FCC iPad Teardown Showcase, Hot Tablet Hardware

Interest in the iPad is running high on launch day—just in time for photos of a 'naked' iPad to pop up on the FCC's website. The images detail what's underneath the hood of Apple's new tablet and while some of the text was originally grayed out, there are ways to access the original image beneath. The iPad has taken some heat from critics who dismiss it as just a big iPhone Touch; but similar exteriors can be deceiving. The size and higher-end requirements of the iPad necessitate a new internal design, parts of which are shown below.

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Above we've got the back of the iPad and the rigid cable that runs across the back of the device. In addition to providing support, the cable hooks into the iPad's 30-pin I/O connector. The WiFi/Bluetooth radios are also mounted here. The second thumbnail shows the shape of the support cable once removed and gives a bit more detail on the two radios. Underneath the grayed area, the chip is laser-etched with: X17B 2.0-A4. This could be a Broadcom BCM4329; a component Apple has already used in the iPod Touch. Back when the iPad was first announced we speculated that the company might cut costs by using similar chips in both devices.

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The iPad's circuit board and chips are above. The area in red is the attach point for the iPad's battery (seen in the first set of shots). The battery isn't attached with epoxy, which means users can theoretically change it out. Since this is a pre-production iPad, however, we wouldn't take this as proof positive that the battery is swappable. As far as the chips themselves, the A4 is on the left; two Toshiba Flash chips are on the right. Presumably these are 8GB versions, but two sockets gives Apple the capability to offer a cut-down 8GB version or to scale upwards to 128GB once higher-density flash is available.

You can see a complete set of photos over on the FCC's website or more coverage over at iFixit. We're curious to see just how user-friendly the final version of the iPad turns out to be, other than that whole "You void your warranty if you crack it" bit. User-replaceable batteries would be a darn nice thing to have, even if it voids the warranty, especially since most batteries don't die until the warranty is out anyway.

Stay tuned for the Hot Hardware review.