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iPad Air teardown reveals smaller battery, separate LCD & cover glass

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A new dissection of Apple's latest tablet shows an iPad mini-like construction and several parts shared with the iPhone 5s.

Repair experts iFixit found a new two-cell design design for the iPad Air's 32.9 watt-hour battery, a change from the fourth-generation iPad's three-cell, 43 watt-hour configuration. The iPad Air maintains its impressive battery life despite the lower charge capacity thanks to efficiency improvements in iOS and the new A7 processor, according to Apple.

Also going on a diet, the device's 9.7-inch LG-manufactured Retina display has reportedly lost 20 percent of its thickness. Unlike the newest iPhones, the iPad Air's display is not laminated to the cover glass.

iPad Air teardown

As they dove deeper, iFixit noted the similarities in construction between the iPad mini and iPad Air, saying that it "seems like Apple took an iPad Mini and transmogrified it to a regular iPad's size."

In addition to the similar construction, the iPad Air also gains a mini-like stereo speaker arrangement. The speakers contain no manufacturers identification, making it likely that they are a custom part.

iPad Air teardown

The iPad Air gains the nano SIM introduced with the iPhone 5, and swaps out the formerly Murata-made Wi-Fi module for a USI part, likely thanks to the tablet's new use of MIMO technology.

Lastly, the iPad Air carries a slightly different model of Apple's A7 processor than the one found in the iPhone 5s. Benchmarks have shown that the iPad's variant of the chip has a minimally increased clock speed —  about 100 megahertz —  from the version found in Apple's handset.

iPad Air teardown

A full list of silicon found soldered to the iPad Air's logic board:

  • Apple A7
  • Elpida F8164A1MD LPDDR3 SDRAM
  • Toshiba THGBX2G7B2JLA01 16 GB NAND Flash
  • Apple M7
  • Apple Dialog Power Management IC
  • USI 339S0213 Wi-Fi Module
  • Apple 338S1116 Cirrus Audio Codec
  • Broadcom BCM5976C1KUB6G Touch Screen Controller
  • Qualcomm M9616M Baseband Processor
  • TriQuint TQF6514 RF Power Amplifier Module
  • Three Skyworks SKY77-series LTE RF Power Amplifier/Duplexer Modules
  • Two Avago A79-series LTE RF Power Amplifier/Duplexer Modules
  • Murata Antenna Switch/Filter Module
  • WTR1605L Transceiver Module
  • Qualcomm PM8018 PMIC