coating, fully laminated and a much more accurate colour gamut. That is good to hear. It may probably be the perfect small sized tablet with no compromises.
  • Reply 5 of 20
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by LJC94512 View Post



    It seems to me that now iPad mini will get the previous generation non-X chip each year so A9 next year (there is no space for a separate RAM module; they need it all integrated together like iPhones; the iPad Air 1's A7 chip is technically A7X due to a separate RAM module and heat spreader just like A5X and A6X). Then, iPad Air is no longer the flagship of iPads, they will get the previous generation X chip each year so A9X next year. iPad Pro will be the flagship and gets all the latest hardware so A10X next year. My guess of iPad mini 2 being an exception is because the A6 is too weak to drive the Retina display. They cannot put A6X into the mini so they used the same A7 in iPhone 5s to drive the display (not the same A7 to iPad Air 1 though). All this time their intention is mini being one generation behind, and now that applies to iPad Air as well.



    On the other hand, multiple YouTube reviews say the iPad mini 4 display is much better now that it has anti-reflective coating, fully laminated and a much more accurate colour gamut. That is good to hear. It may probably be the perfect small sized tablet with no compromises.

    "It seems to me that now iPad mini will get the previous generation non-X chip each year so A9 next year..."

     

    That' assuming that Apple sees the iPad mini as part of its "long-term" future.

  • Reply 6 of 20
    ljc94512 wrote: »
    It seems to me that now iPad mini will get the previous generation non-X chip each year so A9 next year (there is no space for a separate RAM module; they need it all integrated together like iPhones; the iPad Air 1's A7 chip is technically A7X due to a separate RAM module and heat spreader just like A5X and A6X). Then, iPad Air is no longer the flagship of iPads, they will get the previous generation X chip each year so A9X next year. iPad Pro will be the flagship and gets all the latest hardware so A10X next year. My guess of iPad mini 2 being an exception is because the A6 is too weak to drive the Retina display. They cannot put A6X into the mini so they used the same A7 in iPhone 5s to drive the display (not the same A7 to iPad Air 1 though). All this time their intention is mini being one generation behind, and now that applies to iPad Air as well.

    On the other hand, multiple YouTube reviews say the iPad mini 4 display is much better now that it has anti-reflective coating, fully laminated and a much more accurate colour gamut. That is good to hear. It may probably be the perfect small sized tablet with no compromises.

    If they fixed the color gamut issues, that'd be nice. Hopefully Anandtech gets a review up soonish.
  • Reply 7 of 20
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by TheWhiteFalcon View Post



    A8, not A8X. Apple isn't that nice.



    It is not the same as the A8 on the iPhone since the RAM is 2GB instead of 1GB. The iPad mini CPU/GPU pushes half the number of pixels and the device is much smaller. It is more important to control heat and battery than get small performance increase.

  • Reply 8 of 20
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by NasserAE View Post

     



    It is not the same as the A8 on the iPhone since the RAM is 2GB instead of 1GB. The iPad mini CPU/GPU pushes half the number of pixels and the device is much smaller. It is more important to control heat and battery than get small performance increase.


    The A8X is the SoC in the iPad Air 2, which has the exact number of pixels as this newly released iPad mini 4.  They're both 2048 x 1536 resolution screens.  You're correct in saying that Apple wants to control heat / battery but not because it has half the number of pixels but because the device is quite a bit smaller.

  • Reply 9 of 20
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by CanukStorm View Post

     

    The A8X is the SoC in the iPad Air 2, which has the exact number of pixels as this newly released iPad mini 4.  They're both 2048 x 1536 resolution screens.  You're correct in saying that Apple wants to control heat / battery but not because it has half the number of pixels but because the device is quite a bit smaller.




    You are correct about the pixels. I was thinking about the iPad Pro.

  • Reply 10 of 20
    On the other hand, I noticed the memory performance is significantly better in iPad Air 2 but all the same in iPhone 6,5s or iPad mini 4,3,2. I thought they are all using LPDDR3 RAM except mini 4 and Air 2 both have 2GB. The mini 4 memory performance is lower than the Air 2 by quite a lot. I must be missing something here. What makes RAM have a higher performance (this is some sort of computer science knowledge that I do not know, and I wish someone could answer my question)
  • Reply 11 of 20
    Faux outrage from The Usual Suspects. Just like the time Apple released the MacBook and you guys whined that it wasn't MacBook Pro enough.
  • Reply 12 of 20
    I don't get why they didn't include the A9X chip and possibly even 3D Touch. Why is the Pro only receiving 2015 technology?
  • Reply 13 of 20
    Faux outrage from The Usual Suspects. Just like the time Apple released the MacBook and you guys whined that it wasn't MacBook Pro enough.

    Probably because it's not. Have you heard Apple parading about any real numbers for the MacBook?
  • Reply 14 of 20
    flaneurflaneur Posts: 4,510member
    ljc94512 wrote: »
    It seems to me that now iPad mini will get the previous generation non-X chip each year so A9 next year (there is no space for a separate RAM module; they need it all integrated together like iPhones; the iPad Air 1's A7 chip is technically A7X due to a separate RAM module and heat spreader just like A5X and A6X). Then, iPad Air is no longer the flagship of iPads, they will get the previous generation X chip each year so A9X next year. iPad Pro will be the flagship and gets all the latest hardware so A10X next year. My guess of iPad mini 2 being an exception is because the A6 is too weak to drive the Retina display. They cannot put A6X into the mini so they used the same A7 in iPhone 5s to drive the display (not the same A7 to iPad Air 1 though). All this time their intention is mini being one generation behind, and now that applies to iPad Air as well.

    On the other hand, multiple YouTube reviews say the iPad mini 4 display is much better now that it has anti-reflective coating, fully laminated and a much more accurate colour gamut. That is good to hear. It may probably be the perfect small sized tablet with no compromises.

    " . . . YouTube reviews say . . . the display is much better . . ." which means, considering the smaller battery and the thinner profile, that it is an IGZO display, finally, which they have been wanting to do since the first "washed-out" Mini retina two years ago. Meaning more evidence that IGZO production problems have been further resolved.

    This also solves some heat management issues, I imagine. This is the first real Mini retina.
  • Reply 15 of 20
    sphericspheric Posts: 1,764member
    cash907 wrote: »
    Probably because it's not. Have you heard Apple parading about any real numbers for the MacBook?

    Nope. But people have stopped pretending that they need to.

    It's not a MacBook Pro. People aren't buying it for horsepower. They're buying it because it's the most elegant and unobtrusive way to take care of their everyday computing needs.
  • Reply 16 of 20
    ljc94512 wrote: »
    On the other hand, I noticed the memory performance is significantly better in iPad Air 2 but all the same in iPhone 6,5s or iPad mini 4,3,2. I thought they are all using LPDDR3 RAM except mini 4 and Air 2 both have 2GB. The mini 4 memory performance is lower than the Air 2 by quite a lot. I must be missing something here. What makes RAM have a higher performance (this is some sort of computer science knowledge that I do not know, and I wish someone could answer my question)

    Part of the features of an X chip is a double wide memory bus, 128-bit vs 64-bit. So the memory performance on X series chips is always better because it's able to access more of it, faster.
  • Reply 17 of 20
    I received my mini 4 yesterday, replacing my mini 3. I must admit I don't see any differences in the performance so far. Design-wise, it definitely doesn't have any extra speakers (I didn't think it would have?) and although it's supposed to be thinner and lighter I cannot really feel a notecable difference. It fits in the 3's case nicely too.

    Also wasn't the screen supposed to be anti-glare?

    No regrets though...
  • Reply 18 of 20
    cash907 wrote: »

    My question is: Why should every iPad be a Pro? Why can't Apple sell a range of products that aren't Pro? why does everything have to have Pro specs?
  • Reply 19 of 20
    fallenjtfallenjt Posts: 3,976member
    peteralt wrote: »
    I don't get why they didn't include the A9X chip and possibly even 3D Touch. Why is the Pro only receiving 2015 technology?
    flagship model gets latest technology to minimize cannibalization. That's how they drive the sale. I owned Air and Mini 2. I was considering 12" Macbook, but now iPad Pro makes me rethink about the decision. IPad Pro w Smart keyboard or 12" Macbook at $1100-$1200? Tough choice.
  • Reply 20 of 20
    Originally Posted by Cash907 View Post

    Probably because it's not.

     

    WOW. A PRODUCT THAT IS NOT MADE FOR PROFESSIONALS DOES NOT CONTAIN HARDWARE THAT PROFESSIONALS WOULD WANT.

     

    WHAT A CONCEPT.

     

    Is that big enough to get it through your skull, or should you just get banned?

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