Cracking Open: Apple iPad AirBill Detwiler shows you how to crack open the iPad air and gives you a tour of the redesigned interior.
The iPad Air is the finished and the lightest version of Apple's full-sized tablet. It also has a faster processor, better front-facing camera and as I'll show you today, a completely flip-flopped internal hardware layout. I'm Bill Detwiler and this is Cracking Open. The 2013 iPad Air is thinner, narrower and slightly shorter than the iPad 4. It also weighs nearly half a pound less. Apple didn't upgrade the Air's retina display, rear-facing camera, 802.11 and Wi-Fi or the home button. No touch ID sensor here. But they did give it, a company's new 64bit A7 processor there are M7 Motion Co-processor and upgraded FaceTime HD camera and a new battery. They also redesigned the internal hardware layout which changes slightly how you crack open the air compared the previous iPads. So let's get to it. To begin opening the air, I use the heat gun set on low to loosen the adhesive the holds the front panel to the aluminum case. Then, starting from the lower left corner, I used the series of thin tools to gently pry the panel off. Be very careful around the lower right corner and along the right edge. There are several thin ribbon cables here that connect the front panel to the motherboard. Now I won't be able to completely remove the panel so I take out the display so I'll fold it over face down for now. And next to come out are the screws that hold the LCD in place and then the display itself. I can now disconnect the front panel from the motherboard and give us our first an obstructed view of the devices internal hardware. Two facts, jump right out. First, and not surprising given the placement of the front panels connector cables ample flip to the internal hardware layout. The battery is now on the left and the motherboard is on the right. Also, the sim card slot and [unk] components have been moved to the lower right corner. Lastly, the Air has a slightly smaller 2-cell battery. Unfortunately, that battery and all of the other components including the motherboard and their connector cables are held to the metal case with a lot of adhesive forcing them loose could damage them. And I want to put this unit back together in working order, not destroy it. So this point, I'm going to call it a day. When it comes to performance and design Apple is definitely moving the ball forward with each iPad iteration. And the Air is no exception but when it comes to reparability they're actually going backwards. Now I know most consumers don't usually care about easy their devices are to fix but I've seen enough cracked screens, broken LCDs and water log devices to know that people often do care when faced with the costly repair. Now for more information on the iPad Air including real world tests and pricing, check out Tim Steven's full CNET review. To see more tear-down photos and read my full hardware analysis, go to techrepublic.com/crackingopen. I'm Bill Detwiler, thanks for watching.