[iPad Teardown (3)] Heavy Glass Makes Tough Body

Apr 21, 2010
Nikkei Electronics Teardown Squad

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

The weight of the iPad we purchased is 680g. It is lighter than a notebook PC, but many of us felt it is heavy mainly for the following two reasons.

First, it is necessary to keep holding the iPad right in front of our eyes. For example, women have an enough gripping power for a 100g mobile phone but not for the iPad. They like to use it on their thighs.

However, it was fun to watch video or use applications software while holding the iPad by hands or thighs. It is something that we cannot experience with a PC. When I am using a PC, it is like controlling something outside of me. The iPad does not give me such a feeling.

The second reason is that the iPad does not have a part that can be easily held. In fact, many of those who felt the iPad is heavy said, "I'm afraid of dropping the iPad and breaking the glass."

"If a grip is attached (to the lower chassis made of aluminum alloy), it would make the iPad uncool," an engineer said. "Steve Jobs will never permit that."

Japanese manufacturers would add a grip, but Apple probably did not allow it for design reasons.

Then, what will happen if the iPad is dropped on the floor? Well, we actually did it and found that the iPad is pretty strong. It does not break at all when we dropped it from a desk onto a thin rug and when we put our weight on it. One of my colleagues told me that the durability of glass used for mobile devices has been increasing in recent years.

However, the more the durability, the heavier the glass. Of all the parts of the iPad, the upper chassis (a glass plate attached with a touch panel) is the heaviest. Before we broke down the iPad, the engineers expected that the rechargeable battery module is the heaviest part.

[Click to enlarge image]