The team at iFixIt has published their official teardown of Apple’s sixth-generation education-focused iPad. But while the tablet contains many of the same components built into Apple’s fifth-generation iPad from last year, iFixIt documented several intriguing (and some disappointing) disparities between them.
A ‘Repair Nightmare’
Noting the iPad’s combination of no inbuilt waterproofing, a non-replaceable charging port, and exhaustive use of adhesive glue throughout, iFixIt gave the sixth-generation iPad one of its lowest repairability scores ever — just 2 of out 10 — while chalking the tablet up to a “repair nightmare.”
“Apple’s ‘education’ iPad is still a case of won’t — not can’t,” the team said, pointing to other much more easily repairable tablets such as the HP Elite x2 1012 G1, which is considered a direct competitor to iPad in the education space.
“In the education space, Apple has some stiff competition in the form of low-cost, Google-powered laptops. How does this iPad […] stack up against a Chromebook from HP or Asus? Given that schoolkids can be a bit rough on their electronics,” iFixIt said, noting how “iPad’s glued-glass display is more vulnerable to drops.”
An Air-Gapped Advantage
Despite its incredibly low repairability score, iFixIt did point to one area where the sixth-generation iPad showed promise — how its digitizer panel is able to easily separate from the rest of the display glass. The team noted, particularly, how this configuration will make the device “easier to repair for schools and educators,” in the event that breakage manifests in either component.
“Thankfully, this is the one iPad that retains an air-gapped digitizer panel—not as visually impressive as other recent iPads, but it’s much cheaper to replace cracked glass that isn’t LOCA-bonded to the display panel underneath.”
A10 Fusion and ‘Pro-Grade’ Chips
Aside from Apple Pencil support, one of the main selling points of the company’s sixth-generation iPad is that it boasts a powerful A10 Fusion SoC, which, albeit slightly under-clocked, is still of the quad-core configuration and features the recent PowerVR Series7XT Plus hexa-core graphics.
Once the team made their way into the main logic board, it was discovered that Apple had baked in two of Broadcomm’s touch-screen controller chips — the same chips apparently found in Apple’s recent 10.5- and 12.9-inch iPad Pro models.
The iPad’s inclusion of Apple Pencil support, therefore, “Comes in part thanks to this Pro-grade chip” configuration, iFixIt theorized in their extensive write-up.
Lastly, iFixIt took an X-Ray of the new iPad using Creative Electron’s X-ray imaging software, which revealed how the tablet boasts the same 32.9 Wh battery of its predecessor. And, much like every iPad model since the original 12.9-inch iPad Pro, Apple essentially cemented the Li-ion sheet behind a “repair-impeding adhesive” — which ultimately reduced the unit’s repairability score despite its few aforementioned advantages.
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