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4th Gen iPad Teardown: Very much like the iPad 3

I’m one of those people who bought the third-generation iPad when it first came out. I’m also one of those people who was very irritated to discover that Apple made my model obsolete only seven months after releasing it. When Primate Labs released their Geek Bench discovery, I nearly threw my iPad out the window… with a sledgehammer. When early hands-on reviews came in saying that the iPad 4 isn’t much different than the iPad 3, I felt better. Now that iFixIt has done a teardown of the fourth-generation iPad, I know I’ll be ok for at least another year.

The techies at iFixIt have been busy. They performed their delicate operation on the iPad mini yesterday, showing that the smaller tablet had a Samsung display driver and, not one, but two speakers, making the iPad mini the first device to have stereo sound.

Shortly after the destructors at iFixIt gutted the iPad mini, they proceeded with the fourth-generation iPad. To everyone’s surprise, or lack there of, the new iPad is nearly identical to its predecessor, except for a couple of notable changes.

Down to the gooey gobs of adhesive that bind the panel to the backing plate, the third and fourth-generation iPads are the same. The battery has the same model number, the LCD cables are identical, and even the cutout for the dock connector is the same.

That’s right, Apple is using the exact same backing plate for the fourth-generation iPad as the previous model. Even though the new iPad features the smaller Lightning connector, allowing for more space to add stuff, the cutout for the dock connector is the same one used for the 30-pin connector.

Had Apple made new backing plates for the fourth-generation iPad, maybe they could have fit two speakers instead of one. This is almost definitely something we will see in the next iPad upgrade.

The 5PM HD front-facing camera is approximately .4mm thicker than its predecessor. It is of better quality on the inside, but looks pretty much the same on the outside.

Obviously, the big change is with the A6X processor. This is the culprit that makes third-generation iPad owners mad. Why didn’t Apple just wait a little bit longer so that we could all have the same chip?

Based on hands-on reviews from some of the tech world’s lucky writers, the increase in speed doesn’t really mean much right now because there are not apps big enough to take advantage of the faster processor. So there.

Third-generation iPad owners rejoice! We didn’t get swindled (that much). Our outdated-after-half-a-year tablets will still be awesome until the fifth-generation iPad comes out. Maybe Apple will finally add stereo speakers for us.

Check out iFixit’s blog post to see all the images of the teardown. It’s pretty cool.