Teardown Concludes New iPad Pro Is an ‘Incremental Upgrade,’ Just as Hard to Repair

iFixit 2020 iPad Pro Teardown. Credit: iFixit
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Repair site iFixit has just shared its initial video teardown of the new 2020 iPad Pro, giving us a pretty cool look at the new LiDAR Scanner, but otherwise concluding that not much else has changed from the 2018 iPad Pro.

While iFixit has yet to publish their in-depth teardown article, an initial at-home video teardown allowed them to demonstrate the procedure as well as sharing some of their most important discoveries. What the teardown did conclude is that from a physical design perspective, the new iPad Pro remains virtually identical to the 2018 iPad Pro, both inside and outside, with the only major differences being the new camera array, which features dual wide and ultra-wide cameras along with the LiDAR Scanner, along with the new A12Z chip inside.

iFixit adds that the iPad Pro has “always been a pain to take apart” and the 2020 model hasn’t changed at all in this regard, although that at least meant that they weren’t met with any surprises and were able to use the same techniques to get into the new model as well.

We’re met with a puzzle, but it’s actually the same puzzle we found in the 2018 iPad Pro.

Relatively speaking, removing the camera assembly was easier than getting at the battery, and showed a single big assembly that includes the 12MP wide camera, 10MP ultra-wide camera, and new LiDAR Scanner.

However, in addition to showing us the module, iFixit used an infrared camera to demonstrate exactly how the new LiDAR Scanner works, by overlaying a grid of invisible lasers to measure the distances to various objects.

What’s particularly interesting, although not surprising, is that the iPad Pro LiDAR sensor doesn’t use nearly as many projections as the True Depth Face ID camera, which explains where there are still some limitations to the AR capabilities of the new iPad Pro.

Fewer points of light means less information which explains why the AR capabilities of the iPad Pro still aren’t perfect when it comes to occlusion and detecting narrow surfaces.

However, as iFixit notes this makes sense as it doesn’t need the same degree of accuracy as Face ID. The LiDAR Scanner is designed to identify placement of larger objects in a room, while Face ID needs to create a much more detailed map of somebody’s face in order to identify them.

Despite the big change to the rear camera, the front-facing True Depth remains identical to the one on the 2018 iPad Pro, which iFixit describes as “the same basic hardware we’ve seen since the iPhone X” slightly modified to fit into the iPad Pro, while noting that it’s identical to the one found in the 2018 iPad Pro.

iFixit also praised the fact that the USB-C port is still modular, which makes it easier to replace should it become damaged due to things like cable strain or liquid. Beyond that, however, everything else was glued into place just like it was in the previous iPad Pro.

From here on out it’s glue and booby traps, starting with the logic board.

This is especially troublesome as it means that battery replacement isn’t something that’s easily accomplished. The logic board first has to be carefully removed before you can access the battery, and there’s a lot of glue in the way of doing that.

Once iFixit got down to the battery it noted that it has the same 36.59Wh capacity as the 2018 iPad Pro, which we already knew from Apple’s specs. This was for the 12.9-inch iPad Pro, however, and it’s worth noting that the 11-inch iPad Pro actually has a very slightly smaller battery in terms of capacity, although not enough that we imagine anybody will notice.

The logic board also naturally features the new A12Z chip CPU and 6GB of RAM, although iFixit made no mention of the U1 chip that’s supposed to be there. However, this was also a fairly quick video teardown, so we may hear more on that later when they publish their usual in-depth analysis of all of the chips.

In the end, iFixit confirmed that it was “definitely an incremental update” to the iPad Pro, since the only real new worthwhile feature is the new camera array.

While iPad users will enjoy more RAM and a fancy new LiDAR camera, iPad fixers are stuck with pretty abysmal repair procedures.

Not surprisingly, since nothing has changed, iFixit deemed it to be a 3 out of 10 on the repairability scale, with about the only shining light being the modular USB-C port, although even that isn’t easily user-accessible, it’s at least replaceable rather than being soldered in.

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