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iPad Air Take Apart Guide | iPad Repair Minnesota

iPad Air Take Apart Guide

Step 1  iPad Air LTE Teardown 

  • Eerie dimensional changes are afoot: the Air is 20% thinner, 28% lighter, and 24% reduced in volume from the 4th-gen iPad. And there are more good scares lurking under its otherworldly skin:

    • 9.7-inch, in-plane-switching LCD with 2,048 x 1,536 resolution at 264 ppi

    • Dual-core A7 CPU with 64-bit architecture

    • M7 motion-tracking coprocessor

    • 5-megapixel rear iSight camera capable of recording 1080p video; 1.2-megapixel 720p front-facing camera

    • 802.11n dual-antenna MIMO Wi-Fi

    • Support for 14 LTE bands, DC-HSPA+, UMTS, GSM/EDGE, CDMA, and EVDO

    • 16, 32, 64, or 128 GB storage

Step 2

  • This is basically how we take apart iPads.

Image 1/2: New iPad, new model number: This iPad Air can be identified by the model number A1475.

Step 3

  • There doesn’t seem to be a bewitching levitation feature on this tablet, despite the picture on the box.

  • New iPad, new model number: This iPad Air can be identified by the model number A1475.

  • It’s been many a full moon since the Salem witch trials of the 1690s, but sneaking into this tightly-built device is going to be nothing short of witchcraft.

Image 1/3: The top edge now sports a dual mic; never again will you be [http://cdn.hsmemes.com/2012/4/7/c24212460c432423b2ed5360e03bf8c1.jpg|haunted|new_window=true] by background noise.

Step 4

  • Lightning Port? Check. Speaker grilles? Check. Camera? Check. Buttons? All the hallmarks of a jack-o-lantern tablet are in place.

    • The top edge now sports a dual mic; never again will you be haunted by background noise.

    • Volume is now adjusted by two separate buttons, a minor revision from the rocker switch on the previous full-size iPad.

    • The speakers have gone stereo and moved to either side of the Lightning connector, à la iPad Mini. It didn’t bring a costume, but this bro can morph.

Image 1/3: As usual, Apple has secured the digitizer glass in place with more than ample amounts of adhesive.

Step 5

  • Trick or treat? How about we pull out our little bag of tricks and treat this iPad to some iOpening?

  • As usual, Apple has secured the digitizer glass in place with more than ample amounts of adhesive.

  • Getting into this iPad is a bigger pain in the neck than a date with a vampire—but no amount of iPad blood can spook our stalwart iOpener.

Image 1/3: ''A twenty-cent coin! They don't have those in the U.S.!''

Step 6

  • Pop pop! Oh the glorious sound of an iPad popping open, with a mysterious coin for mysterious scale.

  • A twenty-cent coin! They don’t have those in the U.S.!

    • You’re right, astute teardown reader! That is, in fact, an Australian coin. If you hadn’t noticed, this whole teardown has been upside-down, courtesy of our favorite minion Walter, who survived the arduous trek down under.

  • Alright, enough clowning around! It’s time to open this iPad up (like a book of scary stories).

Image 1/3: Little screws can drive you batty, but lucky for us, we've got our magic ~~wands~~ [product|IF145-239|screwdrivers].

Step 7

  • Double, double, boil and brew, with a witch’s cackle we remove that screw.

  • Little screws can drive you batty, but lucky for us, we’ve got our magic wands screwdrivers.

  • Eye of newt and toe of frog, this LCD’s connected—but not for long.

Image 1/2: The Air's 3.73 V, 32.9 WHr, two-cell power plant is decidedly less monstrous than the previous iPad's 43 WHr, three-cell behemoth.

Step 8

  • The curtains go up, and it’s a monster (battery) mash:

    • The Air’s 3.73 V, 32.9 WHr, two-cell power plant is decidedly less monstrous than the previous iPad’s 43 WHr, three-cell behemoth.

  • Despite the iPad’s skeletal slim-down Apple claims that, due to an increase in efficiency, you can still watch the Great Pumpkin at least 20 times in a row.

  • Ogle all you want, but this battery isn’t coming out…yet.

Image 1/3: Our display, model LP097QX2, was supplied by LG.

Step 9

  • The 9.7″ display’s specs remain unchanged from the iPad’s previous outing, but Apple claims an uncanny 20% reduction in panel thickness.

    • Our display, model LP097QX2, was supplied by LG.

  • The LCD remains separate from the front panel glass. Is there a spirit of repairability lurking in this otherwise dauntingly difficult device?

Image 1/2: Although unidentified, it shows more design consideration than [http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-LRZLrC94-tg/Te2bk5VIFSI/AAAAAAAAMiM/Npqbbx1bXaA/s1600/Frankenstein_Junior_scena_4.JPG|Dr. Frankenstein].

Step 10

  • What looks like a ZIF, and quacks like a ZIF, but isn’t quite a ZIF connector? We don’t know, but that’s what we’ve got on our hands with this home button ribbon cable.

  • Although unidentified, it shows more design consideration than Dr. Frankenstein.

  • Speaking of Frankenstein, we’ve noticed a bit of the good doctor’s methodology in the Air. It seems like Apple took an iPad Mini and transmogrified it to a regular iPad’s size.

Image 1/2: Despite the new cable dressing up this home button, Apple's Touch ID fingerprint sensor is nowhere to be found; it remains exclusive to the [guide|17383|iPhone 5s|stepid=52337]…for now.

Step 11

  • Is it a window to the underworld or a digitizer/front glass assembly? Probably the latter, but we’re not taking any chances; we set it gingerly aside.

  • Despite the new cable dressing up this home button, Apple’s Touch ID fingerprint sensor is nowhere to be found; it remains exclusive to the iPhone 5s…for now.

Image 1/1: We're hoping that this trend won't stand the [http://xkcd.com/656/|test of time], and that glued-in batteries will become phantoms of the past.

Step 12

  • For the second time tonight, we pull out our iOpener for some crazy glue-busting action.

  • We’re hoping that this trend won’t stand the test of time, and that glued-in batteries will become phantoms of the past.

  • In the meantime, it’s nuke, heat, scrape, repeat.

Image 1/3: What is this devilry? The battery is pinned by some form of dark magic—or maybe a stray screw?

Step 13

  • Grab your grave-robbing shovels plastic cards, ’cause it’s time to exhume this sucker—er, battery.

  • What is this devilry? The battery is pinned by some form of dark magic—or maybe a stray screw?

  • Stateside, we get this one, last, coherent message before strings of expletives:

    • [7:29:22] Walter Galan: It’s the worst battery ever.

  • Not even removing this mysterious screw helps. It’s almost enough to make us cry for our mummy!

Image 1/3: Yesteryear's micro-SIM has given way to this year's nano-SIM. Next year: pico-SIMs?

Step 14

  • We employ a little black magic spudger to extract the SIM card tray.

    • Yesteryear’s micro-SIM has given way to this year’s nano-SIM. Next year: pico-SIMs?

  • And while it is glued in (boo), we are happy to see it as a modular component, separate from the logic board.

    • We’ll call this a repairability-neutral finding.

Image 1/2: Spring contacts on the logic board clamp down on the corresponding tab on the battery, effectively trapping it and complicating any future repair.

Step 15

  • We resume the quest to liberate the battery, and under the logic board we find the culprit in the curious case of the trapped time bomb (commonly known as a battery).

  • Spring contacts on the logic board clamp down on the corresponding tab on the battery, effectively trapping it and complicating any future repair.

  • This battery is super frustrating; we’re not Li-ion.

Image 1/3: In the process, the battery warps to a state resembling the Grimm Reaper's scythe.

Step 16

  • This battery creaks worse than the door to a haunted mansion as we ease it out of the case.

  • In the process, the battery warps to a state resembling the Grimm Reaper’s scythe.

  • Warped batteries scare the living daylights out of us. Bad things happen when batteries get punctured.

Image 1/3: Apple APL5698 A7 Processor—a slightly different version from the APL0698 in the [guide|17383|iPhone 5s|stepid=52346]

EditStep 17

  • We leave the boring backside in favor of the green PCB fields of the front. Planted in this logic board patch are:

  • Apple APL5698 A7 Processor—a slightly different version from the APL0698 in the iPhone 5s

  • Elpida F8164A1MD 1 GB LPDDR3 SDRAM

  • Toshiba THGBX2G7B2JLA01 16 GB NAND Flash

  • NXP LPC18A1 (Apple M7 Motion Co-Processor)

  • Apple 343S0655-A1—from our friends at Chipworks, this looks to be a Dialog Power Management IC

  • USI 339S0213 Wi-Fi Module

  • Apple 338S1116 Cirrus Audio Codec, also found in the iPhone 5c

Image 1/3: ...Reveals a pair of Broadcom BCM5976C1KUB6G Touch Screen Controllers, similar to the [https://chipworks.secure.force.com/catalog/ProductDetails?sku=BRO-BCM5976A0KUB2G&viewState=DetailView&cartID=&g=&parentCategory=&navigationStr=CatalogSearchInc&searchText=BCM5976|BCM5976A0KUB2G] found in the trackpads of various MacBooks.

Step 18

  • A quick peek under a sneaky EMI shield near the USI Wi-Fi module…

  • …Reveals a pair of Broadcom BCM5976C1KUB6G Touch Screen Controllers, similar to the BCM5976A0KUB2G found in the trackpads of various MacBooks.

  • While we’re in the thick of chip identification, we want to send a big shoutout of thanks to our friends at Chipworks, who stayed up late tonight to help us pick out all the teeny tiny components.

Image 1/2: Qualcomm [https://chipworks.secure.force.com/catalog/ProductDetails?sku=QUA-MDM9615M&viewState=DetailView&cartID=&g=/|M9615M] LTE Processor with 1 Gb (128 MB) of DRAM

Step 19

  • It wouldn’t be an oversized iPhone without the phone parts—this end of the logic board sports all of the RF components.

  • Qualcomm M9615M LTE Processor with 1 Gb (128 MB) of DRAM

  • TriQuint TQF6514 RF Power Amplifier Module—similar to the 6414 in the iPhone 5s

  • Three Skyworks SKY77-series LTE RF Power Amplifier/Duplexer Modules

  • Two Avago A79-series LTE RF Power Amplifier/Duplexer Modules

  • 227 LG—likely a Murata Antenna Switch/Filter Module

  • Qualcomm WTR1605LLTE/HSPA+/CDMA/EDGE/GPS Transceiver

  • Qualcomm PM8018 PMIC

Image 1/2: Before the thunder even rolls, the Lightning port is gone.

Step 20

  • Just when we think there’s no hope for this werewolf of a device, it shows its human face. Finally, a modular part: the Lightning connector. (Not that it was easy to get to.)

  • Before the thunder even rolls, the Lightning port is gone.

  • On a roll of our own, we remove what appear to be the Wi-Fi and Bluetooth antennas from the rear case.

    • With two antennas and the use of MIMO technology, iPad touts twice the Wi-Fi performance of past models.

Image 1/3: Ho, hum: The 1.2-megapixel, 720p FaceTime camera fails to send any shivers down our spine.

Step 21

  • For our next trick, we magic away the front-facing camera. You’ll have to take your costume pics the old fashioned way.

  • Ho, hum: The 1.2-megapixel, 720p FaceTime camera fails to send any shivers down our spine.

Image 1/3: [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v2K4wJ8EmZ0|What's this?] We carve the headphone [http://fc06.deviantart.net/fs12/i/2006/303/3/0/Jack_Skellington_pumpkin_by_cinderspritzer.jpg|jack(-o-lantern)] out.

Step 22

  • More fun-sized treats:

    • What’s this? We carve the headphone jack(-o-lantern) out.

    • Catch these cell antennas while you can—you won’t find them in the strictly Wi-Fi version. They’re a huge phone exclusive.

    • A quick 180º, and the speakers become our next victim. Shrouded in mystery, Apple calls these speakers “built-in,” opting to leave the maker unspecified.

Image 1/3: Sticking our spudger in for a dunk, we come up with another camera. This time it is the 5MP rear-facing camera.

Step 23

  • We’re bobbing for apples!

  • Sticking our spudger in for a dunk, we come up with another camera. This time it is the 5MP rear-facing camera.

Image 1/2: The LCD is easy to remove once the front panel is taken off the iPad.

Step 24

  • iPad Air Repairability Score: 2 out of 10 (10 is easiest to repair)

  • The LCD is easy to remove once the front panel is taken off the iPad.

  • The battery is not soldered to the logic board. We’ll give it that.

  • Just like in previous iPads, the front panel is glued to the rest of the device, greatly increasing the chances of cracking the glass during a repair.

  • Gobs, gobs, and goblins of adhesive hold everything in place. This is the most difficult battery removal procedure we’ve seen in an iPad.

  • The LCD has foam sticky tape adhering it to the front panel, increasing chances of it being shattered during disassembly.

  • You can’t access the front panel’s connector until you remove the LCD.