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New iPad Pro 9.7's sticky innards mean tricky repairs

"Gobs" of adhesive hold components in place and make navigation inside the new iPad a challenge, according to iFixit.

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The iPad Pro 9.7 isn't a tablet you'd want to take apart.

iFixit

You'll probably never choose to take apart your 9.7-inch iPad Pro , after learning about the obstacles encountered by the folks at iFixit.

Released this past weekend, the new $599 iPad Pro is similar in features to its 12.9-inch cousin except for the 9.7-inch screen size used in the regular iPad lineup. Sales of the larger $799 iPad Pro have been weak since its release last fall, so Apple is hoping a smaller, less expensive version might kickstart consumer demand. However, one unfortunate similarity exists between the two iPad Pro tablets. Both are assembled in a way that makes it difficult to remove components.

If a hardware problem pops up, most iPad owners wouldn't tear apart their device themselves, instead relying on the vendor or a repair shop to do the difficult work. But the repairability of a tech product is important because it reveals how well the manufacturer assembled the parts and how expensive the device may be to fix when it's no longer under warranty.

Embarking on its usual teardown treatment, the iFixit team discovered "gobs" of glue connecting the innards of the iPad Pro 9.7, which creates a sticky situation for anyone who needs to remove a part for repair or replacement.

To start, the front panel had to be taken off its "gluey frame," iFixit said in its teardown published Monday. The upper speakers are "fiercely" glued in as well as screwed in, according to iFixit. Antenna interconnect boards are connected with dabs of glue. And the battery's removal proved to be a sticky matter as well.

The final verdict: The iPad Pro 9.7 takes home a repairability score of 2 out 10 (10 being the easiest to repair). The fused front panel makes screen repair expensive and potentially damaging to the LCD, while the "gobs of adhesive hold everything in place, making all repairs more difficult," iFixit said.