iPad mini: The teardown

Summary:Tiny screws, along with copious amounts of adhesive holding components in place, makes taking apart Apple's latest iPad mini a real challenge.

Last month, Apple put technology circles out of their misery by finally unveiling the iPad's smaller brother, the iPad mini. Repair experts from iFixit have managed to get their hands on one and done with it what they do best: they've taken it apart so we can see what makes it tick.

The teardown revealed some new information, and confirmed some other things that we either already knew or had guessed at.

First, the iPad mini is the first in the iPad line to have stereo speakers. The full-sized iPads currently feature mono-speakers. This should make the audio output quality from the device much better.

The iPad mini is powered by a 3.72 v., 16.5 Whr, 4400 mAh battery. This is significantly smaller than the massive 43 Whr battery in the iPad 4, and smaller even than the 25 Whr battery contained in the iPad 2.

The iPad mini is held together using some very small screws, which are not only hard to find but also easy to lose. According to iFixit chief executive Kyle Wiens: "This iPad contains some of the smallest screws we have ever seen!"

The iPad mini also seems to share a number of components from other Apple products. For example, the A5 processor is the same as that found in the latest iPod touch, while the Murata 339S0171 Wi-Fi chip is the same as found in the iPhone 5.

iFixit cannot confirm who built the display in the torn-down iPad mini, but it is "likely" that is was made by Samsung. Supply chain reports suggest that AU Optronics and LG Display are also providing Apple with displays for the iPad mini.

Despite the fact that the liquid crystal display (LCD) and glass are not fused together and can be replaced independently, and that the battery is not soldered to the logic board, iFixit only give the iPad mini a reparability score of two out of 10 (where 10 is easiest to repair).

Black marks against the iPad mini include the tiny screws, the copious amounts of adhesive that Apple uses to hold a number of components in place -- including the front glass, logic board, battery, front camera, back camera, and ribbon cables -- and the fact that the Lightning connector is soldered to the logic board, so any damage to the connector means having to replace the entire logic board.

The iPad mini and the new iPad 4

Image source: iFixit.

Topics: Apple, Hardware, iPad, Tablets

About

Adrian Kingsley-Hughes is an internationally published technology author who has devoted over a decade to helping users get the most from technology -- whether that be by learning to program, building a PC from a pile of parts, or helping them get the most from their new MP3 player or digital camera.Adrian has authored/co-authored technic... Full Bio

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