iFixit Teardown of New 9.7-Inch iPad Reveals Eerie Similarity to Original iPad Air

Apple’s brand-new 9.7-inch iPad has only been around for a week, but, as usual, our friends over at iFixit are already all over the tablet, tearing it down, and figuring out how easy it is for the average user to repair.

Original iPad Air (left) vs 2017 iPad (right).

In its teardown analysis, the website concludes that this new iPad is eerily similar to the original iPad Air. Looking at the picture above, it’s difficult to tell which is which as they look almost identical to one another.

Interestingly, the new tablet for instance uses the same screen as the Air, which is thicker and easier to repair since the LCD and digitizer aren’t fused together. iFixit was in fact able to swap in the same parts from a genuine Air and make the connectors fit, although it has yet to test them.

The brand-new iPad even has the same 32.9 watt-hour battery as the original Air, beating out the 27.6 watt-hour unit in the Air 2 and the 27.9 watt-hour supply in the 9.7-inch iPad Pro.

The primary differentiating factor from the old model is an A9 processor paired with 2 gigabytes of DDR4 RAM, versus the Air’s A7 chip and 1 gigabyte of DDR3. Apple has also increased the base storage to 32 gigabytes and added a Touch ID sensor, notably linking it to a pushable button instead of the solid-state button on the iPhone 7.

As for overall repairability, the new iPad scores a lowly 2 out of 10 from the teardown specialists. Relying on loads of glue and adhesives, you stand a good chance of doing greater damage to the tablet than managing to fix it.

iFixit laments the fact that the front panel is glued to the device, which makes attempting to remove it without breaking the glass a formidable task. There also seems to be adhesive at every turn, so removing the battery successfully turns into an exercise in frustration.

The new 9.7-inch iPad can be ordered on Apple’s website in Canada, starting at $449 for the 32GB Wi-Fi model (a $50 price drop from before).

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