iPad mini teardown reveals a Frankenstein of components from different iPads

iFixit has published its teardown of the new, fifth-generation iPad mini—the first update to Apple’s smaller-sized tablet since 2015. The iFixit team—which sells gear for repairing and servicing gadgets and uses these teardown series to promote said gear—noted that the iPad mini looks on the outside like a smaller version of the new iPad Air.

But on the inside, it’s an updated iPad mini 4, the team wrote.

On opening the tablet up, iFixit discovered a 19.32Wh battery—the same capacity as the previous-generation iPad mini. But there are some notable changes. The front-facing camera module has been updated to a 7-megapixel ƒ/2.2, like the 10.5-inch iPad Pro. That’s a marked improvement over the iPad mini 4. There’s also Apple’s A12 Bionic system-on-a-chip (the same found in the iPhone XS, XS Max, and XR) with 3GB of LPDDR4X DRAM.

The updated microphone array has been moved near the selfie cam, and new ambient light sensors support the True Tone feature, which adjusts the white balance of the display based on ambient light conditions for user comfort.

iFixit framed the iPad mini as an amalgamation of components and designs from other iPads—the internals of a previous iPad mini, the camera system of an iPad Pro, and the exterior design of an iPad Air.

iFixit gives each device a repairability score. They gave the 2019 iPad mini a score of two out of 10 for repairability. The only positive cited was that a single Phillips screwdriver can deal with all the screws in the device. However, replacing the battery is “unnecessarily difficult,” there’s adhesive everywhere, and removing the home button (no small feat) is required in order to replace the screen.

You can visit iFixit’s teardown page for the device to see more photos and details. Ars Technica’s joint review of the new iPad Air and iPad mini is in progress and will be published in the coming days.

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