iFixit's iPad teardown finds huge dual battery, 256MB of RAM in A4

Posted:
in iPad edited January 2014
Investigative work by the team at iFixIt has revealed a series of interesting details about the iPad's internal details, including a large battery and RAM incorporated within its A4 System on a Chip.



The company's teardown reveals that the iPad's battery has 5.5 times the capacity of the iPhone. It's actually two battery packs wired in parallel, the company reports, providing a total of 24.8 Watt-hours. "In contrast," the report notes, "the iPhone 3GS has a 4.51 watt-hour battery and the MacBook Air has a 40 watt-hour battery."



On average, the device "sips just 2.5 Watts. That's 1/5 the power of a compact fluorescent bulb," the report states. Even so, the larger battery demands more charging power than standard USB ports provide. It needs its included 10 watt charger, and won't charge while syncing with a standard USB-equipped Mac or PC.



A4 includes system RAM



"The A4 is a Package-on-Package (PoP), with at least three layers of circuitry layered on top of each other," the site notes. Apple's "A4 is packaged just like the iPhone processors, microprocessor in one package and two memory modules in the other package. They're all sandwiched together in a very nice and thin PoP.



"The iPad RAM is inside the A4 processor package. Confirming this took quite a bit of sleuthing: we had to partner with Chipworks to X-ray the processor. The X-ray revealed two layers of RAM. In addition to the ARM processor, the A4 package contains two stacked Samsung dies. We will be releasing a detailed analysis of the A4 in conjunction with Chipworks in a few days."



The A4 contains "256MB of memory per die, for 512 MB total" the company's teardown notes. That's twice the system RAM of last year's iPhone 3GS and third generation iPod touch.



Update: iFixit updated their report to note that the iPad actually incorporates the same 256MB of system RAM as the iPhone 3GS.







Physical features



"The rear case is machined from a single billet of aluminum, increasing weight but greatly improving the rigidity of the device," iFixIt reports, adding that "the empty void in the upper right corner [of the WiFi-only model] is where the cellular communications board would go in the 3G iPad."



The iPad's "touch circuit design is more similar to the old 2G and early 3G iPhones than the current 3GS," the teardown revealed. "Chipworks informed us that 'there is so much room in the iPad that Apple didn't need to use small chips, just the right ones and cheap ones.'"



Additionally, the rumored slot that was once imagined to be for a camera "is actually taken up by the ambient light sensor." iFixIt also noted that the iPad's "glass panel is quite thick: about 1.18 mm, compared to the iPhone's 1.02 mm thick glass. This is necessitated by the panel's large size."



The WiFi antennas on the iPad are mounted facing both the front corner and the back, where they penetrate through the solid aluminum back via the window provided by the black plastic Apple logo.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 97
    cu10cu10 Posts: 294member
    X-raying the processor? Wow, that's wicked. So it isn't an XIP (eXecute In Place) architecture after all.
  • Reply 2 of 97
    molochmoloch Posts: 46member
    Let's have the new Macbook Pro's, please. Or I'm going to abandon Apple.
  • Reply 3 of 97
    nitronitro Posts: 91member
    not surprised about the dual batteries. apple did claim 10 hours of video. i dont see much advancement in technology in the ipad compared to other UMPCs. Apple "organizes" hardware better than all others and test the OS rigorously again the hardware so that there is always a better user experience. waiting for the 3G version and the telcos to rip me another AHOLE with their BS.
  • Reply 4 of 97
    damn_its_hotdamn_its_hot Posts: 1,194member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Moloch View Post


    Let's have the new Macbook Pro's, please. Or I'm going to abandon Apple.



    Patience. Apple will release them in due time - but not the same day as the iPad!
  • Reply 5 of 97
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by nitro View Post


    not surprised about the dual batteries. apple did claim 10 hours of video. i dont see much advancement in technology in the ipad compared to other UMPCs. Apple "organizes" hardware better than all others and test the OS rigorously again the hardware so that there is always a better user experience. waiting for the 3G version and the telcos to rip me another AHOLE with their BS.



    Isn't that the truth.



    I have a iPhone with a data package I barely use close to my limit, but I can't tether and will be forced into a another 3 year long agreement. (Canada)



    No thank you and the bottom line reason why I won't be getting one, not matter how good it MAY be.
  • Reply 6 of 97
    I'm a little confused. I was able to charge my iPad through my mac's USB port without issue. I was very surprised to see these reports that it requires it's AC adapter to charge.
  • Reply 7 of 97
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by bloodstains View Post


    I'm a little confused. I was able to charge my iPad through my mac's USB port without issue. I was very surprised to see these reports that it requires it's AC adapter to charge.



    You can charge through the USB, just faster with the AC plug.
  • Reply 8 of 97
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by bloodstains View Post


    I'm a little confused. I was able to charge my iPad through my mac's USB port without issue. I was very surprised to see these reports that it requires it's AC adapter to charge.



    Hi-power USB will charge it, not regular USB



    See here
  • Reply 9 of 97
    neilwneilw Posts: 77member
    Interesting about the 512 MB RAM; other sites are reporting (via benchmarking and such) that it only has 256 MB. Though 512 MB sounds more reasonable to me...
  • Reply 10 of 97
    molochmoloch Posts: 46member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Damn_Its_Hot View Post


    Patience. Apple will release [the Macbook Pros] in due time - but not the same day as the iPad!



    I swear by Zeus I'm going to gnaw my left leg entirely off any moment now.
  • Reply 11 of 97
    tofinotofino Posts: 697member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Headrush69 View Post


    Isn't that the truth.



    I have a iPhone with a data package I barely use close to my limit, but I can't tether and will be forced into a another 3 year long agreement. (Canada)



    No thank you and the bottom line reason why I won't be getting one, not matter how good it MAY be.



    i'm curious who your provider is. as far as i know tethering is included with most data plan in canada (for now).
  • Reply 12 of 97
    The K4X2G643GE RAM part number also infers that iPad is now using a 64-bit memory bus compared to the 32-bit memory bus used in the iPhone and other smartphones. The doubling of memory bandwidth is useful for the CPU, but even more important for the GPU since it shares system memory and bandwidth. This would definitely help explain why the iPad is so graphically impressive despite the much higher resolution.
  • Reply 13 of 97
    fyngyrzfyngyrz Posts: 61member
    The news about the light sensor... bad news. That means it wasn't ready for a camera, perhaps not shipping now because of production or supply problems, but instead that the design was actually so flawed as to not include one at all. Impossible to understand how they could be so short-sighted.



    There's a huge legion of apps that would be enabled by front-facing cameras; another equally large set by a rear-facing camera; then there was the leaving off of an IR emitter... completely crazy for a device Jobs envisioned as "coffee table resident." It's almost as if they had a meeting and someone said "let's cut down the utility here... we'll need an upgrade path."



    And then there is this weird insistence upon sticking *only* with AT&T for 3G; a demonstrated provider of low-ball networking, with consistent performance and coverage problems, not to mention exorbitant fees.



    Oh well.



    On the up side, there are lots of other pads coming out. Android has had an impressive start, and no doubt there will be tablets that can use it, and its apps, with cameras, IR emitters, GPS and more. Maybe we'll even see full 1280x720 resolution, instead of the iPad's utterly ridiculous 1024xblah. Another huge fail.
  • Reply 14 of 97
    I like how the Wi-Fi chip is housed behind the plastic logo for better reception.
  • Reply 15 of 97
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Tofino View Post


    i'm curious who your provider is. as far as i know tethering is included with most data plan in canada (for now).



    The problem isn't the tethering from the provider. I was sure I read an Apple source quoted as saying you WON'T be able to tether the iPad. It's either buy the WiFi+3G package initially or you're out of luck.



    Found link: http://www.appleinsider.com/articles...nd_iphone.html
  • Reply 16 of 97
    aaarrrggghaaarrrgggh Posts: 1,608member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by fyngyrz View Post


    ...then there was the leaving off of an IR emitter... completely crazy for a device Jobs envisioned as "coffee table resident." It's almost as if they had a meeting and someone said "let's cut down the utility here... we'll need an upgrade path."



    I think you could have a lot more interesting applications with the use of a WiFi/IR bridge, maybe something like Logitec's precision emitters, or using more modern equipment's WiFi remote control capabilities. I would love to be able to use a Touch or iPad as a AMX/Crestron type interface as well, but I don't want the half-assed solutions that dominate the consumer market today.



    As for the upgrade path, while I will give you that on the camera, I think in time you will see households with a half a dozen iPads laying around for different things.



    Quote:

    And then there is this weird insistence upon sticking *only* with AT&T for 3G; a demonstrated provider of low-ball networking, with consistent performance and coverage problems, not to mention exorbitant fees.



    While this has been discussed ad-nauseam, T-Mo is the only carrier using the 1.7GHz band in the world. They only have 30MM users, and their 3G footprint is terrible. They can't offer a cheaper plan, and they sure as hell can't offer better service.



    For me, the unlocked style of the iPad is perfect. It makes it easy to use when traveling abroad, although I will need to get a cutting die to trim down a standard SIM card.



    Apple has hit a home-run with this product. Version 2 will be even more compelling, but this device has all kinds of use-cases that have yet to be fully explored.
  • Reply 17 of 97
    abster2coreabster2core Posts: 2,501member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Headrush69 View Post


    Isn't that the truth.



    I have a iPhone with a data package I barely use close to my limit, but I can't tether and will be forced into a another 3 year long agreement. (Canada)



    No thank you and the bottom line reason why I won't be getting one, not matter how good it MAY be.



    And what is your source?
  • Reply 18 of 97
    macvictamacvicta Posts: 346member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by nautilus. View Post


    I like how the Wi-Fi chip is housed behind the plastic logo for better reception.



    Very clever. One of my biggest curiosities was the placement of the antenna.
  • Reply 19 of 97
    mactelmactel Posts: 1,275member
    It's a fine piece of engineering inside and out. Though I wouldn't want to buy one to tear apart. Thanks iFixit for the reveal.
  • Reply 20 of 97
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Abster2core View Post


    And what is your source?



    Link added to post above already.
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