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Apple iPad Pro teardown reveals large foam-filled speaker enclosures
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MacNN Staff
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Nov 12, 2015, 08:08 AM
The iPad Pro is a difficult-to-repair tablet, according to a teardown of the device by repair outfit iFixit. The ritual dismantling of Apple's latest tablet has also revealed a few notable items about its construction, with the biggest discoveries being a change in the way the large 12.9-inch display is mounted to the rest of the casing compared to other iPads, and Apple's extensive use of foam to help boost the self-balancing speaker drivers.

Opening up the iPad Pro requires the use of heat pads and a suction cup to defeat the adhesive holding the screen in. Unusually, because the logic board is located in the center of the iPad itself, the cables connecting it to the display are also attached in the middle, as opposed to one of the edges, meaning the display has to be supported while it is disconnected.

Underneath the large screen are a pair of batteries, flanking the logic board on either side. It is noted that the self-balancing speaker drivers have foam-filled enclosures taking a lot of space in each corner, components that iFixit suggests could have helped increase the battery capacity by an extra 50 percent if they had been left out.

It is noted that iFixit had to remove the EMI shielding before being able to access the logic board itself, something that hasn't happened before in previous iPad teardowns. On the logic board itself is the Apple A9X 64-bit processor, along with 4GB of SK Hynix RAM, Toshiba NAND Flash storage, and an InvenSense six-axis gyroscope and accelerometer combo, with other chips supplied by NXP, Fresco Logic, Universal Scientific Industrial, Fairchild Semiconductor, and Maxim Integrated. Broadcom, NXP, Parade Technologies, and Texas Instruments components appear on the back of the display.

Despite the changes, Apple appears to have reused some design principles and components from other iPads. The FaceTime HD and iSight cameras are believed to be identical to those used in the iPad Air 2, with the ribbon cable for the 3.5mm jack also holding one of the two ambient light sensors, again similar to the iPad Air 2. Borrowing from iPhones, Apple has also included pull tabs under the iPad batteries for the first time, helping with their removal.

Overall, iFixit gives the iPad Pro a repairability score of three out of ten. While Apple is praised for having more easily removable batteries, the Smart Connector port is claimed to be "virtually impossible to replace," the LCD panel and front glass are going to be more expensive to replace due to being fused together, and the large amounts of adhesive used to hold components together count against the iPad Pro's favor.
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Nov 13, 2015, 08:44 PM
Even though I appreciate the effort that iFixit puts in for discovery and taking things apart, I still get a sense that these guys at iFixit are a bit self-righteous in the way they talk about Apple Engineering .... things like "if they hadn't put foam in the speakers, they could have enlarged the battery" or that the connector for the display is in the middle so it's really "inconvenient" for the folks at iFixit ..... who cares ???? Apple has designed this tablet for the consumer, and a single engineer at Apple has orders of magnitude more knowledge and talent that the ENTIRE staff at iFixit, so for them to start judging the design and assembly, it's just outright preposterous. They remind of the little teenage kids who buy an expensive BMW, and then they go and pimp it up, but adding spoilers and lowering the chassis, etc. ..... thinking naively that BMW hadn't thought of those things !!!! Of course they did .... but they thought of another million things, and figured out it probably wasn't a good idea, therefore they didn't lower the chassis or add a giant spoiler. I've yet to see iFixit engineer a product that's as slick as the ORIGINAL iPad and has a score of 10/10 !!!!!
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