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"Apple’s recently announced iPad model can be seen as a reset of the tablet. By dropping any identifying suffixes, what could arguably be called the iPad 5 simply became the iPad. While the launch was incredibly quiet by iPad standards (nothing more than a press release) the tablet refreshes the product line and creates a new entry point.
The quiet launch is perhaps indicative of the true nature of the new iPad. Apart from the TouchID sensor and the A9 system on chip inside, the new iPad is effectively the iPad Air, launched four years ago, with two components
That's the conclusion of the ever popular team at iFixit. As well as providing advice for consumers to upgrade and repair their hardware, iFixit delights in tearing down new units to find out the secrets hidden inside the hardware. The latest teardown is the aforementioned 2017 iPad.
The iPad team took a page from the iPhone SE playbook and released what appears to be a throwback—an arguably under-specced tablet that takes aim at the education and enterprise markets. This iPad is supposedly reasonably priced and powerful enough for professionals—but will it also earn high marks for repairability?
As noted, the machine has a new model number (A1822). Notable differences include the omission of the lock switch and smaller holes for the microphone and speakers. Repair wise the big news is the screen and digitiser are not fused together, which should make for easier repairs by Apple, or third parties.
The new iPad is making a lot of moves to keep the bill of materials as low as possible. The inclusion of the TouchID sensor and A9 chip may seem extravagant, but I suspect that over Apple’s entire portfolio there is a significant economy of scale at work here, making the use of these components cheaper than smaller runs of less highly specced components.
It’s also worth nothing that having TouchID means Apple Pay can be implemented for online purchases and that will generate an ongoing revenue stream for Cupertino.
Apple avoids going down the ‘budget’ route with the iPhone (the closest being the iPhone SE, and even then the specifications are high enough that it should rightly be regarded as a min range device), but it has never had the same issue with the iPad range. Given the popularity of the tablet in the educational market, having a relatively affordable entry-level device acts as a gateway to the iOS ecosystem for individuals and organisations.
The new iPad continues a quiet tradition of cutting as close to the bone as possible to build a gentle on-ramp into the closed world of Apple."
Source: Ewan Spence, www.forbes.com