iPad 2: Don’t take it apart, or risk cracked glass

iFixit warns of teardown challenge, enlightens on iPad 2’s insides

Apple's iPad 2 tablet, which became available Friday, boasts a big battery, tiny speakers, an ample 512MB of RAM and a glass front that's tricky for tinkerers to take off.

That's the upshot from an initial teardown of the new Apple tablet by iFixit, which specializes in Apple product repair.

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IFixit warns that those who dare to peer into the insides of the iPad 2 on their own risk cracking the glass front panel, which is thinner than that from the original iPad (0.62 mm vs. 0.85 mm) and glued on rather than attached via tabs. A heat gun was needed by iFixit to disassemble the device.

Once inside, iFixit took a look at the iPad 2 battery, which Apple says offers 10 hours of life before recharging, just like the original (boasting 3 big Li-Ion cells). Here's what iFixit found: "A 3.8V, 25 Watt-hour unit. That's just a hair more than the original iPad's 24.8 Watt-hours, so any improved battery performance can be attributed to software and other hardware improvements."

The iFixit team also took a good look at the much discussed dual-core A5 processor: "The A5 processor has manufacture dates of late January and mid-February 2011. Production was clearly ramping up through the last minute. It looks like the A5 processor is the APL0498, replacing the A4/APL0398 seen in the iPad 1 and iPhones."

Other components that power the iPad 2:

* Toshiba TH58NVG7D2FLA89 16GB NAND Flash

* Broadcom BCM5973KFBGH Microcontroller

* Broadcom BCM5974 CKFBGH capacitative touchscreen controller

* Texas Instruments CD3240B0 11AZ4JT touchscreen line driver

* Broadcom BCM43291HKUBC Wi-Fi/Bluetooth/FM tuner combo chip

* S6T2MLC N33C50V Power Management IC

* ST Micro AGD8 2103 gyroscope

* ST Micro LIS331DLH accelerometer

Apple uses Phillips screws to hold most of the iPad 2 together, a welcome find for iFixit, which scolded Apple in January for an apparent "diabolical plan" to switch the screws on iPhone and other mobile products in an effort to keep users from messing with the innards.

Apple's speakers disappointed iFixit, which found a single speaker grate on the outside ("We're not fans of mono, but stereo will have to wait until iPad 3.") and said of the sound system inside: "The speakers are very small, almost as though they were added as an afterthought."

IFixit is still exploring the iPad 2's magnets, which work with the tablet's cover.

Overall, iFixit gave the iPad 2 a 4 out of 10 rating for "repairability," mainly due to the difficulty involved with taking off the front panel.

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