IPad Teardown

Its been quite a while since we’ve featured something from iFixit. But when we saw they had torn apart the next greatest Apple product, the iPadreleased today, and how everyone on our team loves it, we thought why not also let our user base enjoy the destruction informative teardown as well.

In both the original and the FCC teardown, we see some awesome features and tricks Apple implemented. Most notably the two separate 3.75V lithium polymer cells, not soldered to the motherboard, allowing users to easily replace the battery if need be. However, in the opposite respect, more components than ever are being epoxied to the board, making the iPad much more rugged.

We’re left wondering, with everyone able to see the beautiful insides, does it change anyone’s mind on getting an iPad? Or would you rather make your own?

63 thoughts on “IPad Teardown

  1. I’m thinking about building a tablet with a Wacom Intous 4, you know, because I would like to have something useful for actual work. Digital Finger paint just doesn’t cut it.

  2. It’s a nice piece of kit, but I just don’t know what I’d do with it. I don’t need much between my jailbroken iPhone and laptop. Heck, I have a Kindle that I got as a gift that I hardly even touch.

  3. A lot the media has missed the bigger question of whether people will buy this beyond the Apple fanatics and people who need the latest thing.

    I compare this to the Segway. The media similarly hyped the **** out of it; it was extremely cool and innovative; and mostly people didn’t buy it.

  4. @Seth:
    You compare a vehicle that costs thousands of dollars and doesn’t do anything real useful, with a $500 tablet PC?
    I mean, the iPad may not be the holy grail, but any tablet pc is much more useful than that toy.

    I wouldn’t mind having a cheaper, Linux-friendly version of this.

  5. That point might be valid if the iPad was actually a tablet PC. It is quite a bit less than that, it is very literally a blown-up iPod Touch.

    Like was already said, that might be fine for the Apple devote or iPod fanatics, but not necessarily the general public.

  6. I would think the first hack will be to add inductive charging which it really should have so you just leave it on your coffee table.

    The iPad is too limited for me. I wish someone would make a thin client tablet so I could just RDP into my actual computer. I would imagine it could be made cheaply as it wouldn’t need much internal storage, processing power, windows licence? (maybe ce)…

  7. @icebrain

    You just argued against my point and then said you would buy an iPad if it was cheaper.

    That IS my point. Nobody needs an iPad for $500 on top of their laptops, phones, games devices and netbooks. Not for $500.

    You also said you would buy one if it was more useful (read: had Linux).

    That is again my point. Why would people buy an iPad if others start selling Linux and Windows tablets for $249. And they will.

  8. This isn’t a hack. It I want to see an iPad teardown, I’ll read Engadget or Macrumors (which I do). I come to Hack a day for the unique stuff– hacks that have been dug up from the internet somewhere. If it was an iPad hack, that would be fine, but anyone can take apart an ipad and post pictures and part numbers.

  9. I’m still debating in my head if tablet PCs will take off, if they do it won’t be an iPad I buy. Apple are just too DRM close it up and throw away the key type.

    I’d much rather get a device I can actually do what I want with it. I’m not even the modify change everything sorta type either x.x (way too lazy). But Apple are just too strict and I know I’ll run into some road block eventually when I want to do some small thing with what I’ve brought.

    Apples products are just too much of an interoperability nightmare and I’m really hoping they don’t catch on too much, lock in isn’t fun.

  10. “I’m still debating in my head if tablet PCs will take off”

    they haven’t in the last 20 years, would be my argument but neither did netbooks and now *everyone loves them

    flip a coin

  11. If you have spent hours on your ipod touch – then you can see the potential in the Ipad a giant I pod touch. I think for simple things such as showing pictures at a family gathering on an acceptable size screen with no wires and no mouse, keep a child quiet while at a resturant while watching a movie. An Ipod touch is quite usefull without a camera or a phone – and I expect the ipad to sell quite well even in this economy

  12. Regardless of the merits or otherwise of the blasted iPad, I loved this post. that someone would dare to dismantle any Apple product is impressive, and it is such a refreshingly different way to look at such a device. I love Hackaday, you guys are so out of left field the way you approach what you do.
    I have written a post on my eBook blog (www.ebookanoid.com)about this post as I was so taken with its approach to a device that otherwise I am trying to ignore (hard to do given the Tidal Wave of blurbs and such like that is engulfing us currently – it is almost as if the Second Coming has occurred!)

  13. yeah, i don’t really come here to see teardowns that are covered by the mass online media or to talk about the ipad or hear other people’s opinion of it. I work for a AASP and have spent weeks since the announcement having hundreds upon hundreds of people talk at me, or ask me about this product and my response has been. ‘I don’t know, i have not held one yet. Ask me when they are released.’

  14. Good post, even if it’s “not a hack”. Not every single post has to be a hack. It’s not like this post prevented a better entry from being posted.

    Regarding the iPad itself, the most I can muster is an enthusiastic “meh”. It seems like the iPad is meant to be a replacement for a normal computer, but it doesn’t have the functionality of a normal computer. Likewise, it can’t replace a phone – for obvious reasons. If you want to watch movies or surf the web on a moderately-large screen (compared to a phone), you’ll likely get a netbook or laptop. If you want the apps and whatnot, why not get the iPhone for superior mobility – or better yet, get the Nokia N900 and use your device the way you want?

    My projection: the iPad will be Apple’s Virtualboy – neat idea, poor execution.

  15. The iPad is almost interesting to me as a dedicated web browser and media center with a file-system interface for about $300.(IE an oversized Playstation Portable)

    It is not interesting to me as a dedicated web browser and media center for $500, no matter what kind of interface it has, and iTunes is a deal-breaker at any price. I can buy a netbook and a Bamboo Pen&Touch for about as much and build my own slate PC if it comes down to it, and it’ll still have a full OS, built-in camera, and built-in USB ports, none of which applies to the iTouch Magnum.

  16. A further comment from the ebookanoid. It is refreshing to read comments by people who know what they are talking about, and who have somehow managed to avoid becoming infected by the Apple Virus that appears to be making mumbling Zombies out of people who otherwise are perfectly reasonable beings.
    As has been pointed out by most of you, this is a machine that costs a small fortune, and apparently, apart from its box is actually much less than any other computer that has ever been put on the market by anyone… for a fraction of the price of this device.
    And yet, and yet…… It sold out within minutes of going on the market we are told.
    Come on you guys, here is a challenge for you from me…. Hack an iPad into something useful, and then post your work here for me, and the rest of us to admire…….
    And if you can hack it into a really usable eReader, then I will certainly write a post about it for my Blog, with real pleasure!

  17. @ Tony Cole Totally agree, whatever peoples issues with the ipad its here and its possible of so many more things than just box fresh! The original iphone release saw only a handful of apple apps and people saw the potential of the device, hacking the shit out of it, I can see some really useful remote desktop, or even lemur style apps for it. TouchOSC at Hexlar.net is porting a version for the ipad, just that application alone is enough for me to want to buy one. HACK IT!!!

    Apple seems to get everyone in a huff! People where very frustrated that the ipad was not as full featured as THEY wanted it to be! What did you expect? All this bitching about it makes me think that people love apple products so much that they all feel that they have somesort of ownership over it then project feelings of negativity. You can please some of the people all of the time and all of the people some of the time.

  18. I’m not entirely sure why I read this post… I’m the sort of person who despises apple, least of all because of their proprietary, restrictive nature.

    I obviously won’t be buying one. Viva la Android/Linux/GNU.

  19. Good grief, Quote “we see some awesome features and tricks Apple implemented. Most notably the two separate 3.75V lithium polymer cells, not soldered to the motherboard, allowing users to easily replace the battery if need be”

    The most notable thing from the teardown was user replaceable batteries, highly innovative, give it a year and jobby will claim that replaceable batteries are a crapple idea and we should be grateful that he can still breathe to tell us.

    Engadget have a nice feature where you can view their site without ever having to see an apple product.


  20. The iPad will sell well because so many people are too ignorant or afraid to really understand technology. They just want to sit on their butts and watch youtube, so this will be right up their ally. It just bugs me that it’s being hyped as more than it really is. It’s a media consumption device. That is all.

  21. I’ve been playing with my iPad since the UPS guy delivered it yesterday so I have a few observations.

    The iPad will not have me giving up my Windoes/Linux PC/laptop/netbook. There is too much stuff I can do on those that I can’t do on an iPad. However, their use will probably begin to be limited to times I know I’ll have a place to set them up and use them comfortably.

    My laptop is too big to actually sit on a lap so that eliminates portability. Even my netbook is too bulky for comfortable use unless I can set it up on a table. The iPad gives me back that portability and the touch screen interface has it all over my mouse (God, I hate touch pads).

    So as it breaks down, I’ll be using the PC/laptop/netbook if I’m going on business or have significant work to do. The iPad will probably end up being used as a peripheral to support them (entertaining myself with portable music/video, taking notes, working on simple documents that I can later sync to the desktop, presentations to clients).

    I believe it’s ultimate acceptance will not be determined by how “pretty” it is or even it’s price. It will be determined by how well it integrates into people’s lives and to a large extent that will be determined by ease of use and the applications.

  22. “I mean ipad literally least capable computer on the marked in past 10 years”

    This is exactly why it will be a huge seller! The mistake that electronics companies have been making for years is that they give the average (l)user too many options. The brain of a laymen doesn’t work like our brains do. They see a ton of options, openness, and expandability and get confused and afraid instead of inspired. Apple makes devices people that don’t really “get it” and probably couldn’t grasp a technical concept if they wanted to. In short, they make stuff for non-hackers and morons.

  23. “Most notably the two separate 3.75V lithium polymer cells, not soldered to the motherboard, allowing users to easily replace the battery if need be.”
    WTF? 99.9% of electronic devices have batteries that can be swapped without voiding the warranty.

  24. Most people on this site are super geeked and feel the rest of us are morons. Well that’s all fine and dandy but the fact that most people have lives and don’t have the time to hack everything they get at Best-Buy. Apple puts out quality products that last a lot longer than most things Windows related. Yes, iPad is another ifad but they at least put the effort into merging cells/laptops into something that interests people. It’s not perfect but no company has put out the all-pad because of all the propriety legality crap. Yes, open-source is the future and hopefully all companies will see that eventually and market soft/hardware accordingly. But until then we all have to live with products that don’t live our own expectations. And YES I like Apple products they are reliable but would like to see open-source beat the odds.

  25. The iPad is an ebook reader with a bunch of extras. Basically, as Morphoyle said, a media consumption device. It is not for power users, or for people who want lots of options. It’s an appliance, and that’s fine. Stop bitching about linux not being on there, nobody in the real world wants to touch that piece of shit.

    Nerds are the worst.

  26. >Apple puts out quality products

    What the ones they shipped with pre-broken cases?
    The computers you have to take to the “genius bar” to be told “the logic board needs to be replaced”..

    >that last a lot longer than most things Windows

    WTF is a Windows thing? If you mean generic x86 hardware (Which desktop Apple machines are) from Dell etc.. well you can get well built machines from a number of vendors.

    >cells/laptops into something that
    >interests people.

    Do these things really interest people? I’m sitting here with a bunch of Apple gear, and I could give you some actual good points and actual bad points of each… but most people that buy Apple stuff can’t. “It’s better!” or “It’s easier to use!” or “It’s about the experience” seem to be the hard hitting reasons for buying Apple.

    >Yes, open-source is the future

    Large parts of OSX come from open source. In fact without opensource projects like GCC the whole computing landscape would be a very different place. Saying open source is the future totally ignores that fact that there would be no “now” without it.

  27. My friend said genius opinion about iPad: A single task computer ? hmm where do I stick my Punch Card in? oh Apple sell Punch card reader separately as an adapter right ?

  28. iFixIt – Not a single mention of ESD protection, ie wearing a grounded wrist strap.

    Also “use a metal spudger, some tabs may break off”.

    These guys sound like total n00bs, I would not trust them to change a battery in my watch let alone repair my iPad or other expensive electronics…

  29. @smoker_dave I haven’t had anything fry because of ESD since 1986. Things got better. I’ll still “touch ground myself” but the strap hasn’t been around for a long long time.

  30. You obviously haven’t worked in the industry since 1986 then brother. ESD is taken very seriously (£10,000 air de ionisers to remove charged particles from the air required for Motorola level 3 mobile phone service centres is just one example).

    It just depends how proffesional you want to be…

  31. @carbuncle
    “I’ll still “touch ground myself” but the strap hasn’t been around for a long long time.”

    tell this to expensive super low noise instrumental OpAmp which get fried thought antistatic bag just from unpacking postal box

  32. right cba to read up to find names and quotes but for all you people bitching about ‘nerds suck’ etc wtf are you doing on a site called ‘hackaday’ surely the name of the site gives away the sort of people that view it. Personally i am neither a nerd or a hacker but i respect those that are they can do stuff that boggles my mind, i mean seriously i can chip an xbox and thats about the limit of it but some of the stuff you see on here is amazing.
    Now the iPad as with every other apple device i will be boycotting this simply because of everything else apple produce, their products are summed up nicely in a three dead trolls scetch ‘next time your daddy says the computers ‘not working’, tell him its broken and send him out to get an iMac, its a computer especially designed for idiots… i mean mummys and daddys’

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