AirPods Pro Teardown: Heavier Than Original AirPods, Different Battery, Same Zero Repairability Score

iFixit today shared a teardown of the new $249 AirPods Pro, and perhaps unsurprisingly, the organization awarded Apple's latest wireless earphones the same zero repairability score as both versions of original AirPods.


Apart from the replaceable $4-a-pair proprietary silicone tips that provide noise isolation and enhanced fit on the ‌AirPods Pro‌, it's the same story as Apple's previous generation ‌AirPods‌ as far as repairs go. But there were a couple of new tidbits of information that the disassembly did reveal.

In terms of weight, each AirPod Pro bud comes in at 0.19 oz (5.4 g), which is fully a third heavier than the prior version AirPod earbuds. The new charging case is also notably chunkier, weighing 1.61 oz (45.6 g), compared to the original case's 1.34 oz (38 g).

ifixit
iFixit also discovered a watch-style button cell battery inside each AirPod, replacing the pin-type battery found in the original ‌AirPods‌. iFixit notes this could be the same battery found in Samsung's Galaxy Buds, and those are replaceable, but Apple has tethered the battery to a soldered cable, so ‌AirPods‌ customers will have no such luck.

As noted by iFixit, Apple apparently confirmed on Wednesday that the new ‌AirPods Pro‌ are no more repairable than previous versions of the wireless earbuds because of their size and build process.



For its part, however, iFixit believes Apple could theoretically replace the in-ear portion of the earbuds and re-use the original stems – which include the System on Package (SiP), antennas, microphones, and Force sensor – but the company has chosen not to do so, for whatever reason. iFixit's teardown concludes:
While theoretically semi-serviceable, the non-modular, glued-together design and lack of replacement parts makes repair both impractical and uneconomical.
From a customer perspective, this means that once the battery dies in the ‌AirPods Pro‌, it will need to be completely replaced. The left and right AirPod cost $89 each to replace in the United States, totaling $178 for a pair.

However, the fees are lower if a customer has purchased AppleCare+ for Headphones. The plan costs $29 upfront, plus charges a $29 fee to replace a pair of damaged ‌AirPods Pro‌ or their case. This coverage applies for up to two years from the date ‌AppleCare‌+ is purchased and is limited to two incidents.

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10.2-Inch iPad Teardown Confirms 3GB of RAM and Same-Size Battery

iFixit has completed its teardown of the new 10.2-inch iPad and uncovered the same 8,227 mAh/32.9 Wh battery as the sixth-generation 9.7-inch iPad, while RAM has been increased from 2GB to 3GB.




The 10.2-inch iPad is similar to the sixth-generation 9.7-inch iPad, with the same A10 Fusion chip and Apple Pencil support, but it has a larger display and a Smart Connector that enables support for Apple's full-sized Smart Keyboard. Pricing continues to start at $329 in the United States.

Given the minor refresh, the 10.2-inch iPad has few hardware changes over the 9.7-inch iPad beyond the larger display, addition of a Smart Connector, and an extra GB of RAM. Repairability remains low due to strong adhesives and a soldered Lightning connector, although display repairs remain feasible.

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iFixit’s iPhone 11 Teardown: ‘An iPhone XR With Some iPhone 11 Pro Tech Inside’

Following a teardown of the iPhone 11 Pro Max on Friday, iFixit today posted a separate teardown of the entry-level iPhone 11 model.


The repair site reiterated what has been said previously about the iPhone 11: it's essentially an iPhone XR, but with a few internal upgrades from the new iPhone 11 Pro family. There's a double-decker logic board, upgraded wide and ultrawide camera lenses, and what iFixit believes to be ultra wideband antenna technology embedded into the rear case.

Otherwise, the teardown doesn't reveal much unknown information about the iPhone 11. iFixit delved into the device's rectangular battery, which is only marginally improved upon last year's iPhone XR battery. The iPhone 11 has a 3,110 mAh battery, measuring about 7 percent more compared to the iPhone XR and accounting for the one hour battery increase that Apple claimed in its keynote.


iFixit also briefly discussed the potential for bilateral charging on the iPhone 11, which the site ultimately pointed out was never meant to be on the entry-level 2019 iPhone. The iPhone 11 lacks a second battery connector (unlike the 11 Pro Max), and iFixit explained that a larger battery and additional thermal management "would almost certainly be required" for bilateral charging on the iPhone 11.

The iPhone 11 earned a repairability score of 6 out of 10. iFixit said that the display is easier to replace than in other smartphones, but the site bemoaned Apple's continued use of proprietary screws and an increased chance of breakage due to glass on the front and back of the iPhone 11.

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iPhone 11, 11 Pro, and 11 Pro Max All Feature Thicker and Heavier Single-Cell Batteries

In a production information sheet, Apple has confirmed the iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro, and iPhone 11 Pro Max all feature single-cell batteries.

Last year, only the iPhone XS had a single-cell, L-shaped battery, with an iFixit teardown of the device revealing that Apple "notched" the internal corners of the battery to prevent undue stress from thermal expansion. iPhone XS Max and iPhone XR models are equipped with multi-cell L-shaped batteries.

Vietnamese website Di Động Việt today shared a seemingly legitimate teardown of the iPhone 11 Pro Max, revealing its single-cell, L-shaped battery. Consistent with Chinese regulatory filings, the battery has a capacity of 3,969 mAh, making it around 25 percent larger than the iPhone XS Max's battery.


The iPhone 11 Pro Max's battery is also noticeably thicker than the iPhone XS Max's battery to accomodate the increased capacity.

With the added thickness comes added weight. Apple's production information sheet says the iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro, and iPhone 11 Pro Max batteries weigh 47, 48, and 65 grams, respectively, while the iPhone XR, iPhone XS, and iPhone XS Max batteries measure in at 46, 41, and 50 grams, respectively.


iPhone 11 Pro Max battery on top, iPhone XS Max battery on bottom via Di Động Việt

The teardown also provides a first look at the iPhone 11 Pro Max's triple-lens rear camera lenses and other components. iFixit should have more comprehensive teardowns of all three new iPhones in the coming days.

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Base 2019 13-Inch MacBook Pro Teardown Reveals Larger Battery, Soldered-Down SSD, and Updated Keyboard Material

iFixit has shared a teardown of the new entry-level 13-inch MacBook Pro, which was refreshed this week with Intel's latest 8th-generation processors, a True Tone display, Touch Bar, Touch ID, and the Apple T2 security chip.


The teardown reveals a larger battery with a 58.2 Wh capacity, which slightly exceeds the 54.5 Wh battery found in the previous-generation function key model. iFixit guesses this is how the 2019 model manages to power the Touch Bar, Touch ID, and T2 chip while keeping the same 10-hour battery life.

To make room for the Touch ID sensor alongside the Touch Bar, iFixit notes that Apple appears to be using a slightly smaller heat sink. The speaker opposite the fan also looks to have been shrunk in size.

While the previous-generation entry-level 13-inch MacBook Pro had a modular SSD, storage is soldered down in the 2019 model. However, there are some newly modular components, including the Thunderbolt board and the speakers. This configuration is in line with other modern MacBook Pro designs.

As we confirmed earlier this week, the notebook has the same third-generation butterfly keyboard with updated material as the higher-end 2019 MacBook Pro models introduced in May, with Apple promising improved reliability.


Like most other modern MacBooks, this model earned a low repairability score from iFixit due to the usual concerns, such as Apple's use of proprietary pentalobe screws, a glued-in battery, and soldered-down storage and RAM. One positive is that the trackpad can be replaced without touching the battery.

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iFixit Finds 2019 MacBook Pro Keyboard Has ‘Subtle’ Changes to Membrane Cover and Switches

Apple surprised us with a MacBook Pro refresh earlier this week. 2019 models feature faster Intel processors with up to eight cores for the first time, but also a new "material" added to the keyboard to hopefully reduce issues such as sticky and repeating keys that prompted Apple's worldwide repair program.


Apple didn't elaborate on the new material, but the repair experts at iFixit have completed a teardown of the 2019 MacBook Pro and discovered a "subtle change" made to the silicone membrane covering the keyboard switches.

Whereas the membrane in the 2018 MacBook Pro is "semi-opaque" and "feels like silicone," iFixit says the cover in the 2019 model is "clearer and smooth to the touch." Based on infrared analysis, it appears the 2018 membrane was made with polyacetylene, while the 2019 covers uses polyamide, aka nylon.

"Where 2018 models had a rubbery feel and milky look, this plastic is crinkly and transparent," wrote iFixit in an email. "The metal dome over each key switch is subtly different, too. It could be a new surface treatment, and/or a tweaked alloy, possibly to alleviate problems with durability, bounce-back, or other issues."

More details from the teardown to follow…

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AirPods 2 Teardown: H1 Chip With Bluetooth 5.0, Same Batteries, and Water-Repellent Coating on Charging Case Board

iFixit today shared a teardown of the second-generation AirPods, providing a closer look at the H1 chip with Bluetooth 5.0 and the same 93 milliwatt hour battery in each of the AirPods in line with the original pair.

New charging case on left and new AirPods with H1 chip labeled in red on right via iFixit

The repair website also pried open the new wireless charging case, which continues to have a 398 mAh battery capacity, and said there is a new "water-repellent coating" on the circuit board. The teardown notes that the updated charging case "seems designed for increased durability, but not repairability."


Unsurprisingly, the new AirPods earned a zero for repairability, as iFixit says they remain "disappointingly disposable." AirPods are not designed to be serviced, as no hardware components can be accessed without damaging the earphones, and sealed-in batteries make the AirPods a consumable product.


Many of these details were already known, but the teardown still provides an interesting look at the internal differences compared to the first-generation AirPods. More photos and tech specs are available over on iFixit's website.

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2018 Mac mini Teardown: User-Upgradeable RAM, But Soldered Down CPU and Storage

The repair experts at iFixit have completed their teardown of the new Mac mini, providing a look inside the portable desktop computer.


Disassembly of the new Mac mini remains fairly straightforward. iFixit popped off the plastic bottom cover with its opening tool and then used a Torx screwdriver to unfasten the familiar antenna plate underneath.

With access to the inside, iFixit then unscrewed the fan and popped out the logic board with some old-fashioned thumb pressing. While the RAM in the previous-gen Mac mini from 2014 was soldered to the logic board, the new Mac mini has user-upgradeable RAM, as discovered earlier this week.


As seen in older iMacs, the RAM is protected by a perforated shield that allows the memory modules to operate at a high frequency of 2666 MHz without interfering with other device functions, according to iFixit. To upgrade the RAM, the shield can be removed by unfastening four Torx screws.

Other silicon on the logic board of this particular Mac mini includes the Apple T2 security chip, a 3.6GHz quad-core Intel Core i3 processor, Intel UHD Graphics 630, 128GB of flash storage from Toshiba, an Intel JHL7540 Thunderbolt 3 controller, and a Gigabit Ethernet controller from Broadcom.


Despite the good news about the RAM, the CPU and SSD are soldered to the logic board, as are many ports, so this isn't a truly modular Mac mini.

iFixit awarded the new Mac mini a repairability score of 6/10, with 10 being the easiest to repair, topping the latest MacBook Air, MacBook, MacBook Pro, iMac, and iMac Pro, and trailing only the 2013 Mac Pro.

"Back in the day, a Pro Mac meant a computer you could upgrade, configure, and connect as you pleased," iFixit's teardown concludes. "This new mini aligns so well with that ideal that we're surprised it didn't earn itself a "Pro" title—especially compared to the increasingly closed-off MacBook Pro line."

The new Mac mini earned its higher repairability score thanks to its straightforward disassembly with no tough adhesive or proprietary pentalobe screws and user-upgradeable RAM. However, it didn't earn a perfect score due to the soldered-down CPU, storage, and ports, impacting repairs and upgrades.

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2018 MacBook Air Teardown Confirms Improving Repairability With Adhesive Pull-Tabs Under Battery and Speakers

The repair experts at iFixit have completed their teardown of the new MacBook Air, providing a closer look inside the notebook.

iFixit started by confirming the keyboard on the new MacBook Air has the same silicone membrane under the keycaps as the latest MacBook Pro, as expected since they both use Apple's third-generation butterfly keyboard.


Next, they flipped the notebook onto its bottom side and encountered Apple's usual pentalobe screws that require a special screwdriver to unfasten. On the inside, there is a compact array of components, including a small logic board, a fan, a pair of large speakers, and a "radiator-esque heat sink."


iFixit proceeded to remove the logic board, providing a glimpse at the Apple T2 security chip, along with a Thunderbolt 3 controller from Intel, 128GB of flash storage from SanDisk, and 8GB of LPDDR3 RAM from SK Hynix.


Diving deeper, iFixit discovered that the two Thunderbolt 3 ports in the new MacBook Air are modular, and applauded Apple for this repair-friendly design consideration. "This MacBook is off to a good start as far as we're concerned," they wrote. "All the ports sit on their own boards and are easily replaceable."

Continuing the repair-friendly trend, iFixit uncovered ten pull-to-remove adhesive tabs securing the 49.9 Wh battery and speakers.

"The mere presence of stretch-release adhesive generally means that someone at least thought about possible repair and disassembly situations," the teardown says. "Are you there, Apple? It's us, iFixit. Have you heard our pleas?"


As first reported by MacRumors, the battery in the new MacBook Air is still glued into the top case — the aluminum enclosure that houses the keyboard and trackpad — but Apple will be providing Apple Authorized Service Providers with tools to remove the battery and reinstall a new one with no top case replacement required.

In all other MacBook and MacBook Pro models with a Retina display released since 2012, Apple has replaced the entire top case when a customer requires a new battery, so the change is good news for both repairability and the environment.

Last, iFixit confirmed that the Touch ID sensor is also modular in the new MacBook Air. According to the new MacBook Air's service guide obtained by MacRumors, the Touch ID button does not require a logic board replacement, but the notebook must pass Apple diagnostics in order for the repair to be completed.

While the new MacBook Air has improved repairability relative to Apple's standards, the notebook earned a low 3/10 repairability score from iFixit.

"The Air still uses external pentalobes to keep you out, requires lots of component removal for common fixes, and both RAM and storage are soldered to the logic board," said iFixit. "All together, that means Apple has an easy time with their knowledge and tools, but the average DIYer is left out to dry when it comes to upgrades."

Nevertheless, iFixit said it hopes this is "just the beginning of an upswing in repairable design" for Apple products.

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Apple Watch Series 4 Teardown: 4% More Battery Capacity, Hidden Barometric Sensor, and Streamlined Internals

iFixit has completed a teardown of the Apple Watch Series 4, providing a look inside a larger 44mm model with LTE.

Image Credit: iFixit

The repair experts believe that while the original Apple Watch was awkwardly layered together and used too much glue, the Series 4 lineup feels "much more thoughtfully laid out," likening it to the iPhone 5.
Apple pundit John Gruber has compared this to the leap in design brought by the iPhone 4, and we might even go a bit further and call it an iPhone 5: a device that knows its priorities, and wants to look as elegant inside as out.
At first glance, the internal design of Series 4 models looks more or less the same as previous models, with the battery and Taptic Engine taking up most of the space. Dig deeper, however, and the changes become evident.

Image Credit: iFixit

Teardown highlights:
  • 291.8 mAh battery, which is 4% more capacity than the 279 mAh battery in 42mm-sized Apple Watch Series 3 models.
  • A thinner and longer Taptic Engine, but iFixit says it still takes up a lot of space that could have gone to a larger battery.
  • The barometric sensor may have been relocated to the speaker grille for access to the outside atmosphere. The sensor had its own dedicated hole beside the microphone on Apple Watch Series 3 models.
  • The new Apple S4 chip is secured only with screws, whereas the processor is also "fiercely glued" in previous Apple Watch models.
  • The golden ring is likely a streamlined antenna system, as iFixit says it has not seen the usual fiddly brackets or golden gaskets.
  • The entire rear casing pops off more easily.
  • The display is not only larger, but also thinner.
iFixit says the Apple Watch Series 4 is nearing iPhone levels of repairability, with the highly-glued display being the primary remaining obstacle. Beyond that, they say the battery is straightforward to replace.

Image Credit: iFixit

All in all, the Series 4 received a "solid" 6/10 on iFixit's repairability scale, with 10 being the best possible score. That's the same repairability score iFixit gave the iPhone XS and XS Max in its teardown of those devices.

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