Apple's iPad Air goes on sale today – it's easily the best iPad Apple's put out so far, but we're waiting with bated breath for the iPad mini with Retina display. Until then, however, the Air is also the most remarkable feat of engineering in any tablet device in terms of what goes on under the hood, or at least that's what it looks like based on iFixit's traditional day one teardown of the brand new device.
As it does with every new Apple product release, iFixit has managed to get its hands on one of the first shipping units available anywhere in the world, and they've immediately broken it open to see what makes it tick. In short, what makes it tick is a battery. It's a huge one, and it takes up most of the space within the case – but it's also actually still smaller than the battery of the iPad 4th generation, despite the fact that it's a much more powerful machine.
This battery has only two cells, and is rated at 32.9 WHr capacity, while the last iPad held a three cell, 43 WHr unit. The new slimmed down lithium ion power source is supplying energy to the same screen as on the iPad it replaces, which is a 9.7-inch display. That means the increased battery efficiency is coming from somewhere else; it also probably means decreased component costs for Apple.
Other highlights from the teardown include a look at the A7 chip (which is actually a slightly different version to the one in the iPhone 5s), confirmation that it does have 1GB of RAM, and the RF components that include a Qualcomm LTE processor with 1GB of dedicated RAM itself, which helps account for the iPad Air's magical range of LTE band connectivity.
iFixit concludes by saying that the iPad Air achieves a repairability score of just 2 out of 10, which is in line with the repairability score of Apple tablets in general. If you're looking for something modular, however, you're probably not looking for an extremely thin and light tablet that's as portable as possible while still boasting impressive display and battery life. I'd never pop the case on one of these myself, but it's definitely fun to take a peek inside courtesy of someone who's brave enough to attempt it.