iPad Pro 11” Teardown: The Adhesive Strikes Back

We just plucked the last device from the Apple tree this season—the iPad Pro 11”. At first bite, we can’t tell if it’s a good apple, or a bad one. Apple replaced last year’s Lightning port with a fully modular USB-C port—a huge win for repair. But four of the eight speakers are epoxied into the case, making them completely unreplaceable. And while the battery has repair-friendly stretch-release adhesive with twelve pull tabs, a final bit of tough conventional adhesive stymies what should be an easy battery replacement.

It’s obvious that Apple is trying to change, but it looks like the voice on the other shoulder was a little louder than the repairability angel this time around. That said, this late 2018 batch of products has surprised us, and we are cautiously optimistic that they just might be starting to care about the insides of their devices as much as the outsides again.

Removing the iPad Pro battery with a spudger during the teardown

iPad Pro 11” Teardown highlights:

  • You’re probably not planning to shuck your new Apple Pencil, so we de-cased ours in the name of science. We found an entire capacitive grid wrapped around the body. This is likely used to register tap inputs, but this grid ought to help the Pencil know where—not just when—you tap. Could more complex gestures be on the way?
  • This iPad’s 29.45 Wh battery is a slight downgrade from the 30.8 Wh pack in the 10.5″ iPad Pro, and a lot smaller than the most recent Microsoft Surface Pro’s 45 Wh battery.
  • The iPad Pro 11″ earns a 3 out of 10 on our repairability scale—which is still a failing grade, but moves the needle in the right direction.
Apple Pencil teardown