iPad Air teardown reveals different version of A7 chip, 1GB RAM, Stereo Speakers

BY Gautam Prabhu

Published 1 Nov 2013


Teardown experts at iFixit have managed to get their hands on the new iPad Air, which went on sale earlier today in several countries, and have done what every geek would love to do i.e. to crack open Apple’s new iPad to see what’s inside.

Here are some of the highlights from their teardown:

  • iFixit found the iPad Air was too difficult to repair, giving it a repairability score of 2, as the front panel is glued to the rest of the device. iFixit also found lots of adhesive has been used to hold everything in place making it the most difficult battery removal procedure they’ve seen in an iPad.
  • iPad Air comes with stereo speakers. We were expecting this ever since the original iPad mini came with stereo speakers.
  • iFixit reports that iPad Air’s 9.7-inch display is similar to the iPad 4, so the LCD remains separate from the front glass. However, iFixit hasn’t provided more details on how Apple has managed to reduce the thickness by 20%. The display used in iFixit’s iPad Air unit was made by LG.
  • It comes with  a 3.73 V, 32.9 WHr, two-cell, which is much smaller than iPad 4’s 43 WHr, three-cell battery. It must be noted that despite the smaller battery, iPad Air offers the same battery life as the previous iPad, thanks to the super efficient A7 chip.
  • iFixit has also discovered that iPad Air is powered by Apple APL5698 A7 Processor, which is different from the APL0698 processor used in the iPhone 5s.
  • iPad Air comes with 1GB LPDDR3 SDRAM instead of iPad 4’s 1GB LPDDR2 SDRAM. The LPDDR3 DRAM chips can shuffle information in and out 1,600 Mbps (compared to its 1,066 Mbps LPDDR2 predecessor), with up to 12.8 GB/s of bandwidth.
  • Here is the complete list of chips that has been used in the iPad Air:
    • 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—looks to be a Dialog Power Management IC, according to Chipworks
    • USI 339S0213 Wi-Fi Module
    • Apple 338S1116 Cirrus Audio Codec, also found in the iPhone 5c
    • Two Broadcom BCM5976C1KUB6G Touch Screen Controllers
    • Qualcomm M9616M 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
    • WTR1605L Transceiver Module
    • Qualcomm PM8018 PMIC

Here are some of the teardown photos:







iPad Air is 20% thinner, 28% lighter and has 24% less volume that the iPad 4, so I wasn’t surprised to find out that it is difficult to repair. However, to get some perspective, the iPad 4 also received a repairability score of 2 last year.

A lot of fuss has been made about the poor repairability scores of Apple products like the iPad, but it is one of the most obvious compromises if you want the device to thinner. Frankly, I am fine with that, and I don’t think a majority of the users really care as they don’t intend to repair their device.

[Via iFixit]