iPad 4 teardown: Pretty much the same as the iPad 3

iPad 4 teardown: Pretty much the same as the iPad 3

Summary: There's not an awful lot to distinguish the iPad 4 from the iPad 3, except for the upgraded Lightning port, and an A6X processor that promises to be twice as fast as the A5X found in the iPad 3.

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TOPICS: iPad, Apple, Hardware, Tablets
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Not only did Apple unveil the new iPad mini at last month's press event, the technology giant also surprised us by releasing a refreshed full-sized iPad with Retina display, dubbed already the iPad 4.

The team at iFixit have got their hands on an iPad 4 fresh off the production line and have taken it apart so we can see how it differs from the iPad 3.

The iPad 3 was only unveiled back in March of this year, so it's a bit much to expect this refresh to bring a lot of changes to the table, but there's enough to make this a compelling upgrade.

Externally, the biggest change is that the 30-pin dock connector has been replaced with the new 8-pin Lightning connector, the same as found on the iPhone 5, iPad mini, and the fifth-generation iPod touch. Because there's plenty of space inside the iPad, the Lightning connector sits in a frame the same size as the 30-pin dock connector.

As is becoming the norm for Apple, the iPad 4 is held together with copious amounts of adhesive, making repairs difficult, nigh on impossible.

However, instead of being presented with a Samsung liquid crystal display (LCD) screen as found in the iPad 3, the iPad 4's display was instead manufactured by LG Display. Due to the legal spat between the two companies, Apple has reportedly been working to move away from Samsung as a primary supplier, so an LG display is not that surprising.

That said, Apple often uses multiple suppliers for a single component, meaning there are likely other LCD manufacturers used on other iPad 4 units.

Inside the iPad 4 is a 1.2-megapixel front-facing FaceTime HD camera with the ability to shoot 720p high-definition video. This is a massive improvement over the 0.3-megapixel FaceTime camera in the iPad 3. Physically, the new camera is actually slightly thicker by 0.4 millimeters, but it still manages to squeeze into the same space.

Inside the iPad 4 are a myriad of chips, memory units and semiconductors, including an Apple A6X processor (red box), Hynix 16GB NAND flash memory (orange box), among other audio and power management chips.

The A6X processor is a huge upgrade over the A5X found in the iPad 3, and is up to twice as fast as the previous-generation chip. It also includes a significant graphics processing unit (GPU) upgrade, making the iPad 4 a beyond-suitable device for gaming with.

Processor and new dock connector aside, the iPad 4 is more of as minor upgrade than a full-blown iPad refresh. However, those who only bought an iPad 3 this year are likely to feel just a little bit annoyed that Apple decided to bring out a newer tablet after just over seven months.

iFixit has given the iPad 4 a reparability score of two out of 10 (where 10 is easiest to repair). Apple's extensive use of glue and sticky tape makes the unit hard to take apart, the LCD panel is easy to shatter when removing, and the fact that you can't access the front panel's connector until you remove the LCD are all black marks against the device.

How Apple makes products difficult -- and expensive -- to repair

Image sources: iFixit.

Topics: iPad, Apple, Hardware, Tablets

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15 comments
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  • The same, but it oblitirates all competition; Nexus 10, Nexus 4, SGN2, SGS3

    -- all eat dust, all two to five times slower that unique Apple's SoCs A6 and A6X:

    http://www.anandtech.com/show/6426/ipad-4-gpu-performance-analyzed-powervr-sgx-554mp4-under-the-hood
    DDERSSS
    • Because...

      The Nexus 4 is already out and you already compared the two.....:Smh
      EVHGameOvR
    • Because

      You have compared this with devices that arent even available to the general public yet...SMH
      EVHGameOvR
      • AnanTech has both iPad 4 and Google Nexus 4, they have results

        iPad 4 is twice to thrice faster, and no one can do anything about it.

        So you understand why Google Nexus is $100 cheaper -- it has cheap, weak SoC, and is made of cheap look and feel and build flexible plastic.

        iPad mini has performance of iPad 2, which is not present in the diagrams in AnandTech's article from the link. But there are iPhone 4S results, and iPad 2 has 20% higher clock frequency than A5 in that phone.

        So you can see that iPad mini with supposedly "old", according to some ignorant media, hardware, is actually faster than almost any revals.
        DDERSSS
        • Well...

          My Surface will blow an iPad out of the water performance wise! It isn't just about chips, it's the OS as well and Win8 blows iOS out of the water on many fronts!
          omdguy
          • Here is why that will never be true

            nVidia Tegra ..... took a quad-core to (barely) match a single core A4.
            wackoae
          • Here is why that will never be true

            nVidia Tegra ..... took a quad-core to (barely) match a single core A4.
            wackoae
        • You call Nexus cheap?

          when the iPad is held together by adhesive???? Jus shows how iPad is expensive but made with cheap practices. Who is being ripped off???
          deaf_e_kate
          • WTF

            What do you want it to be held by, gold? Something sticky gotta keep the parts together so they wont shake when you shake the device. ALL mobile devices use *GLUE*, this one uses adhesive, lol
            Freds Rinco
        • Spoken like a true brainwashed fanboy

          These videos are for you then.

          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RyWSEwKPo8s

          and

          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PWvKpzE7CaY
          bobiroc
    • Sure. Do you people make this stuff up?

      Oh, never mind... ;)
      William Farrel
      • No need to make stuff up when Apple's SoCs are so much more advanced than

        ... rival solutions from Qualcomm (Adreno 320) and ARM itself (Mali 604).
        DDERSSS
  • iPad 3S

    Did Apple officially dub this iPad the iPad 4? Or just simply call it iPad and the media added the 4? I think their marketing team really dropped the ball on this one. The iPad 3 should have been called that, not just iPad. That way when they released this minor upgrade, calling an iPad 3S probably would've kept a lot more iSheep calm.
    jhnnybgood
  • i pad 3s

    held together with Johnson and Johnson band aids while getting pummeled by surface
    preferred user
  • my nearly new Ipad Vs my new MS Surface

    Got an Ipad a few weeks back and yes it's fun and quick, but it's more like a gimmicky toy if that's a good description. I not really sure what it is supposed to be. Maybe a big version of an Iphone so Angry birds looks better, (which it does, I must admit). I found it lacking in many other areas as far as productivity goes. Now to my new MS Surface. I've never liked microsoft for a few ethical reasons however when comes to productivity and usability. the surface is the leader. A client hands over a usb drive loaded with some docs and plans and I can immediately access them and get to work, no messing around. My camera connects immediately also and offers hassle free access to pics for use with work. I found the Icloud to be inaccessable at times which really sucked when you have people waiting on you. The kids really enjoy the Ipad. I struggle to get them to put it down, they are if anything loads of fun. It's early days, so I'll use both still, but this far, the MS Surface is AWESOME.
    justsubs@...