Did We Just Tear Down the iPad Air Again?

Apple likes to talk big about innovating. Every device is thinner, faster, “funner.” Today they brought the world a four-year-old iPad Air with some new jewelry (A9 processor and Touch ID) and called it the canonical iPad.

The iPad 5 bucks the Air 2’s slimming trend and brings back the thicker, more repairable screen of the original iPad Air. That makes the new iPad cheaper to make (good for Apple) and cheaper to fix (good for consumers). Which should earn it some extra credit with enterprise buyers, like—you know—schools full of kids who have a tendency to break things.

TL;DR: In most respects, the iPad 5 looks like the iPad Air One, smells like the iPad Air One, and tastes like the iPad Air One (we’re exhaustive scientists, so we licked both models to make sure).

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

iPad 5 Teardown Highlights:

  • We graded the 5th-Gen iPad at a 2/10 on our repairability scale. That’s 0 points higher than the Air One and 0 points lower than the last “iPad” iPad. The screen is easier to fix, but the battery is still an absolute bear to get out.
  • Don’t panic, guys. The headphone jack … is still intact (phew). But the lock switch didn’t make the cut, maybe for iPad Air 2 reasons.
  • The iPad 5 only has 2 GB of RAM, which may or may not be a big deal to you. But is kind of a letdown considering the iPhone 7 Plus is rocking 3 GB. Then again, you could technically buy two iPad 5’s for the price of some iPhone 7 Plus models…

Check out the full teardown here.