iPad 3G Teardown

Teardown

Teardown

Teardowns provide a look inside a device and should not be used as disassembly instructions.

While the rest of the world awaits in awe for the unveiling of the iPad, we've got our hands on the newly released iPad 3G.

Want to stay up-to-date with the hardware world? Follow @ifixit!

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Edit Step 1 iPad 3G Teardown  ¶ 

  • The much awaited iPad 3G is finally in the hands of iFixit!

  • The Wi-Fi + 3G iPad. We got a sneak peak of the internals of this tablet a month ago by poking around on the FCC's database.

  • The 3G iPad is visually distinguished from its Wi-Fi-only sibling by a black plastic RF window.

  • The 3G iPad supports UMTS/HSDPA on 850, 1900, and 2100 MHz and GSM/EDGE on 850, 900, 1800, and 1900 MHz.

  • In a dramatic shift for Apple, the iPad is unlocked, and not tied down to a specific carrier.

  • Alas, in the US, AT&T is the only carrier that operates 3G on frequencies the iPad supports. T-Mobile should work, but only on the slower EDGE network.

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Edit Step 2  ¶ 

  • The iPad's model number is A1337 as previously suggested by the FCC filing. Yes, we think that's l33t.

  • There's no use wasting anymore time, let's see what makes this puppy growl.

  • We'll be comparing the internals of this production unit to the preproduction FCC photos we exclusively unveiled a month ago.

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Edit Step 3  ¶ 

  • After some careful prying around with a metal spudger, the display assembly can be removed from the rear case.

  • Due to the addition of 3G connectivity, there's an extra antenna cable that must be disconnected before the two halves are free.

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Edit Step 4  ¶ 

  • The innards of the iPad 3G (left) and the iPad Wi-Fi (right).

  • Some major differences include the 3G chip, SIM card board, and the plastic antenna cover at the top of the case.

  • The 3G iPad is not nearly as barren as the Wi-Fi-only iPad, but it's still not jam-packed.

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Edit Step 5  ¶ 

  • Pry up the antenna on the communications board with a plastic opening tool. This is one of two antennas on the communications board.

  • The communications board is secured by T4 Torx screws.

  • Upon removing the screws, the communications board slides out of its socket on the logic board. The connection socket style is similar to a Mini PCI Express card.

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Edit Step 6  ¶ 

  • Removing the micro-SIM card. That's a really small SIM card!

  • The iPad's SIM card measures 12mm x 15mm. That's just under half the size of the standard size SIM card from an iPhone 3GS.

  • You could cut up a full-size SIM card and turn it into a Micro-SIM. The contacts are fully compatible.

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Edit Step 7  ¶ 

  • New to the 3G iPad, there's an antenna attached to the backside of the display assembly. The copper foil piece seen in the picture connects to the silver metal LCD frame. Apple has cleverly used this same piece of metal for both structural and electrical purposes.

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Edit Step 8  ¶ 

  • Use the flat end of a spudger to pry the SIM card slot off the rear case.

  • It sure doesn't look like Apple was tight on space. As far as we know, the only purpose of this board is to connect the SIM card to the logic board.

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Edit Step 9  ¶ 

  • Comparison between the iPad 3G's (left) and the iPad Wi-Fi's (right) logic board.

  • When comparing the two models, the top half of the Wi-Fi's rear case has copious amounts of open space.

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Edit Step 10  ¶ 

  • Use the tip of a spudger to disconnect the GPS antenna ZIF cable connector.

  • The GPS antenna assembly can be pried off the plastic antenna cover with the flat end of a spudger.

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Edit Step 11  ¶ 

  • The front and back of the GPS antenna assembly.

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Edit Step 12  ¶ 

  • Lift the cellular antenna from its housing.

  • The cellular antenna remains.

  • From left to right: the Wi-Fi/Bluetooth, GPS, and 3G antennas, respectively.

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Edit Step 13  ¶ 

  • The 3G board with A4 processor.

  • The second shot is the main board from the Wi-Fi iPad.

  • Key differences?

    • The most obvious change is the addition of the connector on the right side of the board for the communications board.

    • More subtle is an additional small IC above the A4 chip next to the connector for the GPS antenna. This may be a signal processor, but we can't firmly identify it: T3J 927 632567.

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Edit Step 14  ¶ 

  • Bottom of the main board.

  • Nothing much to see here, it's exactly the same as the Wi-Fi board.

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Edit Step 15  ¶ 

  • Apple soldered the EMI shield onto the communications board, making it challenging for us to show you the chips. Despite this adversity, we pressed forward undaunted, fearlessly unsoldering the board to reveal to you:

    • Infineon 337S3754 PMB 8878 X-Gold baseband IC 5Y06115. This part had the Infineon logo in the pre-production unit, but Apple has white-labeled it to obscure the manufacturer. This is the exact same baseband processor as the iPhone 3GS.

    • Skyworks SKY77340 Power Amplifier Module

    • Three Triquint power amplifier / filters.

    • Infineon U6952

    • Numonyx 36MY1EE

    • Along the right are three TriQuint power amplifiers: TQM616035A, TQM666032B, and TQM676031A. These are the same three chips that Apple used in the iPhone 3G nearly 2 years ago.

    • Broadcom A-GPS BCM47501UBG F01003 P11 949871 SN

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Edit Step 16  ¶ 

  • Bottom of communications board.

  • The second photo is from the pre-release FCC unit. The bottom of our board has additional part number markings, but is otherwise identical to the pre-production unit.

  • It's important to note that the Broadcom A-GPS package is on the communications board, explaining why the Wi-Fi-only iPad does not have GPS.

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Edit Step 17  ¶ 

  • That wraps up this teardown of the iPad 3G.

  • Don't forget to take a peek at its cousin, the iPad Wi-Fi Teardown for more iPad related mayhem.

Required Tools

Spudger

$2.95 · 50+ In stock

Metal Spudger

$2.95 · 50+ In stock

Plastic Opening Tools

$2.95 · 50+ In stock

Phillips #000 Screwdriver

$5.95 · 50+ In stock

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iFixit Lock Pick Set

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Portable Anti-Static Mat

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Comments Comments are onturn off

Unless T-Mobile is now offering micro-SIM cards. AT&T still has the exclusive on this Apple device.

thecreative, · Reply

Quote from thecreative:

Unless T-Mobile is now offering micro-SIM cards. AT&T still has the exclusive on this Apple device.

As far as I know, the "micro" is only in the sorrounding area of the "electronic" part, so, correctly cut-out big-SIMs will be converted to micro-SIMs.

Luis Alejandro Masanti, · Reply

Quote from thecreative:

Unless T-Mobile is now offering micro-SIM cards. AT&T still has the exclusive on this Apple device.

That and their 3G frequencies are incompatible.

Frank, · Reply

.

it's very simple, so, HP and Google can soon make two low cost clones with webOS and ChromeOS

.

gaetano marano, · Reply

I can really see a lot of user cutting down their SIM cards to fit. Very practical. Let me know when someone actually does this.

thecreative, · Reply

you can make your own microsim...

instructions for all SIMs (standard size) are here:

http://www.touchuserguide.com/2010/04/05...

Stefan Williams, · Reply

Great article and images.. There's definitely rooms for a USB port haha

guybrush, · Reply

Quote from gaetano marano:

.

it's very simple, so, HP and Google can soon make two low cost clones with webOS and ChromeOS

.

Yea right... And also clone iPhone OS?

Rimsky Sucre, · Reply

The pin-out for a SIM and micro SIM are the same. You could cut down a full size SIM to fit and it would work.

Holland Rhodes, · Reply

Quote from Holland Rhodes:

The pin-out for a SIM and micro SIM are the same. You could cut down a full size SIM to fit and it would work.

Yup pin-out, clock-speed, etc., are the same; I don't think there's been a SIM whose chip was larger than the contact area for over a decade, so be gentle with a sander, sand the @*%^*^! down, and voila.

sendai, · Reply

Not sure what this antenna is. This tutorial shows all 3 antennas (wifi, gps, 3g) but this one is not specified. Any help will be appreciated.

Laith, · Reply

This finally explains the extra connector from the wifi-only model. It's strange to use so many pins to interface with the 6-contact card. Is there any active circuitry in the SIM cable/holder?

cityzen, · Reply

The comment here doesn't match the picture.

cityzen, · Reply

Quote from cityzen:

The comment here doesn't match the picture.

Oh, nevermind; now I see the difference. It seemed like the comment belonged to step 13.

cityzen, · Reply

I don't think this is a GPS antenna. Suppose it is a capacity sensor for proximity detection.

Kelvin, · Reply

Is the Wi-Fi antenna in the Apple logo or in the top with the GPS and 3G antenna? This should improve the Wi-Fi reception

Yoru, · Reply

Please, where exactly is the A-GPS chipset on the com. board?

Thanks

Francis

Francis, · Reply

Quote from Francis:

Please, where exactly is the A-GPS chipset on the com. board?

It's the Broadcom part in the top-left of the board, to the left of the Skyworks chip.

Kyle Wiens, · Reply

Quote from Kyle Wiens:

It's the Broadcom part in the top-left of the board, to the left of the Skyworks chip.

Thanks, and I guess the Infineon PMB6952 is just between these two, on the middle-left of the board. Is it?

Francis, · Reply

I'm also curious about where the WiFi antenna is. Is it still only behind the Apple on the back, or is it different in the 3G model from the WiFi only model?

djfriar, · Reply

I don't get it. The GPS antenna is plugged on the main board, next to a chip absent from the Wifi version, but the AGPS chip is on the 3G communication board. Is the analog GPS signal routed between the boards?

Yann, · Reply

Quote from Bigbird:

That is so weird!! I also can not figure out how the GPS RF signal routes into the chip! The GPS antenna with B2B connector (Most use to transmit logical signal), not the RF coaxial cable to feed into. Can someone explain why apple uses this way to carry GPS signal?

Bigbird, · Reply

Might be worth a note that you're only showing one of the wifi/BT antennas (the lower one), and not the one behind the Apple logo.

cityzen, · Reply

I'm pretty sure the GPS antenna is the one on the screen. The antenna on the ZIF connector seems to be an FM antenna with the BGA part being an FM receiver?

Avalon, · Reply

If these are all the antennas, can someone tell us which antenna is shown in step 7 then? Thanks.

Laith, · Reply

Check out the copyright dates between the two boards. Perhaps this indicates the 3g version took longer to work out - which would explain the later release date

Michael, · Reply

The later release date had to do with FCC clearance IIRC.

Eric Hoffmann,

What DAC chip is used? Same as iPhone?

foosayer, · Reply

What I'm truly curious about is adding 3G to a WiFi-only iPad. Would it be possible just to attach the extra required parts to the logic board?

Brandon Papworth, · Reply

Quote from Brandon Papworth:

What I'm truly curious about is adding 3G to a WiFi-only iPad. Would it be possible just to attach the extra required parts to the logic board?

Most likely not. You would need to do some low level software stuff to get it recognised. Also, don't forget that the "PCI-e like" connecter isn't actually on the WiFi model, so you'd be hand soldering a custom connector (where would you source it) - or bypass the connector - and either way be hand soldering on a complex chip. You'd have to buy each edition of the iPad anyway, to examine the pinouts to know where to do it.

Ollie Ford, · Reply

Is there conformal coating on all of the parts or in just certain areas?

James Seagle, · Reply

Any chance of a weight breakdown for this version to compare to the WF one?

Jasper, · Reply

Quote from Jasper:

Any chance of a weight breakdown for this version to compare to the WF one?

50 grams extra. It says so right on Apple's own tech specs page, and I don't see why they would lie about it :) Seems about right from guesstimating the weight of the extra parts.

Pio, · Reply

Where is the hard drive? Anybody try installing a bigger hard drive?

Jean, · Reply

Quote from Jean:

Where is the hard drive? Anybody try installing a bigger hard drive?

There is no standard HDD. It's flashed based solid state memory like on the iPhones which means you can't upgrade it.

OrangeSVTguy, · Reply

Ok, so its not upgradeable but its shock proof. Anybody know if you hook up and external HD through the usb adapter, if it will read it?

Jean, · Reply

Quote from Jean:

Anybody know if you hook up and external HD through the usb adapter, if it will read it?

The way it says it reads your camera strongly suggests it simply supports USB Mass Storage over that USBHost, so technically in hardware and even drivers it should be able to. Whether it can do anyhting more with the data in software than pull photos off it is another issue.

Jasper, · Reply

Quote from Jean:

Ok, so its not upgradeable but its shock proof. Anybody know if you hook up and external HD through the usb adapter, if it will read it?

Someone has worked that out with some jail broken software. It's just not very easy.

http://www.engadget.com/2010/05/06/ipad-...

Eric Hoffmann, · Reply

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