Cracking Open: Apple iPad 2012 (Wi-Fi + 4G Verizon)
March 16, 2012, 2:18pm PDT | Length: 00:04:36
Bill Detwiler cracks open the 2012 Apple iPad Wi-Fi + 4G. Inside, he uncovers lots of hardware upgrades and a 45Whr battery to power them all. For a detailed analysis of the teardown, check out my article and the gallery, Apple iPad 2012 Teardown: Amazing display, difficult to repair.
>> Bill Detwiler: From the outside, Apple's third generation iPad may look a lot like its predecessor, but it's what's on the inside that really counts. I'm Bill Detwiler, Head Technology Editor at CNET's sister site TechRepublic. And I'm going to crack open the 2012 Apple iPad.
The 2012 iPad's design and construction are nearly identical to that of the iPad 2. Unfortunately, this means the new tablet's case is just as difficult to open and reseal as the previous models. Now to begin, I used a hair dryer to loosen the adhesive which holds the front panel in place. I then used a series of plastic and metal tools to gently pry off the panel. Next, I removed the new retina display and disconnected the front panel from the motherboard. I then detached the visible connectors from the motherboard and removed the motherboard and connected cellular board. At this point I decided against removing any of the other components from the case. Most are either held in place with very strong adhesive or their connector cables are. Forcing them loose could damage them. And I want to put this iPad back together in working order. So the only thing left for me to do is remove the EMI-RFI shields from the motherboard. And with that, my teardown was complete. So what did I learn from cracking open the 2012 iPad? Well, as I said earlier, the new tablet is nearly identical to the iPad 2 in design and construction. It's the same width and height and thicker by less than a millimeter. This is nice, as it means, many iPad 2 accessories such as the smart cover will fit this year's model. On the inside, Apple kept the overall hardware layout the same but upgraded many of the components. The most significant of which is the new retina display. This 9.7 inch screen offers a resolution of 2048 by 1536 at 264 pixels per inch. This is four times the iPad 2's total number of pixels. And according to Apple, you won't be able to see the pixels when viewing the new iPad at a distance of about 15 inches. Now to run this new display, Apple beefed-up the tablet's GPU and RAM. From the evidence I've seen, the 2012 iPad's A5X system on a chip has a 1 Gigahertz Dual-Core CPU and a 200 Megahertz Quad-Core GPU. Now in comparison, the iPad 2's A5 system on a chip has a 1 Gigahertz Dual-Core CPU and a Dual-Core GPU. The 2012 iPad also has 1 Gig of RAM compared to the iPad 2's 512 Meg. Along with the upgraded graphics, the new iPad also has an improved 5-megapixel eyesite camera which can shoot 1080p video. And the unit supports AT and T and Verizon's 4G LTE networks on 4G models. Now to power all these new features, Apple gave the 2012 iPad a battery with significantly more capacity than the previous version, 43 watt hours compared to 25 watt hours. Given the new tablet's beefier hardware, battery life though remains about the same; 10 hours under normal use and 9 hours on 4G. On the downside, Apple didn't increase the iPad's storage capacity. The 2012 model comes in 16, 32 and 64 Gig versions. Also the tablet still has a single speaker, whereas, most other 10-inch tablets have two. Lastly, like the iPad 2, the new iPad is frustratingly difficult to work on. It should come as no surprise, but Apple doesn't really want you mucking about inside your iPad. As far as pricing, WiFi only iPads start at $499 and go up to $699. WiFi plus 4G models, add 130 bucks to the price. While there's nothing revolutionary about the new iPad, it's definitely a solid incremental update, and the retina display puts every other tablet to shame. Now to see more iPad teardown photos, check out my full cracking open gallery at TechRepublic.com/cracking open. For CNET and TechRepublic, I'm Bill Detwiler. And this has been a cracking open of the 2012 Apple iPad.