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Apple's newest iPad makes drop damage repairs cheaper

The cover glass is easier to replace, but the iFixit team still gives the school-oriented device a low repairability score, mostly due to the superstrong adhesive found in all iPads.


The new iPad, disassembled.


Apple's new 9.7-inch iPad, which was unveiled at an education-focused event in Chicago last week, looks much like its 2017 predecessor in outward appearance, features and price. But a teardown by the iFixit team published Tuesday reveals they also share some similarities on the inside, with one notable exception.

Unlike other iPads, the newest device features "air-gapped, separately replaceable cover glass and LCD," making it much cheaper to replace cracked glass, the iFixit team found. That could be good news for schools that let the devices be used by butter-fingered kids. 

That said, iFixit still gave the new iPad a "repairability" score of 2 out of 10, with 10 being easiest to repair. That's pretty low for a device that aims to compete with Google's Chromebooks, which are popular with students thanks in part to their low cost.

The biggest hindrance to repairs in the new iPad, as is the case with prior models, is the superstrong adhesive throughout. The LCD also has foam sticky tape attaching it to the front panel, which increases the risk of damage when disassembling the iPad.

The new iPad features the same NXP 8461A1 Touch ID chip found inside the last iPad model, as well as the same battery. The battery is particularly challenging to remove, as with the prior model, thanks, once again, to the adhesive.

What distinguishes the new 9.7-inch iPad from its predecessor is that its logic board includes the same 2x Broadcom BCM15900B0 touchscreen controller found in the 10.5"  and 12.9" iPad Pro, which likely allows for its support of the Apple Pencil stylus, iFixit found. The logic board also has an Apple A10 Fusion APL1W24 SoC, which is also found in the iPhone 7.

Check out the full teardown below.