iFixit tears into iPad Mini, finds assembly a lot like iPod Touch

The site got an early shipment and examined the device as soon as it could. One of its initial findings is many parts in the device truly are mini -- including the battery and the screws.

Shara Tibken Former managing editor
Shara Tibken was a managing editor at CNET News, overseeing a team covering tech policy, EU tech, mobile and the digital divide. She previously covered mobile as a senior reporter at CNET and also wrote for Dow Jones Newswires and The Wall Street Journal. Shara is a native Midwesterner who still prefers "pop" over "soda."
Shara Tibken
2 min read
iFixit had to remove a metal plate to dig deeper into the iPad Mini. iFixit
iFixit got its hands on an early iPad Mini delivery, and it is quickly tearing down the device to examine the components and other features.

The site has found a lot of assembly similarities to the iPod Touch, particularly in how many screws and metal plates it has to remove to dig deeper in the gadget.

"All this prying and disconnecting is reminding us a lot of our recent iPod Touch teardown," iFixit said. "But remember, the Mini and the Touch are, in fact, different devices."

One big difference from the iPod Touch is the battery's installation. iFixit notes the iPad Mini "inherited the connector-fastened battery from its larger sibling, not the soldered-in battery found in the iPod Touch."

The battery itself is a little confusing to the site, though. Apple specifies the battery as 16.3Wh, but the teardown shows it could be 16.5Wh or 16.9Wh. But whatever the actual specifications, it's much smaller than the larger iPad's. The third-generation iPad sported a 43Wh battery, while the iPad 2 had a 25Wh battery.

Along with the small battery, screws in the tablet are also smaller than previous devices, including the iPhone 5.

Even the screws are mini in the new iPad Mini. A screw from the tablet (left) is next to an iPhone 5 screw. iFixit

Other findings include that the glass is easier to remove than in previous iPad teardowns. However, Apple has a couple hidden screws securing the display, and there's a large metal plate below the display that's held in place with about 16 screws.

iFixit notes it found similar plates in the fifth-generation iPod Touch and the iPhone 5, so it appears to be a new device design convention.

It also confirms that the Mini contains stereo speakers, one factor that outperforms the still-mono Retina iPad.

iFixit notes the iPad Mini "does well in the camera department." Most hardware closely matches the iPad 2, but the cameras in the Mini match those found in the Retina iPad.

And unlike the third-generation iPad's dock connector, the Mini's Lightning port is permanently fixed to the logic board. That design decision will make certain repairs very expensive, iFixit says.

As for the component suppliers exposed so far, there are some familiar names -- including Samsung. Apple has been trying to reduce its reliance on its rival, but iFixit finds Samsung is supplying the display for the iPad Mini. Another repeat supplier is Broadcom, as well as Fairchild Semiconductor. Hynix is another supplier.

The A5 processor also has the same amount of RAM -- 512 MB -- as the latest iPod Touch.

Ultimately, iFixit concludes the iPad Mini is pretty difficult to repair. It garners a ranking of 2 on a scale of 10 for repairability, with 10 being the easiest.

Updated at 11:40 a.m. PT with the final results from the teardown.