Teardown of 9.7-Inch iPad Pro Examines Speakers and Rear Camera, Finds 'Gobs of Adhesive'

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After discovering that a handful of iPhone SE components are interchangeable with those of the iPhone 5 in a teardown last week, iFixit today shifted its sights to the other major release from Apple's "Let Us Loop You In" media event - the 9.7-inch iPad Pro.

iFixit surmised that the new iPad Pro is essentially the offspring of the iPad Air 2 and 12.9-inch iPad Pro, acquiring the looks of the former and specs of the latter. The site found, however, that the 9.7-inch iPad Pro acquired the "ugly genes" of the family when it comes to its internals as Apple continues to cram ever more features into its devices at the cost of repair accessibility.


Unlike the larger-screened iPad Pro, which houses its display cables in the center of the device, the 9.7-inch device has its display cables nestled into the bottom right edge of the case.

After disassembling the EMI shield covering the logic board, removing the battery, and moving onto the upper speakers, which connect to the logic board with spring contacts, iFixit discovered that most of the 9.7-inch iPad Pro's components are held together by "gobs of adhesive" that will make it difficult for everyday repairs.

The site also examined the protruding camera, which it notes is the same 12 MP camera found in the iPhone 6s Plus and an upgrade from the 12.9-inch version's 8 MP rear-facing camera. iFixit suggests the iPad Pro's camera is optically stabilized like the one in the iPhone 6s Plus, but Apple has not marketed the iPad Pro with support for optical image stabilization. Regardless, the beefed-up specs of the 9.7-inch iPad Pro's camera require the bump on the rear housing, which is not present on the 12.9-inch device.


One of the wild cards of the teardown centered around a group of antenna interconnect boards, which iFixit determined to "serve no actual purpose." Upon closer inspection, the site hypothesized that the sturdy, flat tops of the boards perhaps provide extra support for the iPad's display, which could come in handy since users with Apple Pencils are bound to rest their palms on the display repeatedly.

After inspecting a similar A9X 64-bit processor, iFixit compared the battery capacities of the recent line of iPads to the new iPad Pro. The 9.7-inch iPad Pro's 7,306 mAh is expectedly less than the 12.9-inch iPad Pro's score of 10,307 mAh, but largely in line with the 7,340 mAh of the iPad Air 2. Despite their varying capacities, iFixit noted that all three of the iPads have "roughly the same estimated battery life" of about 10 hours.

iFixit gave the 9.7-inch iPad Pro a repairability score of 2 out of 10, with a 10 being the easiest to repair. The disassemblers noted that with the removal of the pull tabs found under the battery in the 12.9-inch iPad Pro, a "virtually impossible to replace" Smart Connector, the fused-together LCD and front panel glass, and a more-than-average amount of adhesive holding everything together, the smaller iPad Pro is even more difficult to repair than its larger counterpart, which scored a 3 out of 10 in the same test.

Article Link: Teardown of 9.7-Inch iPad Pro Examines Speakers and Rear Camera, Finds 'Gobs of Adhesive'
 
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iLoveDeveloping

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Here we go with the "ifixit - why are they still around these guys suck, they only want to sell you replacement parts"! I personally love ifixit tear downs. It's like when you were a kid taking your radios and cars apart, except now, it's a €1000 computer and I'm not touching that thing with my screw driving!! Haha
 

teslo

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Jun 9, 2014
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Here we go with the "ifixit - why are they still around these guys suck, they only want to sell you replacement parts"! I personally love ifixit tear downs. It's like when you were a kid taking your radios and cars apart, except now, it's a €1000 computer and I'm not touching that thing with my screw driving!! Haha
it's just the disconnect between the site's purpose (finding out how fixable a PC/device is) and the fact that apple builds their hardware to purposely be unfixable. it's like a site called "IndieFlicksOnly" consistently reviewing Marvel blockbusters (and giving them the worst IndieFlick score possible). just a little silly, but taking it too seriously is equally so. enjoy the visuals for what they are: the guts of your iPad that you'll never see otherwise.
 
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Three141

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Here we go with the "ifixit - why are they still around these guys suck, they only want to sell you replacement parts"! I personally love ifixit tear downs. It's like when you were a kid taking your radios and cars apart, except now, it's a €1000 computer and I'm not touching that thing with my screw driving!! Haha
People actually complain about the ifixit tear down? Oh boy I find them interesting, I personally would not bother tearing my device apart to repair but it's interesting to see.
 

avanpelt

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Jun 2, 2010
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Apple entering the adhesive industry confirmed. :D
Yep, and if an 8 oz. bottle of glue costs $2.00, you can bet that a 2 oz. tube of Apple adhesive will retail for $10.00. It will also come with a set of pentalobe screws as a "bonus" so if you can't glue it, screw it. ;)
 
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majkom

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May 3, 2011
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man, they put OIS camera to ipad but not into iphone 6s or SE... tell me sthing about upsell, Mr. Schiller
 

Thunderhawks

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I do question the repairability index, because almost no tablet, phone or handheld device is really that repairable.

Still, I enjoy seeing these tear downs and I was looking forward to this and the prior SE tear down.
While I am 50/50 on tear downs, I have to say that iFixit was helpful when Apple products were fixable for DIYers.

I am not faint of heart and will open anything trying to repair it. (Full well knowing I may wreck it)

However when I see what is going on in there, I have no desire to mess with it.

I agree with Apple that it is nobody's business to tinker in there. Probably 99.9% of it's customers would not think to do so.

Get Applecare and send it in when it needs fixing.
 

jayducharme

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Jun 22, 2006
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The thick of it
I wonder how iFixIt would review a Project Ara phone, since every part is replaceable without the need for iFixIt's tools. It's also a pretty ugly device, but that's one of the trade-offs. They did give the Fairphone a 10 last year, but I've never seen any of those in the wild. And for that repair, you would need precise tools.
 
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kingtj

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I find myself in that category of people who still appreciate iFixit and the teardowns, while at the same time agreeing they need to change their focus a bit.

The repairability score may technically be accurate, but it's increasingly irrelevant. I've been a computer tech since the late 80's and I'd still never attempt to disassemble an iPad to repair it myself. In fact, I'm really "on the fence" when it comes to such things as repairing a damaged glass screen on a Macbook. I recently tried that with a 13" Air that had a working LCD but a smashed glass on top of it. I could buy the replacement glass for about $20 off eBay (complete with the black strip along the bottom of it that said MacBook), but wound up damaging the LCD itself in the process of removing all of the old, shattered glass.

Basically, when you see adhesive used to hold components together, you're looking right at a situation where the manufacturer is trying to discourage/prevent you from servicing those components. (In my screen situation above, the glass was attached to the top of the LCD panel with a strong adhesive. The suggestion to use a hair dryer to heat and loosen it only worked marginally well.)

It's good information to have, to know how a given product was assembled. But often, the best thing you can do with that information is know when NOT to attempt your own repair on it.
 

joueboy

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I would take 2 front facing speakers anyday over 4 speakers shooting the sound somewhere else. :D
 

Mike MA

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Sep 21, 2012
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I do question the repairability index, because almost no tablet, phone or handheld device is really that repairable.

Still, I enjoy seeing these tear downs and I was looking forward to this and the prior SE tear down.
Well, isn't it mostly and advertisment for them to fix our broken displays? I guess this is basically the main issue they handle. And for the index, the lower it is the more expensive it gets? :rolleyes:
 

mtneer

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Sep 15, 2012
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Is it really adhesive or is it thermal paste? After all this is a fanless machine with a powerful processor. So, copious thermal paste may not be a bad idea.
 

MH01

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Always like to see the iFixit teardowns.

As for the repair scores, don't bother, Current Apple devices are no longer user serviceable, you are forced to upgrade/future proof at the time of purchase.

Only worry about iPads is the replacement cost of the screen, damn its expansive, especially for the pro.
 

69Mustang

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Jan 7, 2014
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In between a rock and a hard place
I do question the repairability index, because almost no tablet, phone or handheld device is really that repairable.

Still, I enjoy seeing these tear downs and I was looking forward to this and the prior SE tear down.
What a lot of people on this forum fail to acknowledge is iFixit repair score encompasses more than tablets and phones. They have repair guides on phones, tablets, pc's, cars, household appliances, other electronics, cameras, game consoles, and even apparel. I don't think they are going to change their "shtick" because a category or two lack easy repair.

I personally love their repair guides and have used them successfully. I tend to only tackle 6's and higher. I tried a 4 once (regretted it) but the 4 did let me know what I was potentially getting into. The simple fact that the iPP is rated at a 2 should say to the masses: "DIY'er beware". So it serves a purpose.
 
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