[iPad Teardown (2)] Inside More Like Mobile Phone Than PC

Apr 19, 2010
Nikkei Electronics Teardown Squad
The circuit part (the lower chassis)
The circuit part (the lower chassis)
[Click to enlarge image]
The display part (the upper chassis)
The display part (the upper chassis)
[Click to enlarge image]
The disassembled circuit part
The disassembled circuit part
[Click to enlarge image]
The disassembled display part
The disassembled display part
[Click to enlarge image]
A wireless chip appeared after removing the batteries.
A wireless chip appeared after removing the batteries.
[Click to enlarge image]
The back side of the iPad
The back side of the iPad
[Click to enlarge image]

Continued from [iPad Teardown (1)] Black Parts Command Attention

We pried open the chassis of the iPad. While being surprised at neatly arranged components, we continued the disassembly.

First, we removed the connector that connects the display part (the upper chassis) and the circuit part (the lower chassis) to separate the two parts. We divided into two groups to make up for lost time. Compared with the separation of the chassis, the operations that followed were smoothly done.

One of the engineer said that Apple began to select parts for the iPad about a year ago. The company lays weight on designing their products by themselves, and EMS (electronic manufacturing service) firms cannot put in a word.

Apple is particularly strict about delivery date and delivery method, not to mention price, he said. In other words, only the parts that meet high demands were employed for the iPad.

Most of the parts have customized specifications, which were formulated by Apple's "component engineers." Customized products cost more than standardized products. But, in case of large orders such as the company makes, it is possible to buy customized products at the prices equivalent to those of standardized products.

We lined up components on a desk. They were the main board, speaker, chip related to wireless connection, cable, LCD panel, touch panel, backlight unit composed of several films and LEDs and so forth. As rumor has it, many of the components, including chips, are products made by non-Japanese manufacturers. But the fact that some parts such as a narrow-pitch connector are made by Japanese firms relieved us a bit.

"Those components are more like parts for mobile phones than parts for PCs," said an engineer who was looking at the parts. When we placed the main board on the iPhone, its area was almost the same as that of the iPhone except for some protrusions. "I would like to tear down the next-generation iPhone and compare it with the main board of the iPad," an engineer said.

At that point, we had not yet removed the lithium polymer rechargeable batteries, which seemed to have been attached by using a strong double-faced tape or adhesive. But a sturdy engineer managed to take it off by sheer force while turning his face red.

After removing the batteries, we noticed that there was still a part in the place located right behind the Apple mark on the chassis. It turned out to be a wireless chip.

The lower chassis of the iPad is made of aluminum alloy, making it difficult to receive electric waves. That's why Apple made the apple-shaped hole and filled it with resin. This design well represents Apple's playful spirit.

We finished breaking down the iPad and proceeded to examine each part. When we measured the weights of all the parts, an unexpected one turned out to be the heaviest.