iPad mini the same on the outside with completely new internals, demonstrates teardown

Posted:
in iPad edited April 2
The fifth-generation iPad mini may be physically similar to the previous version externally, but a teardown of the latest pint-sized Apple tablet shows nearly everything inside has been changed to bring the mobile device up to date.

Extracting the logic board from the iPad mini 5 (via iFixit)
Extracting the logic board from the iPad mini 5 (via iFixit)


Retaining the same visual appearance as its predecessor, the iPad mini 5 offers no real clues to its updated nature, according to iFixit, except for the appearance of the model number A2133 and the removal of regulatory markings from the rear of the device.

Moving the teardown inside by the use of heated pads, suction cups, and prodding tools, the components used for the refreshed model have gone through considerable changes. One early discovery is how the battery flex connector is glued to a cover bracket, a design change that automatically disconnects the battery when the bracket is removed, a change that can potentially save from accidentally damaging the display's backlight.

The battery is a 19.32 Watt-hour unit that is similar to the fourth-generation in capacity, but with new connectors that makes it incompatible to use with earlier models. The front-facing camera module has been updated, along with the True Tone ambient light sensors, and the microphones have also been moved.

A disassembled iPad mini 5 (via iFixit)
A disassembled iPad mini 5 (via iFixit)


The camera is the same 7-megapixel f/2.2 version used in the 10.5-inch iPad Pro, though it uses a similar housing to the 1.2-megapixel version from the previous iPad mini.

The chips inside the casing include what is believed to be a Parade timing controller, Texas Instruments LCD bias and level shifters, a Broadcom touchscreen controller, NFC and USB charging controllers from NXP, Toshiba flash memory, and Apple Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and power management chips. The A12 Bionic system-on-chip is noted as being layered over 3 gigabytes of Samsung RAM.

The iPad mini has been given a "repairability" score of two out of a possible ten. Though a single Phillips screwdriver is needed to deal with all of the screws, and that many components are modular and independently replaceable, the difficulty of the battery replacement and the need to replace the display for Touch ID repairs, as well as the heavy usage of glue, counts against the tablet's score.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 13
    FatmanFatman Posts: 299member
    Apple needs to find a new exterior case designer that insists each refresh also gets SOME new exterior change as well. The confused public sees an ipad that looks identical to the old one - not one change, yet the internals are completely new. The exact opposite approach of the car industry. People want to believe they are getting something new - IMO one of the contributing reasons sales are losing to competitors, particularly in China.
    edited April 2
  • Reply 2 of 13
    mike1mike1 Posts: 1,898member
    Fatman said:
    Apple needs to find a new exterior case designer that insists each refresh also gets SOME new exterior change as well. The confused public sees an ipad that looks identical to the old one - not one change, yet the internals are completely new. The exact opposite approach of the car industry. People want to believe they are getting something new - IMO one of the contributing reasons sales are losing to competitors, particularly in China.
    Would like to see your ideas.
    Other than color, there's not much to work with on a device that is mostly screen.
    Squared off edges versus rounded edges. Round buttons versus rectangular. I guess they could alternate those every year if change for change's sake was important..
    Smaller bezels will happen if/when they go to Face ID. Then it will be all screen.

    Soliwatto_cobra
  • Reply 3 of 13
    neilmneilm Posts: 620member
    Fatman said:
    Apple needs to find a new exterior case designer that insists each refresh also gets SOME new exterior change as well. The confused public sees an ipad that looks identical to the old one - not one change, yet the internals are completely new.
    Who cares?

    Owners of updated devices are happy knowing they have the latest and greatest.
    Owners of old iPads are happy knowing that nobody else knows they don't.

    Win-win!
    mike1libertykrswatto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 13
    davgregdavgreg Posts: 374member
    I am glad they updated the mini, but wish they had updated the case and supported the newer pen design.

    Have not seen the new one in person, does the new one use USB C or is it on the Lightning connector?

  • Reply 5 of 13
    sflocalsflocal Posts: 4,652member
    mike1 said:
    Fatman said:
    Apple needs to find a new exterior case designer that insists each refresh also gets SOME new exterior change as well. The confused public sees an ipad that looks identical to the old one - not one change, yet the internals are completely new. The exact opposite approach of the car industry. People want to believe they are getting something new - IMO one of the contributing reasons sales are losing to competitors, particularly in China.
    Would like to see your ideas.
    Other than color, there's not much to work with on a device that is mostly screen.
    Squared off edges versus rounded edges. Round buttons versus rectangular. I guess they could alternate those every year if change for change's sake was important..
    Smaller bezels will happen if/when they go to Face ID. Then it will be all screen.

    Public is not confused.  Just you.
    Solifastasleepwatto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 13
    davgreg said:

    Have not seen the new one in person, does the new one use USB C or is it on the Lightning connector?

    Still Lightning.

  • Reply 7 of 13
    StrangeDaysStrangeDays Posts: 7,978member
    Fatman said:
    Apple needs to find a new exterior case designer that insists each refresh also gets SOME new exterior change as well. The confused public sees an ipad that looks identical to the old one - not one change, yet the internals are completely new. The exact opposite approach of the car industry. People want to believe they are getting something new - IMO one of the contributing reasons sales are losing to competitors, particularly in China.
    No one is confused. That's a narrative you just invented. Apple has said time and again, they do not do change just for change's sake. It's a functional design.
    fastasleepwatto_cobra
  • Reply 8 of 13
    StrangeDaysStrangeDays Posts: 7,978member
    davgreg said:

    Have not seen the new one in person, does the new one use USB C or is it on the Lightning connector?

    Still Lightning.

    I blocked that guy, but heaven forbid he just go to the Apple specs page and find out for himself:

    https://www.apple.com/ipad-mini/specs/
    fastasleepwatto_cobra
  • Reply 9 of 13
    MisterKitMisterKit Posts: 262member
    Many people, myself included, love the mini form factor just as it was, and simply wanted the device updated to current specs. We got what we wished for and like it.
    benji888watto_cobra
  • Reply 10 of 13
    macguimacgui Posts: 1,307member
    MisterKit said:
    Many people, myself included, love the mini form factor just as it was, and simply wanted the device updated to current specs. We got what we wished for and like it.
    Yes! I order one recently. Can't wait!
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 11 of 13
    kimberlykimberly Posts: 229member
    Fatman said:
    Apple needs to find a new exterior case designer that insists each refresh also gets SOME new exterior change as well. The confused public sees an ipad that looks identical to the old one - not one change, yet the internals are completely new. The exact opposite approach of the car industry. People want to believe they are getting something new - IMO one of the contributing reasons sales are losing to competitors, particularly in China.
    I reckon you have a good point regarding SOME exterior change accompanying a refresh.
  • Reply 12 of 13
    kevin keekevin kee Posts: 1,044member
    Fatman said:
    Apple needs to find a new exterior case designer that insists each refresh also gets SOME new exterior change as well. The confused public sees an ipad that looks identical to the old one - not one change, yet the internals are completely new. The exact opposite approach of the car industry. People want to believe they are getting something new - IMO one of the contributing reasons sales are losing to competitors, particularly in China.
    Er... I don't confuse at all. Why do you? Weird.

    Anyway, there is a reason a popular design was kept the same: brand recognition. Also, the current iPad Mini form is perfect. Why changes for the sake of changes?
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 13 of 13
    I have an iPad mini 2. I really only use it when I travel. At .73 pounds, it's the ultimate mobile (non-iPhone) device. 

    I have an SE, but I'm seriously considering dumping my Se and Mini so I only have to carry the larger iPhone.

    Hmmmm.
    watto_cobra
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