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iPad 2 teardown: Q&A with iFixit on what's inside, what's next

Tom Kaneshige | March 15, 2011
What did uber-geek Kyle Wiens of iFixit find when he pried off the iPad 2's glass? "We've never seen so much glue inside of something before." Wiens shares insights and predictions with

I was impressed by how thin the iPad 2 was (0.35 inches), but not surprised that the glass was thinner(.62 mm) compared to the original iPad glass (.85 mm). We're going to be paying very close attention to what the impact—pun intended—will be. If I were Apple, I would have done the exact same thing in reducing the glass thickness, but it does mean it's going to break more.

Apple's design goals were battery life, durability, and cost. We know they nailed the battery life and cost on the iPad 2, but I'm not sure if they sacrificed durability or not. The original iPad was extremely durable. Apple used so much glue on the iPad 2, this should help with durability. Glue is flexible and can handle a lot of stress.

You were right about the iPad 2 having 512MB of RAM. But some tablet competitors are promising 1GB. What does this mean for the iPad down the road?

Wiens: We were concerned that the iPad 2 might have only 256MB. The original iPad has 256MB of RAM and is not efficient. We were able to confirm 512MB in the iPad 2. But the difference between 512MB and 1GB isn't a big deal.

The iOS has very sophisticated memory management, and Apple actually pushes a lot of the memory management work off on developers. I think having the standard same amount of RAM in the iPhone 4 as in the iPad 2 will help them.

As an app developer myself, I would love to have the extra 1GB of RAM. It would make my life easier. But with 512MB, I'll just work harder and make the app function the same in less footprint. (For more on iPad apps, check out 15 Best iPad Apps for Newbies.)

If Apple wants to go to 1GB, they can do so in the iPad 3. It's about saving features for the future yet keeping costs down now.

What about lack of support for 4G?

Wiens: 4G has only been rolled out in a few markets. It completely destroys battery life. Apple never jumps on new network technology first, because new network technology sucks so much battery. They waited for the 3G chipsets to get more mature and power efficient before rolling them out. That's what we're going to see Apple do with the 4G.

You mentioned that the iPad 2 uses NAND Flash memory chips from Toshiba. I heard the Japan quake hit the Toshiba chip plant. How do you think this will affect iPad 2 supply?


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