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iPad mini scores low in repairability on iFixit teardown

The teardown specialists at iFixit this week got their hands on Apple's new iPad mini and managed to debunk one big myth about the pint-sized tablet - namely that it does indeed have stereo speakers, despite claims by some competitors that Apple skimped on the mini's audio hardware.

But iFixit also found it extremely difficult to take apart Apple's new 7.9in tablet, which is being officially released today (2 November). The teardown site gave the iPad mini a repairability score of just 2 out of 10, largely because Apple uses a lot of adhesive to hold parts together, and where screws are used, they're apparently tiny, tucked away in crevices, and difficult to get to, iFixit reported.

"Apple wasn't joking about 'mini' - this iPad contains some of the smallest screws we have ever seen," the site said.

As low as the iPad mini's repairability score is, it's actually not Apple's lowest - iFixit gave the MacBook Pro laptops released earlier this year its lowest repairability score ever, 1 out of 10.

So what's inside the iPad mini? First, the battery is "a large, single 16.5 Whr cell," iFixit reported, while the site also discovered Apple's own ARM-based A5 processor at the heart of things. That's the same SoC that powers the new iPod touch but new full-sized iPads from Apple look to get a next-gen A6 chip instead. As it does for the new iPhone 5, Murata provides the Wi-Fi chipset in the iPad mini, while Broadcom is responsible for the touch-screen controllers with its multi-chip solution, and the 16GB of NAND Flash in iFixit's mini was supplied by Hynix.

The teardown site also discovered a Samsung chip in charge of the LCD in the mini, which iFixit found "somewhat surprising" because Apple has reportedly been working to move away from Samsung as a primary supplier, possibly due to ongoing patent disputes between the two companies.

Pricing starts at £269 for the 16GB Wi-Fi version of the iPad mini. The 32GB Wi-Fi is £349, while the 64GB is priced at £429. The Wi-Fi + cellular versions of the tablet are priced at £369 (16GB), £449 (32GB), and £529 (64GB).

Pre-orders of the devices started on 26 October. The Wi-Fi version is due to ship today and the cellular version will ship in two weeks.

The iPad mini comes in at 7.5mm thin and 308g, meaning it's 23 per cent thinner and 53 per cent lighter than its 9.7in counterpart.

Image Credit: iFixit