HOW IT’S DONE

We rip open the cheaper iPad to see what’s changed in this lat­est re­vi­sion.

APC Australia - - Contents -

Ap­ple iPad 9.7-inch (2018)

Un­veiled at Ap­ple’s ed­u­ca­tion­fo­cused event in July, the 2018 iPad is less of a “hot new se­quel” and more like a “re­vised edi­tion pa­per­back with im­proved il­lus­tra­tions.” While this iPad’s specs re­veal two ma­jor up­dates — an up­graded pro­ces­sor, and Pen­cil sup­port — has Ap­ple qui­etly changed any­thing else? Let’s find out with a tear­down!

MA­JOR TECH SPECS

Ap­ple A10 fu­sion pro­ces­sor with em­bed­ded M10 mo­tion co­pro­ces­sor 9.7-inch multi-touch Retina dis­play with 2,048 x 1,536 res­o­lu­tion (264 ppi) and non-lam­i­nated dis­play assem­bly 32GB or 128GB of stor­age 8-megapixel 1080p rear-fac­ing iSight cam­era + 1.2-megapixel 720p front-fac­ing FaceTime HD cam­era 802.11a/ b/g/n/ac dual-band MIMO Wi-Fi + Blue­tooth 4.2 Touch ID finger­print sen­sor + three-axis gyro + ac­celerom­e­ter + barom­e­ter + am­bi­ent light sen­sor Ap­ple Pen­cil sup­port

KEY FIND­INGS

We’ve been around this block a few times, so we’re go­ing to let our­selves in: iOpener brings the heat; suc­tion and open­ing tool bring the pry­ing lever­age. Like magic, the digi­tiser panel lifts sep­a­rately from the dis­play — a good sign for re­pair. Non-≠ fused dis­play and digi­tiser glass are bet­ter in the event that ei­ther breaks. Im­por­tant for a ram­bunc­tious class­room. After free­ing some Phillips screws, we lift the LCD panel and dis­con­nect it from the logic board. Be­fore we go fur­ther, we slide a bat­tery blocker be­tween the bat­tery and logic board to keep stray elec­trons from in­ter­fer­ing with our tear­down. Now we can safely dis­con­nect the digi­tiser. It has the same two ca­bles as be­fore, but they look a lit­tle dif­fer­ent. Could they have changed slightly for Pen­cil com­pat­i­bil­ity? Look what we found hid­ing un­der a shield: the same NXP 8461A1 Touch ID chip that we saw in the pre­vi­ous model. Strong ad­he­sive binds the logic board to the case, so we meet it with some liq­uid fists. Pow! The of­fend­ing ad­he­sive quickly gives way, and the board comes out in one piece. And an un­for­tu­nate part of that piece is the Light­ning con­nec­tor, a high-use part that will very likely break be­fore the rest of the logic board. You’ll need some pretty se­ri­ous mi­crosol­der­ing chops to pull off a sim­ple port re­place­ment here. We’re pleased to see that Ap­ple con­tin­ues to use the bat­tery from the iPad 5 — model num­ber A1484 with a 32.9Wh ca­pac­ity. Not only does this make more of the same bat­tery avail­able, but reusing ex­ist­ing man­u­fac­tur­ing lines usu­ally means less waste. We’re not as pleased that it also brought over the same re­pair-im­ped­ing ad­he­sive from the iPad 5. The good news is that you can al­ready get a re­place­ment bat­tery. Re­pairabil­ity score: 2 out of 10 (10 is the eas­i­est to re­pair). The LCD is easy to re­move once you sep­a­rate the cover glass/digi­tiser. Air-gapped, sep­a­rately re­place­able cover glass and LCD makes many drop dam­age re­pairs far less ex­pen­sive. As in all iPads, a solid bar­rier of very strong ad­he­sive bars the way to any re­pairs, and makes re­work a sticky propo­si­tion. More ad­he­sive holds nearly ev­ery­thing else in place. Bat­tery re­place­ment is es­pe­cially chal­leng­ing. The LCD has foam sticky tape ad­her­ing it to the front panel, in­creas­ing risk of dam­age dur­ing dis­as­sem­bly.

You’ll reach the LCD panel quickly enough, but that’s just the start of the jour­ney. Blast­ing the glue is an essen­tial part of gain­ing ac­cess to the iPad’s in­nards.

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