Sixth-Generation iPad Teardown Details 'Repair Nightmare' for Education-Focused Tablet

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iFixit today published its teardown of Apple's sixth-generation, education-focused iPad and found that -- unsurprisingly -- the tablet shares many of the internals of the fifth-gen iPad. The teardown crew also looked at the new iPad's potential for durability and repairability in an education environment by comparing it to competitors in the field.

Images via iFixit


The new iPad's lack of waterproofing, non-replaceable charging port, zero upgradeability, and use of glue throughout the internals added up to a "repair nightmare." iFixit then pointed towards the HP Elite x2 1012 G1 tablet, which got a perfect repairability score of 10 out of 10, summarizing that "Apple's 'education' iPad is still a case of won't -- not can't."

Looking into the iPad's internals, the two major updates in the new tablet are an upgraded A10 processor and Broadcom chips for Apple Pencil support. iFixit got a peek inside the iPad using Creative Electron's X-ray imaging software, discovering "only minor differences" when compared to a similar X-ray of the previous iPad.


One of the iPad's advantages in terms of repairability comes in the form of its digitizer panel easily separating from the display. iFixit pointed out that in the event that either component should break, repair will be easier for schools and educators.
In the education space, Apple has some stiff competition in the form of low-cost, Google-powered laptops. How does this iPad, er, stack up against a Chromebook from HP or Asus? Given that schoolkids can be a bit rough on their electronics, here's an iFixit take on it:

iPad's glued-glass display is more vulnerable to drops. Thankfully, this is the one iPad that retains an air-gapped digitizer panel--not as visually impressive as other recent iPads, but it's much cheaper to replace cracked glass that isn't LOCA-bonded to the display panel underneath. Separate accessories like the keyboard and Pencil add to the cost and are easier to lose--but are also easier to replace if damaged. (Note the missing key on our HP's keyboard.)
Eventually, iFixit got down to the logic board and discovered the iPad's A10 Fusion processor and two Broadcom touch screen controller chips, previously found in the 10.5-inch and 12.9-inch iPad Pro models. iFixit theorized that the new iPad's Apple Pencil support "comes in part thanks to this "Pro"-grade chip."


The sixth-gen iPad has the same battery as the previous model, with 32.9 Wh capacity. iFixit noted that while this allows Apple to reuse existing manufacturing lines to reduce waste, the battery is still locked behind a "repair-impeding adhesive" that greatly reduced the iPad's repairability score. Apple has provided easy battery removal before, in the 12.9-inch iPad Pro, but iFixit hasn't seen anything like it since.

Ultimately, iFixit gave the 2018 iPad a repairability score of 2 out of 10, favoring the fairly easy repair options of its air-gapped, non-fused display and digitizer glass, but taking marks off for its heavy use of adhesive and sticky tape. To read the full teardown, visit iFixit.com.

Article Link: Sixth-Generation iPad Teardown Details 'Repair Nightmare' for Education-Focused Tablet
 

mtneer

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Sep 15, 2012
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While I have no bone with the claims, what iPad has ever been "repairable"? I can't think of anything out of Apple's stables in the past decade that has been highly repairable. On the other end, how many Chromebooks are repairable, even if they are, why not just replace them since shop time and costs to repair a Chromebook may get close to a new one.
 

oldmacs

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Sep 14, 2010
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It is a shame, especially given they're aimed at education. From working with technology in education, I know how often these things break. Or the environmental and cost impact of having to dump them when Apple ends support.
[doublepost=1522761631][/doublepost]
On the other end, how many Chromebooks are repairable, even if they are, why not just replace them since shop time and costs to repair a Chromebook may get close to a new one.
Chromebooks can often have batteries replaced, screens replaced and keyboards replaced with relative ease. It does depend on the model though.
 

Rogifan

macrumors Core
Nov 14, 2011
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News flash to ifixit, this is just an update to the consumer iPad with a slight discount to schools. Somehow schools are using iPads now without stories of durability issues. ifixit is just on another one of its let’s get some clicks anti-Apple rants.
 

and 4096 others like this

macrumors regular
Jan 26, 2018
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2018 and Apple still give this crappy 1,2 MP front camera from iPhone 5... I know it is cheap iPad but mounting 5 MP from iPhone 6S wouldn't make price much higher, if at all. I don't know about other people, but I use front camera for conversation more often than rear camera (FaceTime, Skype).

But I understand that for student rear camera is more important (scanning documents or AR)...
 

gnipgnop

macrumors 65816
Feb 18, 2009
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A. iFixit doesn't know the specific deals that a school district might make in terms of how failed units are replaced or repaired.
B. iFixit doesn't know the stats on whether it's more likely for a student to break the unit or for the unit to fail through general use.
C. Therefore, the "fix" score may not really have as much meaning as they make it sound.
 

69Mustang

macrumors 604
Jan 7, 2014
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In between a rock and a hard place
While I have no bone with the claims, what iPad has ever been "repairable"? I can't think of anything out of Apple's stables in the past decade that has been highly repairable. On the other end, how many Chromebooks are repairable, even if they are, why not just replace them since shop time and costs to repair a Chromebook may get close to a new one.
iPhones are repairable. They've almost always gotten good repairability scores. iFixit teardowns and repairability scores aren't about whether a company makes highly repairable items. They are there to inform the DIY'er of the difficulty of a specific undertaking.

Unrelated but curious. You bring up Chromebooks, question if they're as repairable, and then go on to suggest buying a new one instead of repairing it. Are we witnessing you have a conversation with yourself?:p:D
 

Rogifan

macrumors Core
Nov 14, 2011
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It is a shame, especially given they're aimed at education. From working with technology in education, I know how often these things break. Or the environmental and cost impact of having to dump them when Apple ends support.
I know this device was announced at an education focused event but I wouldn’t consider the device itself education focused. It’s basically an updated consumer iPad at a slightly cheaper price. Maybe Apple should have designed a specific rugged iPad just for education but I’m not surprised they didn’t.
 
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oldmacs

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I know this device was announced at an education-focused event but I wouldn’t consider the device itself education focused. It’s basically an updated consumer iPad at a slightly cheaper price. Maybe Apple should have designed a specific rugged iPad just for education but I’m not surprised they didn’t.
That is very true - not arguing that at all, but I do think they should work on at least make battery swaps or something an easier task.

Perhaps an Apple-designed education case would do the trick. Generally, schools seem to use cases, which does make them more rugged.
 

69Mustang

macrumors 604
Jan 7, 2014
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In between a rock and a hard place
A. iFixit doesn't know the specific deals that a school district might make in terms of how failed units are replaced or repaired.
B. iFixit doesn't know the stats on whether it's more likely for a student to break the unit or for the unit to fail through general use.
C. Therefore, the "fix" score may not really have as much meaning as they make it sound.
Their repairability score has nothing to do with A or B. Their score is for the DIY person who may try to repair something they own. Whether it's an iPad or a TV or a washing machine. The score is an indicator of difficulty in completing the job, knowledge needed, and chance of something going wrong. They don't need to know anything about A or B.
 

Rogifan

macrumors Core
Nov 14, 2011
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Oh, there are plenty of stories believe me. I've dealt with enough.



What for reporting the truth on how repairable these things are?
They do this with every Apple product. Because they have an agenda. The harder it is for users to repair their own stuff the fewer repair kits iFixit sells.
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That is very true - not arguing that at all, but I do think they should work on at least make battery swaps or something an easier task.

Perhaps an Apple-designed education case would do the trick. Generally, schools seem to use cases, which does make them more rugged.
They contracted that out to Logitech.
 
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bnvnsn

macrumors newbie
Jun 10, 2011
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It's been a while since I worked for a school district, but we really didn't have the headcount to have somebody doing repairs that took a long time to complete. At the discounted price and the cost vs time problem, I would see 1) buying the AppleCare to have the iPads sent in for repairs and 2) ordering extra as backups.
 

Jimmdean

macrumors 6502
Mar 21, 2007
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That HP tablet is practically a Surface Pro at nearly $1500.00. Not a valid comparison at all. And anyone that thinks those are anywhere near as durable as an iPad is dreaming. Just put this in a semi-rugged case for kids and you'll be fine. It's certainly better than those crappy Chromebooks...
 

oldmacs

macrumors 601
Sep 14, 2010
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They do this with every Apple product. Because they have an agenda. The harder it is for users to repair their own stuff the fewer repair kits iFixit sells.
An agenda? They do this with literally every tech product for the purpose of helping people to fix stuff.....

I guess Apple has an Agenda as well... make their products less repairable and upgradable = more sales (and more environmental damage)


[doublepost=1522762865][/doublepost]
If the screen breaks it can be repaired, and the battery will last 5 years. What else needs to be repaired? Repairabilty is almost a liability these days.
The lightning port, home buttons, lock buttons and headphone port. The number of iPads I've dealt with snapped lightning cables.....

The batteries do not always last 5 years...
 

guzhogi

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Aug 31, 2003
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Wherever my feet take me…
While I have no bone with the claims, what iPad has ever been "repairable"? I can't think of anything out of Apple's stables in the past decade that has been highly repairable. On the other end, how many Chromebooks are repairable, even if they are, why not just replace them since shop time and costs to repair a Chromebook may get close to a new one.
I know. I coworker of mine who works in a different school had a student "accidentally" drop a MacBook Air down an elevator shaft. It was all disfigured, but still managed to turn on. If it were a Chromebook, I doubt it would be in as good of shape. Obviously, the school district is looking to have the students pay for the repair costs.

I can see a day when Apple start making iPads as a single component. Just to annoy ifixit.
Maybe not to just annoy fixit, but oooooh! Thinner! Wow! I miss the days of Power Mac G3s & G4s where you just had to to swing down the side and you had full access to the innards. But alas, 'tis no more. Third party upgrades probably cut too much into Apple's margins.
 
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