The new iPad Air 2 is out, and one of the first units off the production line has fallen into the hands of the iFixit team.
Physically, the iPad Air 2 is thinner and slightly lighter than its predecessor, and one of the tricks that Apple has employed to achieve this is to laminate the display into a single unit. While this makes it thinner – and a little bit stronger – it also means that any problem with the display will mean having to replace the whole unit.
Inside the iPad Air 2 is a whole raft of chips from a number of silicon providers:
- Apple APL1012 A8X 64-bit Processor
- Elpida/Micron Technology F8164A3MD 2 GB RAM (two 1 GB chips)
- Murata 339S02541 Wi-Fi Module
- SK Hynix H2JTDG8UD1BMR 128 Gb (16 GB) NAND Flash
- NXP 65V10 NFC Module (as found in the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus)
- Apple (Cirrus Logic) 338S1213 Audio Codec
- NXP Semiconductors LPC18B1UK (Apple M8 Motion Co-Processor)
- Maxim Integrated MAX98721BEWV Boosted Class Amplifier
- Broadcom BCM5976 Digitizer Controller
- Texas Instruments TI48WHXDP 343S0583
- Fairchild Semiconductor FDMC 6683 and FDMC 6676BZ
This is confirmation that the iPad Air 2 is equipped with 2GB of RAM, giving there new tablet more power to do more things, and perhaps paving the way for features such as running two apps simultaneously.
On the down side, the teardown also reveals that the iPad Air 2 has a smaller battery than the original iPad Air, 7,340mAh compared to 8,827mAh. While Apple has managed to get away with installing a smaller battery thanks to better efficiency, iFixit points to early reviews of the tablet that the smaller battery has resulted in a real-world decrease in battery life.
If you're thinking of buying the iPad Air 2 with an eye to repairability – something which iFixit thinks is important to people – then you probably should hold onto your money. The tablet scores a poor 2 out of 10 (where 10 is easiest to repair). While the battery isn't soldered to the logic board (which is good), the LCD and front panel glass are fused together which increases the cost of repairing a cracked screen. Also, the front panel is glued to the device, increasing the risk on breaking the display, and Apple has used a lot of adhesive to hold the device together.