Nov. 1, 2012 at 10:19 AM ET
iFixit, a site that shows you how to fix your gadgets, has torn apart one of Apple's new iPad Mini tablets to see how it's assembled. Surprise: It's basically a giant battery. (This isn't a surprise.)
A large, single-cell battery takes up most of the space behind the tablet's 7.9-inch screen, similar to most other modern gadgets, especially those without swappable batteries. While the size of the processor, radios, and other pieces that make up gadgets have continued to be shrunk by clever engineers and improvements in manufacturing processes, batteries are still ruled by the maxim "the bigger, the better."
iFixit gives a thumbs-up to Apple for keeping the iPad Mini's Samsung-made LCD panel separate from the protective glass that sits atop, as it makes it less expensive to repair if the glass (but not the screen) is damaged. On the other hand, panels that are bonded to the glass, like those in the iPhone 5, are thinner and marginally more "vibrant," as the pixels are closer to the eye. It should be assumed in the endless pursuit of shrinking sizes, the iPad Mini's display will be bonded like the iPhone 5 display within a generation or two.
Some of the connectors have gotten smaller in the iPad Mini, as well; iFixit called the iPad mini's internal screws the "some of the smallest screws we've ever seen."
Joel Johnson is a tech & science reporter who lives in Brooklyn.