Teardown of Fourth-Generation iPad Reveals LG Display, A6X Chip, Lightning Connector

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Apr 12, 2001
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Close on the heels of its iPad mini teardown, iFixit has performed a similar procedure on the fourth-generation iPad. The new iPad is extremely similar to the previous model, with the main exceptions being the move to a more powerful A6X chip and a change to Apple's new Lightning connector.


Of most significant interest is of course the A6X chip, which would be an enhanced version of the A6 chip that debuted in the iPhone 5, with improved graphics to help drive the iPad's large Retina display. A date code on the A6X reveals that it was manufactured in the 37th week of 2012, which corresponds to mid-September, but a more detailed analysis of the A6X will need to wait for chip teardown experts such as those at Chipworks to get their hands on the part.

Other interesting discoveries include:

- The display is manufactured by LG, as opposed to the Samsung display found in the third-generation iPad torn down by iFixit. Apple does, however, source many of its components from multiple vendors, so it is unclear whether Apple has excluded Samsung from display production on the fourth-generation iPad.

- The logic board remains the same size as in the previous model, but Apple has tweaked the layout of some of the chips.

- The new Lightning port is housed in a frame that is equal in size to that of the 30-pin dock connector in the previous generation, meaning that Apple has not saved any interior space with the move to the Lightning connector. Apple will, however, almost certainly take advantage of the reduction in space needed for the Lightning connector in a more significant redesign for a future generation.


30-pin dock connector from third-generation iPad (top) and Lightning connector from fourth-generation iPad (bottom)

- The improved front-facing camera is slightly thicker than in the previous model, but fits into the same space within the device's body.

- The battery carries the same A1389 part number as in the third-generation iPad.

- Just like in the third-generation iPad, the fourth-generation model contains 1 GB of RAM housed in two Elpida chips separate from the A6X package.

Update: Chipworks has examined the A6X, finding that it is indeed a significant reworking of the A6 found in the iPhone 5, unsurprisingly focused on graphics capabilities.
This is not just an A6 with a couple minor tweaks. The A6 is 94mm2 while the A6X is 123mm2 - a full 30% larger.So where did that extra area go? Well, firstly, it did not go to the CPU core. The A6X uses the identical CPU to the A6. Same size, same layout. This is not surprising given that the prior CPU used custom layout techniques, and therefore it would be a huge amount of work to redesign so soon. Much of the extra area has gone to the GPU cores which are up from 3 to 4. More notable is that each of these GPU cores is much larger.On the A6X each GPU core is 8.7mm2 while the A6 GPU cores are only 5.4mm2. The overall area occupied by the A6X GPU cores is more than double that of the A6!


Article Link: Teardown of Fourth-Generation iPad Reveals LG Display, A6X Chip, Lightning Connector
 

dweezle3

macrumors regular
Jun 11, 2010
196
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Earth
So Apple relies only on it's main competitor for it's top quality retina display, yet decides to have a less competitive, not threatening company produce it's lesser displays? Where's the logic in that?
 

ipedro

macrumors 603
Nov 30, 2004
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Doesn't look like they used the extra space in this revision.

This reveals that the iPad 4 was only released to bring the Lightning connector to the entire iOS lineup and they might as well have added a faster chip.

I'll wait for the iPad 5 or the iPad mini 2 with retina display.
 

gatearray

macrumors 65816
Apr 24, 2010
1,130
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Doesn't look like they used the extra space in this revision.

This reveals that the iPad 4 was only released to bring the Lightning connector to the entire iOS lineup and they might as well have added a faster chip.
Wow, that's some specious logic there!
 

monkor

macrumors regular
May 25, 2012
169
1
Good thing they saved all that room in switching to a lightning connector to add cool new features
 

SPEEDwithJJ

macrumors 65816
Nov 2, 2008
1,188
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So Apple relies only on it's main competitor for it's top quality retina display, yet decides to have a less competitive, not threatening company produce it's lesser displays? Where's the logic in that?
Maybe the logic is that by buying from LG, Apple is able to acquire similar (or even slightly better, IMHO) quality displays from a "non-threatening" company at lower costs while at the same time reduce business dealings with its perceived No. 1 enemy (Samsung)? :confused:
 

SeaFox

macrumors 68030
Jul 22, 2003
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It reveals the lightning connector?! Never would have guessed!
  • LG Display
  • A6X Chip
  • Lightning Connector
I seem to remember the device serial can tell you what panel is in it sometimes. Which means all of these points can be "revealed" by consulting it and reading Apple.com -- and not even turning on the device.
 

chriscrk

macrumors 6502a
Nov 14, 2011
521
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Planet Earth (?)
Really? I would've never known if not your post. Thanks for the heads up!
You're welcome!

But your comment doesn't even make sense, because you would have most likely seen what I said, on the actual news headline, before reading my comment.
 
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FactVsOpinion

macrumors 6502
Jul 27, 2012
307
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So Apple relies only on it's main competitor for it's top quality retina display, yet decides to have a less competitive, not threatening company produce it's lesser displays? Where's the logic in that?
Actually no. LG is the company from which Apple is now getting their top quality retina display, whereas Samsung, from whom the display does not come, is their top competitor. The logic is right there!
 

realeric

macrumors 65816
Jun 19, 2009
1,061
1,316
United States
LG Display is the world #1 company of LCD. (Market share & technology).

Edit: Market share of large-size(9"~) LCD panel is LG 29%, Samsung 18.9%, CMI 17.6%, AUO 16.7%.
 
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HoopTrundler

macrumors member
Oct 7, 2011
71
0
This reveals that the iPad 4 was only released to bring the Lightning connector to the entire iOS lineup and they might as well have added a faster chip.
Not necessarily... That may have been part of the reason, but I also do think that they wanted to switch to a fall release schedule, and they wanted an iPad that was as fast or faster than the latest iPhone out by Christmas.
 

komodrone

macrumors 6502
Apr 26, 2011
499
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Apple: LG, your phones and tablets look a lot like ours!
LG: No they're not, your phones and tablets look like ours
(Both go to court and sue each other. Apple stops having LG make displays for them)

Sigh
sigh, where is Apple supposed to get displays then?

they'll go to sharp
and then you'll say the same thing.

wtf man?
 

DotCom2

macrumors 601
Feb 22, 2009
4,304
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I am curious to find out if the iPad 4 runs any cooler than the iPad 3. My 3 gets really hot sometimes. I have to stop what I am doing and let it cool down sometimes because I'm afraid it's going to blow up!:eek:
 

Guezcoast

macrumors newbie
Oct 20, 2012
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Mayaguez puerto rico
You think we'll see some ipad 3 vs ipad 4 gaming vids as soon as today? Also you have an idea of how good is the ipad 4 specs vs vita or ps3? Can't wait to play modern combat 4 on it!!!
 

WestonHarvey1

macrumors 68020
Jan 9, 2007
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So Apple relies only on it's main competitor for it's top quality retina display, yet decides to have a less competitive, not threatening company produce it's lesser displays? Where's the logic in that?
Samsung's iPad 3 screens were terrible.
 

LarryC

macrumors 6502
Jul 19, 2002
419
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North America
I realize that this is probably a non-issue, but as inexpensive as RAM is these days, why only 1GB of RAM? I remember when they finally went from 512MB to 1GB in the iPhone, RAM is ridiculously cheap these days and Apple certainly charges enough for their products it seems as though 1GB is not enough.
 

kfscoll

macrumors 65816
Nov 3, 2009
1,089
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Aside from maybe load times, you won't see a difference. Companies developenfornte lesser hardwares anyway. Such is the deal with smartphone gaming.
Huh? There are some games that are a bit choppy when running on my iPad 3. The extra horsepower of the iPad 4's CPU and GPU will definitely help smooth things out.
 
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