Every time a hot gadget hits the market, teardown masters iFixit are almost always the first to break the new toy apart. While those of us who live in the United States wait in line on the eve of the new iPad’s launch, iFixit hopped on a plane to Australia — where the tablet is already available — and immediately got to work.
In terms of pure hardware data, the teardown yields few surprises; most of the specs of the parts can be found on Apple’s iPad page. The teardown itself, however, is a different story altogether. The new iPad is just as difficult to open as its predecessor, if not moreso. While that may not mean much to the layman, it could spell trouble for corporate IT departments hoping to repair their employees’ broken devices instead of sending them off for replacement.
The most glaring issue: battery replacement. Discounting the first generation iPhone, which was a pain to open up without destroying the metal backing, iPhone battery replacement is relatively easy with a few tiny screwdrivers and guitar picks. Batteries for the smartphones can be purchased on iFixit from $15 to $30. It’s a quick and relatively inexpensive way to keep an iOS device out of the Genius Bar and in your pocket.
It’s also noteworthy that the new iPad’s sealed construction will make it difficult to recycle, according to iFixit and Steve Skurnac, President of SIMS Recycling Solutions. “Sealed units make it difficult to remove the batteries, Skurnac told iFixit. “From a recycler’s point of view, the hazardous components (like batteries) need to be easily separated or removed.”
Apple does, however, have a recycling program that offers financial incentives to customers for older products. So when the time comes to replace that old iPad, send it off to Cupertino.