The industry's emphasis on increasingly thin and light devices has not come without a cost. The do-it-yourself (DIY) repair enthusiast has largely been shunned in recent years, especially by Apple, which both thrives in the mobile space and has never really cared about making its products easy to service at home. As such, it is not the least bit surprising that its new 10.5-inch iPad Pro is a bear to repair.
Apple is far from alone in this regard, it just happens to leads the charge, and in particular with its iPhone and iPad products. In this case, the company's newest iPad Pro model sticks to a familiar script of using "strong adhesive" to hold the chassis shut. On the plus side, the thinner bezel makes it easier than before to wedge a pick in between the display and laminated glass. It's also a benefit that there are not cables along the edge, so you're free to slice the adhesive all the way around the iPad Pro.
Once inside, Apple earns kudos for using standard Phillips screws over the display cable bracket, though that's where the praise ends. As you dive deeper into the iPad Pro, you'll discover even more adhesive, such as on the speaker. Once that is removed, you'll have access to the rear-facing 12-megapixel camera and light sensor, the latter of which is covered by a green/white/clear filter that presumably helps with the True Tone system.
There are not many reasons to open up a tablet and start gutting the parts. One of the few exceptions is to replace the battery. The original iPad Pro made things a little bit easier by using pull-tabs, but no such luck with this latest model. In their place is "nasty gooey adhesive," or sticky glue, if you prefer. While the battery is not soldered in place—and therefore replaceable—it is "very solidly adhered" in the 10.9-inch iPad Pro.
After giving the latest iPad Pro a full autopsy, the teardown crew at iFixit awarded it a measly 2 out of 10 Repairability Score. The iPad Pro lost brownie points for using gobs of glue to hold everything in place and for fusing the front panel, which both increases the cost of screen repair and ups the risk of damaging the LCD when opening up the iPad Pro.
Less damning but still annoying is the fact that the Smart Connector port is virtually impossible to replace. Combined with the other DIY negatives, you might want to invest in an extended warranty if buying the 10.9-inch iPad Pro rather than chance a repair job on your own.