HOW IT’S DONE
We pull apart Apple’s latest premium tablet.
Apple iPad Pro (10.5-inch)
» HOW IT’S DONE
The iPad team took a page from the iPhone SE playbook, and released what appears to be a throwback — an arguably under-specced tablet that takes aim at the education and enterprise markets. This iPad is supposedly reasonably priced, and powerful enough for professionals — but will it also earn high marks for repairability? Let’s find out.
MAJOR TECH SPECS
Apple third-generation 64-bit A9 processors, with embedded M9 motion co-processor 9.7-inch multitouch Retina display, with 2,048 x 1,536 resolution (246ppi) and non-laminated digitizer 32GB or 128GB of storage 8MP 1080p rear-facing iSight camera, and 1.2MP 720p front-facing FaceTime HD camera 802.11a/b/g/n/ac MIMO Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.2 Touch ID fingerprint sensor, threeaxis gyro, accelerometer, barometer and ambient light sensor
It’s time to start the iPad opening song and dance: Heat, pry, peek, repeat. Based on early reports, we’re expecting this to be more Air 1 than 2: and this is why: The LCD and digitizer are unfused, and can be replaced separately. This is great news for repair. We needle a battery isolation pick betwixt the battery contacts and logic board to prevent any mishaps, stopping those electrons in their tracks. Flipping the digitizer over reveals ≠ the biggest change so far from the lookalike iPad Air: the addition of Touch ID, and its associated hardware. Thumbs up for fingerprint reading. Thumbs down for a harder repair, because the sensor is uniquely paired to its logic board at the factory. Moving on to the display, we don’t spy any convenient manufacturer marks this time around. In Apple’s press release announcing the iPad 5, it told us it comes equipped with a “brighter 9.7-inch Retina display”. Our question is: brighter than what? It doesn’t look that different from the Air 1’s display. If they mean brighter than the Air 2, then that may simply be due to reverting to the unfused display design of the Air 1. So remember how we said this was similar to the first Air? We were serious — take a look at the photos above of the Air 1 and iPad 5. Not much has changed. Here, the Air 1 ≠ is dressed in space grey and has a slightly larger Wi-Fi module. The iPad 5 is in silver and... has less tape? They both pack the same 32.9Wh battery, beating the 27.6Wh iPad Air 2 and the 27.9 Wh iPad Pro 9.7-inch (all of which are outpaced by the Surface Pro 4’s 38.2Wh reservoir). Repairability Score: 2 out of 10 (10 is easiest to repair). The LCD is easy ≠ to remove once the front panel is separated from the iPad, and the battery is not soldered to the logic board. We’ll give it that. As in previous iPads, the front panel is glued to the rest of the device, increasing the chances of cracking the glass during repair. Adhesive holds everything in place. As with the Air 1, this ranks among the most difficult battery removal procedures we’ve seen in ≠ an iPad. The LCD has foam tape adhering it to the front panel, increasing the risk of shattering it during disassembly. You can’t access the front panel’s connector until ≠ you remove the LCD
Well, at least there’s one thing that’s different.