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Kyle Wiens writes:

DIYPad_badge.jpg

After flying to Richmond, Virginia and waiting in line all night to buy an iPad, we rushed our precious cargo to an impromptu studio. And took it apart. To our surprise, we found a number of differences between our unit and the FCC review unit that we examined yesterday.

The iPad’s design is a melding of the iPhone’s circuitry and the MacBook Pro Unibody’s svelte machined aluminum casing.

Our findings:

The iPad’s battery has 5.5x the capacity of the battery in the iPhone! The iPad actually has two batteries wired in parallel, for a total of 24.8 Watt-hours.

On average, the iPad sips just 2.5 Watts. That’s 1/5 the power of a compact fluorescent bulb!

The rear case is machined from a single billet of aluminum, increasing weight but greatly improving the rigidity of the device.

The empty void in the upper right corner is where the cellular communications board would go in the 3G iPad.

The A4 is a Package-on-Package (PoP), with at least three layers of circuitry layered on top of each other. A4 is packaged just like the iPhone processors, microprocessor in one package and two memory modules in the other package. They’re all sandwiched together in a very nice and thin PoP.

The iPad RAM is INSIDE the A4 processor package. Confirming this took quite a bit of sleuthing: we had to partner with Chipworks to X-ray the processor. The X-ray revealed two layers of RAM. In addition to the ARM processor, the A4 package contains two stacked Samsung dies.

We will be releasing a detailed analysis of the A4 in conjunction with Chipworks in a few days.

The rumored slot for a camera is actually taken up by the ambient light sensor.

The glass panel is quite thick: about 1.18 mm, compared to the iPhone’s 1.02 mm thick glass. This is necessitated by the panel’s large size.

The touch circuit design is more similar to the old 2G and early 3G iPhones than the current 3GS. Chipworks informed us that “there is so much room in the iPad that Apple didn’t need to use small chips, just the right ones and cheap ones.”

Image links:

Layout photo
Opening the iPad
Two halves
Removing the supposedly non-removable battery
Main board (with A4)
Ambient light sensor instead of camera

iFixIt iPad Teardown

More:

Gareth Branwyn

Gareth Branwyn is a freelancer writer and the former Editorial Director of Maker Media. He is the author or editor of a dozen books on technology, DIY, and geek culture, including the first book about the web (Mosaic Quick Tour) and the Absolute Beginner’s Guide to Building Robots. He is currently working on a best-of collection of his writing, called Borg Like Me.


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