iFixit tears open Apple's new iPad: What's inside?

Summary:Someone clearly didn't get the memo that after one buys the new iPad, it's meant to be used and enjoyed -- rather than torn to pieces in an Australian lab. Here's what they found.

iFixit's chief experience officer Luke Soules flew to Australia where the new iPad was released earlier this morning, bought one, took it to a lab, and tore the thing to pieces.

Think of it like the U.S. president pardoning a turkey on Thanksgiving, but in total reverse.

Still, we don't begrudge his passion for ripping consumer technology devices to pieces. What's inside the new iPad is fascinating, and opens the doors to whose Apple's component partners are.

Besides the high-density Retina display which has a screen resolution that exceeds most high-definition televisions, a 5-megapixel rear-facing camera, and 4G-enabled wireless networking, we know very little of what's inside the tablet. Until now.

Here's what we know:

  • Samsung manufactured the 9.7-inch Retina display, confirming earlier reports. Despite the ongoing patent dispute between Samsung and Apple --- with the two throwing punches at each other in courts around the world --- the two are quietly working together on a component level to deliver the device.
  • Apple boasts a 5-megapixel iSight camera just like the iPhone 4S, which had it first when it was released in October last year. Software steadies the video capture to reduce shaking when walking or moving about.
  • An A5X dual-core processor gives the new iPad a much-needed processing speed boost, necessary to run the Retina display as it pushes out even more pixels to the screen. The extra "X" in the advanced processor's name boosts the graphics to quad-core levels.
  • A slightly different display adapter renders existing cables that connect the iPad to external displays useless, meaning users will have to buy a compatible adapter.
  • Broadcom supplies Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connectivity with the BCM4330 chip. There are a number of parts by the semiconductor giant in the new iPad, particularly when it falls to networking.
  • Qualcomm's MDM9600 brings 3G and 4G wireless technology to the device, allowing North American owners to connect to their respective 4G networks, and 3G networks for the rest of the world.
  • Japan-based Elpida supplies the 1GB DRAM which powers the new iPad's memory.
  • Toshiba supplies the NAND flash memory chip, which comes in increments of 16GB, 32GB, and 64GB sizes.
  • The logic board features chip technology from Texas Instruments, Fairchild, more Broadcom microprocessing technology, and an Apple-made audio codec. The other side has chips from Toshiba, Triquint, Avago, and Skyworks.
  • The new iPad's battery is absolutely massive, taking up most of the space in the device. It has to be bigger and more powerful to last the same 10 hours as the iPad 2, whilst powering the power-hungry 4G technology, the extra RAM and the GPU.
  • 4G capable iPad models have the same micro-SIM card slot as older iPad and iPhone devices. Even if you lose that 'special' key to open the slot, a standard paperclip works just fine.

While Apple doesn't disclose which company makes or supplies the components to its devices, hopefully this sheds a light on who Apple is quietly friendly with in the hardware world --- even if they occasionally take their 'friends' to court for alleged patent infringement.

Image source: iFixit.

Related:

Topics: Apple, iPad, Mobility

About

Zack Whittaker writes for ZDNet, CNET, and CBS News. He is based in New York City.

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