11-inch iPad Pro, New Apple Pencil Teardown Reveals Premium Hardware, Lots of Glue, and Low Repairability

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The professional mobile device dissectors at iFixIt are back this week with their latest all-out dismantling of an all-new Apple device — specifically, the company’s 11-inch iPad Pro (2018) — which follows in the footsteps of their earlier teardown’s of the 2018 Mac mini and 13-inch MacBook Air.

As noted in their official write-up, the iFixIt team began by removing the 11-inch iPad’s edge-to-edge LED-backlit IPS display, which revealed a clean interior compartment featuring four strategically placed audio domes each comprising one subwoofer and one tweeter, apiece.

Ifixit Ipad Pro Teardown 1

In their subsequent struggle-turned-success accessing the main logic board, iFixIt pointed to the 11-inch iPad’s sprawling speaker array (along with its redesigned logic board cover) for initially offering limited access to the area upon which Apple’s A12X Bionic SoC, a 64GB Toshiba flash storage chip, two Micron RAM chips (4 GB), an NFC controller, Wi-Fi/Bluetooth module, two Broadcom touchscreen controllers, and a Texas Instruments power controller are all located.

Moving on to the 11-inch iPad Pro’s battery, iFixIt found that Apple employed the same stretch-to-release battery tab design as seen in its latest 13-inch MacBook Air refresh. Most notably, this design, which for iPad Pro features a total of 12 tabs and 6 U-shaped pull strips, makes for a much more easily repairable battery in comparison to the previous-generation iPad Pro.

Pad Pro 2018 Teardown 3

The battery itself, which was discovered to hold a maximum capacity of 7,812 mAh, was reportedly difficult to access, however, due to Apple’s extensive use of an industrial adhesive. 

“While the battery has repair-friendly stretch-release adhesive with twelve pull tabs, a final bit of tough conventional adhesive stymies what should be an easy battery replacement.”

iFixIt also pointed out that the 11-inch iPad Pro’s 29.45 Wh battery is a slight downgrade from the 30.8 Wh battery used in last year’s 10.5-inch iPad Pro.

When examining the new iPad Pro’s Face ID components, notably the TrueDepth camera system, iFixIt notes the components are the same hardware Apple employs in the iPhone X, XS, and XR — although they’re configured in “a slightly modified form factor” to help it all fit snugly within the tablet’s ultra-thin top bezel.

Calling it “a huge win for repair,” iFixIt then pointed out the new iPad Pro’s switch from Lightning to the ubiquitous next-gen USB-C charging and data transfer standard, noting that unlike the logic board-soldered Lightning ports on previous iPad models, the USB-C port on the new iPad Pros can be replaced without having to remove the whole kit and caboodle. 

Even despite its few sweet spots, however, Apple’s 11-inch iPad Pro ultimately received just 3/10 as a repairability score on iFixIt’s rigorous scale, with 10 being the easiest to repair and 1 being, well, better luck next time…

Most poignantly, in their final analysis, iFixIt noted that the main issue with the latest iPad Pro is its excessive use of adhesive, which was “nearly everywhere” on the inside, and, in their own words, “stymies what should be an easy battery replacement.”

Apple Pencil Gets Sliced in Half

Alongside their 11-inch iPad Pro teardown, the iFixIt team decided to take a closer look at the inner-workings of Apple’s latest Pencil device, which, upon being sliced in half, revealed a slate of internal components including the battery, wireless charging coil, various magnets, and a Broadcom touch controller.

Ipad Pro Teardown 4

Moat notably, however, the team discovered within the stylus what can only be described as a “capacitive grid,” as explained best in their own words:

“We found an entire capacitive grid wrapped around the [Apple Pencil] body,” iFixIt says, noting that it’s likely used to register tap inputs, while suggesting that even more complex gesture-based input options may be coming in the future.

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