Video Overview

Introduction

You probably expected a thinner, lighter, and faster iPad Air 3, but Apple had other ideas. Instead of iterating on October 2014's iPad Air 2, they went back to the drawing board. Actually they probably don't use a drawing board, they use an iPad Pro—which might be where they got the idea for this. It seems to pack all the features of the first iPad Pro, in a smaller package. Let's see how they did it—it's time to tear down the iPad Pro 9.7".

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This teardown is not a repair guide. To repair your iPad Pro 9.7", use our service manual.

Image 1/2: Fully laminated, 9.7", LED-backlit, Oxide TFT "True Tone" display with 2048 x 1536 resolution (264 ppi) Image 2/2: 3rd generation 64-bit Apple A9X custom processor, with M9 motion coprocessor
  • Apple may have let all the Air out of the iPad line, but they didn't skimp on the 9.7" Pro's specs:

    • Fully laminated, 9.7", LED-backlit, Oxide TFT "True Tone" display with 2048 x 1536 resolution (264 ppi)

    • 3rd generation 64-bit Apple A9X custom processor, with M9 motion coprocessor

    • 12 MP rear iSight camera with 4K video recording at 30 fps, and 5 MP FaceTime camera with 720p video

    • Self-balancing, four-speaker audio

    • Touch ID sensor, 2 microphones, 2 ambient light sensors, accelerometer, barometer, and 3-axis gyro

    • 802.11a/​b/​g/​n/​ac MIMO Wi-Fi + Bluetooth 4.2

    • 32, 128, or 256 GB of on-board storage

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Image 1/3: Of course, what sleek, new mobile offering out of Cupertino would be complete without the infamous camera bump? Image 2/3: This 1.1-millimeter mesa was [https://www.ifixit.com/Teardown/iPad+Pro+12.9-Inch+Teardown/52599#s115366|absent|new_window=true] from the 12.9" model, but probably necessary in this iteration due to the slightly shallower rear case and spec'd up 12 MP, 4K rear camera. Image 3/3: And, for the second time this week, the Rose Gold rear case shows off a new model number: A1673, and the usual regulatory markings.
  • Before sinking our teeth picks into this thing, we check out our favorite website to get a look at the True Tone display.

  • Of course, what sleek, new mobile offering out of Cupertino would be complete without the infamous camera bump?

    • This 1.1-millimeter mesa was absent from the 12.9" model, but probably necessary in this iteration due to the slightly shallower rear case and spec'd up 12 MP, 4K rear camera.

  • And, for the second time this week, the Rose Gold rear case shows off a new model number: A1673, and the usual regulatory markings.

    • No surprise, once it reaches its 5th birthday, Apple doesn't want you pitching your iPad into the nearest trash can—they'd prefer you give it back.

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Image 1/3: Truly, in its entire history, there has never been a more Rose Gold iPad than this. Image 2/3: In all seriousness, it's refreshing to see a redesign that seems to focus on features rather than a nigh-pointless reduction in thickness, in a device that's already thinner than a pencil. Image 3/3: In all seriousness, it's refreshing to see a redesign that seems to focus on features rather than a nigh-pointless reduction in thickness, in a device that's already thinner than a pencil.
  • The whole iPad family is here! Left to right: Mini 3, Air 2, and iPad Pro 12.9".

  • Truly, in its entire history, there has never been a more Rose Gold iPad than this.

  • In all seriousness, it's refreshing to see a redesign that seems to focus on features rather than a nigh-pointless reduction in thickness, in a device that's already thinner than a pencil.

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Image 1/3: We immediately note that where the larger iPad Pro's interior volume was [https://d3nevzfk7ii3be.cloudfront.net/igi/B1DvULfUBvWMPsMt|dominated by four huge speaker enclosures|new_window=true], this little guy uses a more conventional setup: the battery hogs most of the space, with the logic board on the side and the speakers squeezed in at the margins. Image 2/3: What's that weird strip of PCB running through the middle, though? Image 3/3: Time for a closer look. Let's open it up!
  • Our ingenious friends at Creative Electron sent us a sneak peek at the Pro 9.7's internals, X-ray style.

  • We immediately note that where the larger iPad Pro's interior volume was dominated by four huge speaker enclosures, this little guy uses a more conventional setup: the battery hogs most of the space, with the logic board on the side and the speakers squeezed in at the margins.

  • What's that weird strip of PCB running through the middle, though?

  • Time for a closer look. Let's open it up!

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Image 1/3: Time to pick softly and hope we don't snag anything. Image 2/3: One day, perhaps, Apple will put its massive engineering prowess to work on the problem of how to make a tablet that opens for servicing—''without'' the nail-biting 30-minute process of heating, blind prying, and suctioning it currently demands. But it is not this day. Image 3/3: Having successfully carved the front panel free from its gluey frame, we get our first peek inside...
  • As we heat up the iOpeners, we place bets in the office pool: Where will the display cables be this time?

  • Time to pick softly and hope we don't snag anything.

    • One day, perhaps, Apple will put its massive engineering prowess to work on the problem of how to make a tablet that opens for servicing—without the nail-biting 30-minute process of heating, blind prying, and suctioning it currently demands. But it is not this day.

  • Having successfully carved the front panel free from its gluey frame, we get our first peek inside...

How much time and how many times did you guys left the iOpener on it before the first try with the prying tool?

allanwl - Reply

Image 1/2: We'd like to take a brief moment to mention that disassembly instructions are hugely important for successful repairs. We believe every user has the right to know how to safely work on their device. Image 2/2: The display, backed with some cushioning foam, also contains a ton of chips!
  • Survey says: Display cable's in the bottom right corner! That's a new configuration.

    • We'd like to take a brief moment to mention that disassembly instructions are hugely important for successful repairs. We believe every user has the right to know how to safely work on their device.

  • The display, backed with some cushioning foam, also contains a ton of chips!

    • Parade Technologies DP815 (likely an iteration of the DP695 timing controller found in the 12.9" Pro)

    • NXP Semiconductors 8416A1 Touch ID Sensor

    • 98667A B5528T

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  • After popping a few screws, we remove a big slab of EMI shield covering the logic board.

    • We saw this same kind of shielding in the larger iPad Pro, but it didn't exist in the iPad Air line.

  • Our fingers are itching for chips, but for now we restrain ourselves and settle for isolating the battery. One precisely-placed pick separates the battery contacts from the logic board.

  • Next to come off is another shield covering the battery board, nestled between the two large battery cells.

    • There's some action in there, and bizarrely, a screw that seems to be holding the smart keyboard connector to the battery board.

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Image 1/2: They're really fiercely glued in, and screwed in, but it's nothing a plastic opening tool can't deal with. Image 2/2: Once we pop the speakers out for a closer look, we're rewarded for our hard work: they connect to the logic board with spring contacts!
  • With shields and tape deftly dispatched, we turn our attention to the heavy hitters. First up: upper speakers!

  • They're really fiercely glued in, and screwed in, but it's nothing a plastic opening tool can't deal with.

    • Once we pop the speakers out for a closer look, we're rewarded for our hard work: they connect to the logic board with spring contacts!

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Image 1/2: And yup, that dimple goes all the way down, through the case down to the sapphire crystal lens cover. Image 2/2: Recently, there have been a number of consolidated hardware features in Apple's mobile lineup and this camera is no exception.
  • Out pops the perpetrator of that unsightly camera bump.

    • And yup, that dimple goes all the way down, through the case down to the sapphire crystal lens cover.

  • Recently, there have been a number of consolidated hardware features in Apple's mobile lineup and this camera is no exception.

    • It's the same 12 MP, 4K shooter featured in the 6s—a substantial upgrade over the 8 MP 1080p camera we dug up in our last Pro teardown.

    • We assume this will lead to nothing good.

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Image 1/2: A dab of glue fastens each connector in place, but they come free with a little gentle prying. Image 2/2: The boards themselves serve no obvious purpose; we can only speculate that their flat tops provide a little extra support for the display.
  • On our way to the logic board, we encounter some strange new antenna interconnect boards.

  • A dab of glue fastens each connector in place, but they come free with a little gentle prying.

  • The boards themselves serve no obvious purpose; we can only speculate that their flat tops provide a little extra support for the display.

    • Now that you'll be resting your palms on the glass while drawing with your Pencil, maybe a little reinforcement is called for.

  • Anyway, time to get a look at that logic board!

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Image 1/2: Apple [https://chipworks.secure.force.com/catalog/ProductDetails?sku=APP-APL1021|APL1021|new_window=true] A9X 64-bit Processor Image 2/2: Samsung K3RG1G1 2 GB (16 Gb) LPDDR4 RAM
  • Chip chip hooray!

    • Apple APL1021 A9X 64-bit Processor

    • Samsung K3RG1G1 2 GB (16 Gb) LPDDR4 RAM

    • SK Hynix H23QEG8VG1ACA 32 GB (256 Gb) NAND Flash Memory

    • 2 × Broadcom BCM15900B0 (as seen in the iPad Pro 12.9")

    • Apple 339S00109 Wi-Fi Module

    • NXP 66V10 NFC Controller and 1610A3 Charging IC (as seen in iPhone SE/6s/6s Plus)

    • InvenSense EMS-A 6-axis Gyroscope and Accelerometer Combo (also found in iPhone SE)

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Image 1/1: Maxim Integrated [https://chipworks.secure.force.com/catalog/ProductDetails?sku=MAX-MAX98721BEWV|MAX98721BEWV|new_window=true] Boosted Class Amplifier
  • But wait, there's even more chips!

    • Maxim Integrated MAX98721BEWV Boosted Class Amplifier

    • M7H YP (likely a Bosch Sensortec BMP280)

    • 343S00051-A1 (likely an iteration of the 343S00052-A1 found in the iPad Pro 12.9")

    • 343S00089-A1

    • L05286 VZB VG Z SGP 547

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Image 1/3: Maybe next time Apple? Pretty please? Image 2/3: What the battery does contain is a rating of 3.82 V, 27.91 Whr, and 7,306 mAh, amounting to a 10-hour battery life claim. Image 3/3: As expected, that's quite a bit less than the 38.8 Whr capacity of the larger [https://www.ifixit.com/Teardown/iPad+Pro+Teardown/52599#s115509|new_window=true|iPad Pro]—but fractionally ''better'' than the [https://www.ifixit.com/Teardown/iPad+Air+2+Teardown/30592#s71659|iPad Air 2]'s 27.62 Whr. Still, all three models have roughly the same estimated battery life.
  • Unfortunately for repair-minded folks like ourselves, the battery contains none of those nifty adhesive pull tabs found in the larger iPad Pro (and in every iPhone since the 5s). So, removing it is a sticky affair.

    • Maybe next time Apple? Pretty please?

  • What the battery does contain is a rating of 3.82 V, 27.91 Whr, and 7,306 mAh, amounting to a 10-hour battery life claim.

    • As expected, that's quite a bit less than the 38.8 Whr capacity of the larger iPad Pro—but fractionally better than the iPad Air 2's 27.62 Whr. Still, all three models have roughly the same estimated battery life.

  • We're about to leave the case at that, but we try another poke at the Smart connector, hoping for an easier extraction than last time. No such luck.

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Image 1/2: While not soldered in place, the battery is very solidly adhered—no more pull tabs like we saw in the larger iPad Pro 12.9" Image 2/2: The Smart Connector port is virtually impossible to replace—but incorporates no moving parts and is unlikely to fail.
  • iPad Pro Repairability Score: 2 out of 10 (10 is easiest to repair)

    • While not soldered in place, the battery is very solidly adhered—no more pull tabs like we saw in the larger iPad Pro 12.9"

    • The Smart Connector port is virtually impossible to replace—but incorporates no moving parts and is unlikely to fail.

    • The LCD and front panel glass are fused together. This slightly simplifies the opening procedure.

    • The fused front panel increases the cost of screen repair, and the risk of damaging the LCD when opening.

    • Gobs of adhesive hold everything in place making all repairs more difficult.

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22 Comments

No mention of the new integrated Apple SIM?

danieldavidpeterson - Reply

They tore down the wifi model, so no SIM.

Grey Hodge -

What about the USB controller, 3.0 or 2.0?

Alex Piskarev - Reply

aiple know what to do to get as most money as they can from theyr users and of course they dificult the repair...so there they earn as much as a new one! USER: dont buy aiple, they are fool you...

gotadolar - Reply

Typical trolling, Apple has to do things like that in order to make things as thin as possible because they think people want it to get thinner every year.

wmaitner -

Sure they have to do things to make them thinner "because reasons", but the lack of first-party spare parts, pull-tabs or service guides is harder to excuse.

Ties Koot -

It's already been confirmed no USB 3.0, so no superfast charging from the 29W charger.

wmaitner - Reply

Seems hard to repair

Sdfghjk - Reply

Um how offen is Apple devices Easy to repair?

arbiter9605 -

The 9.7" iPad Pro has USB 2.0, unlike the 12.9" model. Still the display is better, as are the cameras. The A9X is clocked at 2.16 GHz and the RAM is 2 GB. This was probably done because of the smaller battery.

akira2800 - Reply

The RAM remained at 2GB only to leave the room for upgrade in the future. Otherwise there will be one less reason for people to sell their 9.7" Pro for a 9.7" Pro 2

parallelsdesktop2 -

Apple A9X supports LPDDR4 and the data bus width is 128 bits. iPad Pro 12.9" is 4GB with two LPDDR4 memory chips. iPad Pro 12.9" uses 128-bits data bus width. iPad Pro 9.7" is 2GB with one LPDDR4 memory chip. iPad Pro 9.7" uses 64-bits data bus width. From system memory perspective, iPad Pro 12.9" has larger system memory density and higher memory bandwidth than iPad Pro 9.7" theoretically.

JJ Wu -

I still have the curiosity to know who manufactures the display.

Someone found the label of the manufacturer?

Henry - Reply

As Apple claimed, the panel inside iPad Pro uses IGZO tech. Most likely, the supplier is Sharp.

JJ Wu -

Hey iFixit. Could you please send me all the dimensions for this device (9.7" iPad Pro), the 12.9" iPad Pro and the iPhone 6s screen? I'm am modelling up what might be the most awesome possibility of what the second 12.9" iPad Pro could be.

Lyall Meintjes - Reply

I purchased the iPad Pro 9.7 128GB model. It is a very nice tablet and runs smoothly and quick. The 2 GB of RAM is not a concern, IOS runs fine on less RAM. Most of the Apple tablets still have 1 GB of RAM and still run fast on the lastest version of IOS. If you purchase Applecare, if the tablet breaks, Apple will just give you a replacement rather than repair for the first two years. Also, Apple products hold their value when it comes time to trade them in on upgrades. I switched from Android to Apple and like Apple better how the iPad links up with the iPhone. I had the Galaxy S5 and the Samsung Pro Tab 8.4, I upgraded to the iPhone 6S Plus in late 2015 and traded in the Samsung Tablet for the Apple iPad Pro 9.7. What I like about Apple, everyone gets software updates at the same time and Apple devices do not slow down like Andriods do. I am not a member of iSheep, I switched from Android to Apple and found Apple better personally.

rcalla1979 - Reply

Have you guys noticed where the audio coder is? From history each ipad comes with Cirrus Logic DAC but it seems to be missing from the logic board. Is it a multi-layer structure so that it maybe locate in another side? I'm most curious about it. It would be bizarre if it's gone.

Hausen - Reply

Where can I find a LCD+Digitzer screen replacement for iPad Pro 9.7? They dont seem to sell them on this site.

stevenvaden - Reply

Hi stevenvaden, did you manage to source a screen for the iPad Pro 9.7? As I am in need of one myself!! Also do you know if you need to unsolder the original home button to use it on the new Digitizer as is done on the 12.9" version? If this isn't done I believe the Apple Pay system will not work!! (So I have been told)

Mark -

Do you have any information on the location of the magnets?

Thanks, Chris.

Chris Amson - Reply

As for the audio codec, from http://forums.macrumors.com/threads/ipad...:

"The codec probably belong to CS42L family. You can zoom in the photo and see it's next to the cpu. According to a chinese headphone forum, the latest apple devices share almost the same sound signature."

It seems to be the chip directly above the NXP chip in Step 11.

Curiousilly - Reply

The camera stated to feature the optical image stabilization in the video however, it does not as confirmed by Apple.

FreeWorLD TR - Reply

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