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Teardown of iPad Air Reveals A7 Chip, LG Display, Qualcomm LTE Modem

iFixit has performed another one of its traditional high-quality teardowns on the iPad Air. The new iPad is dramatically thinner and lighter compared to the previous models, and also sports a 64-bit A7 chip, an M7 motion compressor, and a Qualcomm MDM9615 LTE modem. Among the details revealed in the teardown:

- The display appears to be manufactured by LG. The Korean company along with Sharp and Samsung are expected to be the primary manufacturers of displays for the iPad Air. But while supplies of the iPad Air are plentiful, LG and Sharp are said to be struggling with low yields of displays for the Retina iPad mini also due for launch this month, with Apple turning to Samsung for help.

- The A7 chip found in the device has a part number of APL5698, which differs than the APL0698 chip found in the iPhone 5s. The processor in the iPad Air is likely the 1.4GHz variant which was discovered in benchmark results earlier this week, and is 100MHz faster when compared to the 1.3GHz variant found in the iPhone 5s. The Apple M7 "motion coprocessor" also makes an appearance in the logic board, with a part number of NXP LPC18A1.

ipad_airlogicboard2
- 1GB of Elpida DDR3 SDRAM is found within the device but is now housed on one chip, compared to the two Elpida chips that housed the RAM on the fourth-generation iPad.

- The iPad Air now sports a 32.9 Whr two-cell battery, which is smaller than the 43Whr three-cell battery found in the fourth-generation iPad. However, it appears that the same ten-hour battery life from the last generation has been preserved on the new device.

ipadair_battery2

- As expected, the device contains essentially the same rear 5-megapixel iSight camera found in the previous generation, although with a shorter focal length. The front FaceTime HD camera remains at 1.2 megapixels for 720p quality, but with an improved sensor.

ipad_aircamera2
- Dual microphones are now found on the top edge of the device for noise cancelling capabilities, and are joined by other minor changes including separated volume buttons on the side and stereo speakers on the bottom of the device like that of the original iPad mini.

- Two antennae sporting multiple-input and multiple-output (MIMO) technology are now included in the iPad Air, with Wi-Fi performance reportedly twice as fast when compared to previous iPads.

ipadair_torndown
- The device now contains a modular nano-SIM tray for cellular connectivity, changed from the micro-SIM tray found in the previous generation.

- Two Broadcom BCM5976C1KUB6G Touch Screen Controllers are now included in the iPad Air, which is similar to the BCM5976A0KUB2G trackpad controller found in current and previous MacBooks.

As is tradition for iFixit's teardowns, the company has assigned a repairability score to the iPad Air based on the accessibility of the various components. The firm rates the iPad Air's repairability at just 2 out of 10, with positive points for easy LCD accessibility and a non-soldered battery, but the sheer amount of glue and other adhesives used to hold the device together makes repair extremely difficult.

Related roundup: iPad Air

Top Rated Comments

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10 months ago
Don't worry iFixit, if you keep opening enough iPads you'll eventually find that Golden Ticket.
Rating: 16 Votes
10 months ago

it's been two hours with my air and i'm loving it so far! battery seems great and the screen looks just as sharp as the previous gens. However even with a clean install my photo app has crashed a few times after syncing 24,000 photos.


It's trying to tell you, you'll never look at 24,000 photos. ;)
Rating: 14 Votes
10 months ago
But why couldn't they just put 2GB RAM inside...

edit: doesn't matter, bought one anyway :)
Rating: 12 Votes
10 months ago

wow... you guys have discovered a huge secret! Now that's a scope.


Scoop?
Rating: 6 Votes
10 months ago

Repairability score a 2?!!! If I can't fix it or upgrade it myself than no sale!:rolleyes:


Replaceability score of 10/10 if you have AppleCare ;)
Rating: 5 Votes
10 months ago

I know right, they make it seem as if "Teardown of iPad Air reveals cure for cancer and puppies" ;)


Why would you want a cure for puppies? :p
Rating: 5 Votes
10 months ago

More ram, please. I don't know why they don't go higher especially with these faster chips and apps like the new GB that are supposed to do 32 tracks. Heck, it would get used even for keeping more safari tabs open without having to reload. Additional cost would be barely anything, I just don't get it.


Moreover, since new iPad (and iPhone) switched to 64-bit architecture this means that apps will now use more memory. And this means that new devices actually have less memory for storing actual data than the previous one. Switch to 64-bit architecture without increasing RAM size can be only explained by greed.
Rating: 5 Votes
10 months ago
wow... you guys have discovered a huge secret! Now that's a scope.
Rating: 4 Votes
10 months ago
More ram, please. I don't know why they don't go higher especially with these faster chips and apps like the new GB that are supposed to do 32 tracks. Heck, it would get used even for keeping more safari tabs open without having to reload. Additional cost would be barely anything, I just don't get it.
Rating: 4 Votes
10 months ago

Looks like Apple went all out for light weight as a "feature" here- probably why we didn't see an A7X- it would've had to go in a case with a battery as heavy as the 4th gen iPad.


I thought the "X" chips were just the regular chip (A5, A6) with an added graphics processor to push the extra pixels of the larger screen. I think the A7 has gotten to the point where it can handle the extra pixels on its own and no longer requiring an extra graphics processor. I don't think we'll ever see another "X" chip unless some change occurs where the stock chip can no longer handle the requirements of the display. I just think the technology is now there where it is no longer required.
Rating: 4 Votes

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