Apple’s fourth-gen iPad may have been a bit-player alongside the iPad mini at the launch event last week, but the 9.7-inch tablet still gets its time under the screwdriver. The tricksy teardown merchants at iFixit have wasted no time in putting the iOS slate in its place: that is, in separate pieces splayed across the table. Unsurprisingly, the team there don’t rate it highly for DIY repairability; more unexpected, though, is news that Apple didn’t really make the most of the changes it implemented.
Like the mini and the iPhone 5, Apple used its new Lightning connector rather than the older, larger 30-pin Dock Connector. However, while that’s a move to shave away at bulk in the smaller devices, in the iPad 4 with Retina display there’s not been any move to take advantage of the space freed up: iFixit suggests that Apple could’ve taken the opportunity to slot in larger speakers, for instance, and improve sound quality.
Unfortunately, Apple’s trend of making the iPad as tricky to dismantle as possible continues apace, with the teardown company rating the newest model 2 out of 10 for repair potential. Masses of adhesive – whether glue, tape, or sticky foam – keeping components in place; cover-glass that’s stuck to the chassis; and a battery that’s prone to being pierced and yet requires some serious levering in order to remove all get name-checked.
For most users, mind, none of these will be significant problems: most iPads likely don’t get opened up at all, though it does mean replacing a broken display or misbehaving connector is likely a job for the Genius Bar rather than something owners can attempt at home. As for what the iPad 4 can do when it’s in one piece, check out our full review for all the details.