iPad Tear Down and Benchmarks: battery, A4 chipset, RAM exposed!


iFixit has performed their traditional tear-down of new Apple gear, this time taking the iPad apart piece by gloriously crafted piece, and here's what they found:

The iPad's battery has 5.5x the capacity of the battery in the iPhone! The iPad actually has two batteries wired in parallel, for a total of 24.8 Watt-hours. On average, the iPad sips just 2.5 Watts. That's 1/5 the power of a compact fluorescent bulb!

The rear case is machined from a single billet of aluminum, increasing weight but greatly improving the rigidity of the device.

The empty void in the upper right corner is where the cellular communications board would go in the 3G iPad.

The A4 is a Package-on-Package (PoP), with at least three layers of circuitry layered on top of each other. A4 is packaged just like the iPhone processors, microprocessor in one package and two memory modules in the other package. They're all sandwiched together in a very nice and thin PoP.

The iPad RAM is INSIDE the A4 processor package. Confirming this took quite a bit of sleuthing: we had to partner with Chipworks to X-ray the processor. The X-ray revealed two layers of RAM. In addition to the ARM processor, the A4 package contains two stacked Samsung dies.

We will be releasing a detailed analysis of the A4 in conjunction with Chipworks in a few days.

The rumored slot for a camera is actually taken up by the ambient light sensor.

The glass panel is quite thick: about 1.18 mm, compared to the iPhone's 1.02 mm thick glass. This is necessitated by the panel's large size.

The touch circuit design is more similar to the old 2G and early 3G iPhones than the current 3GS. Chipworks informed us that "there is so much room in the iPad that Apple didn't need to use small chips, just the right ones and cheap ones."

Disappointingly, especially for those hoping for iPhone 4.0 multitasking miracles, Furbo.org tests show iPad is using the same 256MB of RAM as the iPhone 3GS. We were hoping for me -- as in double. If true, there are other ways to handle the demands of multiple apps, but there's no such thing as too much RAM when we're still talking MBs...

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Rene Ritchie

EiC of iMore, EP of Mobile Nations, Apple analyst, co-host of Debug, Iterate, Vector, Review, and MacBreak Weekly podcasts. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.

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Reader comments

iPad Tear Down and Benchmarks: battery, A4 chipset, RAM exposed!


That sucks!!!....I'm really hoping for multi-tasking...I guess we will have to wait and see what apple comes out with in 4.0!!

256MB or RAM? Oh well, I suppose that since apps are so small in terms of size when they are running and that there's no multitasking, there is no need for more RAM.

That really does suck because I doubt they will release an iPhone that's more powerful than their iPad... If this is the case than android will look fresh and appealing

But the /good/ news is that if they enable multitasking for the iPad running that much RAM then we iPhone 3GS users maybnot miss out. It would seriously irritate me if Apple started treating the iPhone as a bastard child... Not so much because I own one as that I find the iPad's size and sheer lack of convergence potential useless for me.

I agree with Bill...this actually may be good news if Apple can adequately create a multitasking experience that operates well on 256MB RAM...

Doesn't RAM take electrical power to operate? (DRAM, not NVRAM like the stuff in your flash storage memory.) Maybe if they had a gig of ram in there, it would only have 5 hours of battery life?

my iPad is only reporting approximately 256mb:
Pork Hunt HD[430:207] Active Memory: 10797056 bytes 10.3M
Pork Hunt HD[430:207] Inactive Memory: 11001856 bytes 10.5M
Pork Hunt HD[430:207] Total Memory: 258998272 bytes 247.0M
Pork Hunt HD[430:207] Physical Memory Size: 258998272 bytes 247M
Pork Hunt HD[430:207] uuid: a2f13ca741e426c3a7c7816a1bb32397a1b9251c

This has nicer formatting maybe:
2010-04-03 22:23:40.949 Pork Hunt HD[430:207] Active Memory: 10797056 bytes 10.3M
2010-04-03 22:23:40.953 Pork Hunt HD[430:207] Inactive Memory: 11001856 bytes 10.5M
2010-04-03 22:23:40.956 Pork Hunt HD[430:207] Total Memory: 258998272 bytes 247.0M
2010-04-03 22:23:40.958 Pork Hunt HD[430:207] Physical Memory Size: 258998272 bytes 247M
2010-04-03 22:23:40.963 Pork Hunt HD[430:207] uuid: a2f13ca741e426c3a7c7816a1bb32397a1b9251c

i agree with thekevinmonster. i think the whole point is to be energy efficient. also anyone who has ever jailbroken a 3gs knows that it is better at multitasking than any other phone available.

Ok here comes the justification. You all can save it for all of you KNEW in advanced that you were buyIng a piece of underpowered, crippled and outdated hardware.
But like fools, all of you still took the jump anyway. Yesterday, I came across something funny while driving, I quicky took out my iPhone 3gs and snap a pic. Can your ipad do that?
Lmaol at all of you!
Good luck paying $10 for so called "HD" games that smart ones like me have enjoyed on the iPhone for months now at less than half the price : )

Why would I wanna snap pictures with an ipad anyway? I have a 3gs for that.
Hmacc, I predict by on your next apple store visit, you wil want an ipad and maybe make the jump as well. It's already happened with some of the naysayers around here.

Hey Hmacc,
Go to an Apple store and spend 20mins with an iPad and I can almost guarantee that you will walk out of there with one! To know it is to love it! You will quickly feel "left behind" when you see all the ground breaking stuff coming out for it... Not trying to antagonize you! Just go hold/touch it for 20 mins and come back here and let us know your thoughts!

you know apple, innovation leader...
what if multitasking in the future of iphone OS are not like other OS's...
say the OS will save only important thing of the app, so the app need to half-re-start when multitasked, not quick but pretty efficient of RAM.
if RAM too big, and people start multitasking many app, with iphone OS i would say the OS would likely to crash.