Thursday, March 15, 2012

Teardown of 'new iPad' shows Samsung display, difficult repairs

The new iPad hasn't even hit the shores of North America (well, technically it has. We have received a ship notification and ours is shipping from Southern California) but those handy guys at iFixIt have already done a teardown. How, you might ask? By flying all the way out to Australia where due to the time zone difference, the new iPad is already on sale.

Among the first things they noted is that, as expected, the new iPad is sporting a Samsung LCD for its retina display. It was reported earlier that Apple had turned to Samsung after displays from LG and Sharp failed to meet Apple's quality control standards.

So, despite the fact that Apple wants to move away from Samsung if it can, in part due to the numerous patent lawsuits against Samsung's tablets, it appears the company cannot. It also means that we will probably see these same retina displays in Samsung tablets, and perhaps elsewhere, soon.

Among the other components found in the teardown:
  • Texas Instruments CD3240 driver device
  • Broadcom BCM4330 802.11a/b/g/n MAC/Baseband/Radio with Integrated Bluetooth 4.0+HS and FM Transceiver
  • 2 x 4Gb Elpida LP DDR2 = 1 GB DRAM in separate packages in a 64-bit configuration
  • Qualcomm PM8028 Power Management IC
  • Qualcomm RTR8600 multi-band/mode RF transceiver for LTE bands
  • Toshiba Y0A0000 Memory MCP
As expected the new iPad sports an Apple A5X processor, made by Samsung, just as the earlier A4 and A5 processors on earlier Apple devices.

Apple said that despite upgrades for LTE, a new quad-core GPU, and the new processor, the "new iPad" would have the same 10 hour battery life. That explains why the new iPad has upped the battery size on the device from 25 watt-hours to 42.5 watt-hours, which also explains the extra girth and heft of the new iPad vs. the iPad 2.

That was about the extent of the teardown. iFixit doesn't try to do a cost estimate on the device. iSuppli will do that later.

iFixit did say that on a ease-of-repair basis, the new iPad is only 2 out of 10. Ouch.

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