Apple Goes Glue Crazy With 9.7-Inch iPad Pro, Scores Miserably In Teardown Analysis

Apple's been on a mission to shrink its mobile products for consumers who prefer smaller size gadgets, hence the recent releases of the iPhone SE and 9.7-inch iPad Pro. The folks at iFixIt already took the liberty of gutting the former, and now it's the latter that's fallen on the teardown site's operating table. Folks, don't try this at home.

No, seriously don't try tearing into a 9.7-inch iPad Pro, there's a good chance something will go wrong. In stark contrast to the iPhone SE, which surprisingly turned out to be somewhat easy to open up and repair (for an Apple product), the newest iPad Pro makes it clear that you're not supposed to be disassembling this thing.

Prying Apple iPad Pro

As Apple often likes to do, the 9.7-inch iPad Pro's case is held together with glue. Lots of glue. Between heating the adhesive to loosen it up, carefully prying the frame along the edges, and gently lifting away the top panel one section at a time using a suction tool, it takes a good 30 minutes just to crack open Apple's tablet. Hey, at least there aren't any Pentalobe screws to deal with, right?

The good news is that once inside, accessing the battery isn't overly difficult. There's an EMI shield covering the logic board that needs to be removed—it's the same as found in the 12.9-inch iPad Pro, but absent from the iPad Air line. Once that's done, you can use a pick to separate the battery contacts from the logic board. The bad news is that even though it's easy to access, it's still difficult to remove—while not soldered in place, it's solidly adhered and there are no pull-tabs to help you out.

Apple iPad Pro Speakers

What's also not so easy is replacing a blown speaker. They're "fiercely glued in" and screwed down for good measure. And there's more glue as you dig deeper into the 9.7-inch iPad Pro, including dabs of adhesive that hold each connector of new antenna interconnect boards in place.

Apple iPad Pro Parts

As the list of challenges add up, the 9.7-inch iPad Pro finished the teardown evaluation with an abysmal 2 out 10 Repairability Score. There really weren't any positives to speak of, just annoyances that range in difficulty. The biggest negatives iFixit noted were the gobs of glue and that the fused front panel jacks up the price of screen repair, along with the risk of damaging the LCD when opening the iPad Pro up.