iFixit: MacBook Pro’s amazing Retina Display is made by LG Philips

[Image credit: iFixit]

We covered iFixit’s Retina Display teardown this morning, but the report left out one very important detail: Who makes the display? There had been some discussion by DisplayMate’s Raymond Soneira on whether Sharp’s IGZO display technology was used:

An IGZO Retina Display? Traditional high PPI displays (with amorphous Silicon) are inefficient with both brightness and power. As a result, the new iPad 3 with a Retina Display needs a 70 percent larger battery than the non-Retina Display iPad 2, but the MacBook Pro with Retina Display has only a 23 percent larger battery with the same 7 hour running time as the non-Retina Display MacBook Pro. How can this be? You may recall that IGZO technology has been making headlines for months, first rumored to be the technology used in the Retina Display for the new iPad 3. IGZO is significantly more efficient than amorphous Silicon. It wasn’t ready in time for the new iPad 3, but Sharp announced that production of IGZO LCDs with up to 300 PPI started in March of 2012… Just in time for the MacBook Pro… These facts lead me to speculate that the MacBook Pro is using a Sharp IGZO Retina Display…

Apple, Sharp, and Foxconn are rumored to be working together on something bigger as well.

Nope… Read more

iFixit tears down the new MacBook Pro’s Retina display, an ‘engineering marvel’

They first took apart the new Retina MacBook Pro and called it the “least repairable laptop” ever, but today our friends at iFixit took apart the device’s most impressive new component: its Retina Display. Here is what they found:

The Retina display is an engineering marvel. Its LCD is essentially the entire display assembly. Rather than sandwich an LCD panel between a back case and a piece of glass in front, Apple used the aluminum case itself as the frame for the LCD panel and used the LCD as the front glass. They’ve managed to pack five times as many pixels as the last model in a display that’s actually a fraction of a millimeter thinner. And since there’s no front glass, glare is much less of an issue.

The major downside to the design noted in the report: the LCD is not replaceable. It is attached to the entire assembly, so this means you will likely have to replace the entire assembly if something goes wrong. It also noted that getting into the display is quite difficult, claiming, “Obliterating the front panel of the display was the only way to get it out.” Some highlights:

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Retina MacBook Pros selling on eBay for $1700 premium over retail due to scarcity

The new 15.4-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display is either out of stock, coming soon, on pre-order, or experiencing delayed shipping on almost every retail website, but it appears one seller is offering the latest Cupertino notebook on eBay—for roughly $1,700 more than Apple’s asking price.

Check it out: Apple MacBook Pro 15.4-inch MC975LL/A (June, 2012) with Retina Display

The above eBay deal comes with same day, free shipping and includes insurance (if this is even considered a deal). Another eBay listing offers the base model MacBook Pro for $3,199 USD, but another $95.80 USD is required for USPS priority shipping from Canada.

It is probably safe to say these puppies are in high demand, as evident by the exorbitant price markups.
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April 1st: iFixit, ThinkGeek, Google, and more

There are a lot of interesting announcements this Sunday morning.  Here is a rundown, but make sure to hit us with anything else you find in the comments below.

iFixit offers a special tool for opening the new iPad, which is reinforced with extra glue:

From the makers of Doxie comes Shreddie, the portable document shredder.

ThinkGeek —whose previous entry, the iCade, became a real product— introduced us to Hungry Hungry Hippos for iPad:

O2 has a phone  that will last for 1,000 hours of talk time:

Adblock is showing LOLcats today:

Google, which seems to give every department a mission for today, has a bunch of great stuff:

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iFixit tears down the new Apple TV- two antennas, single-core A5 chip, and Broadcom 4330 chip

Following the first teardown of the new Apple TV over the weekend at XBMC.org, we get some more details from yet another teardown. They already gave the new iPad the teardown treatment, and now our friends over at iFixit ripped apart the third-generation Apple TV giving it an 8 out of 10 reparability score. The report revealed the device now has two antennas instead of one, which iFixit noted: “Apple added the new antenna to address complaints about range and signal strength.” It also discovered a Broadcom 4330 chip (same as the new iPad) with support for dual-band 2.4 GHz and 5GHz 802.11 a/b/g/n, as well as a new single-core A5 processor. iFixit noticed the new design does not rely on a thermal cooling pad, which could mean the new single-core CPU does not run as hot as earlier generations.

The chips inside:

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As we suspected, new iPad takes longer to charge. Also gets warm inside

While we are waiting for iFixit to tear apart the new iPad so we can get a look at the device’s new 42.5-watt-hour rechargeable lithium-polymer battery, we received confirmation that the battery does take hours longer to charge than the iPad 2 (iPad 2 pictured above). We know battery life remains the same with the 70 percent larger battery going mostly toward powering the new Retina display, A5x chip, and LTE-capabilities, but we wondered last week whether the new battery could take up to 70 percent longer to charge. MG Siegler confirmed in his review on TechCrunch that charging the new iPad takes “several hours” longer compared to earlier generations:
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iFixit launches Dual Hard Drive Kit and guides for Mid 2011 iMacs

While you might be familiar with iFixit from its in-depth teardown guides meant to provide the ultimate resource for DIYers, it also offers the necessary tools to get the job done. We told you a while back about its “iPhone oppression kit” allowing you to swap out Apple’s pentalobular screws with standard Phillips screws. Stemming from a discovery of two unused mounting points in its recent 21.5-inch and 27-inch iMac teardowns, iFixit is now providing a kit that provides all the tools necessary to install a second hard drive in your mid 2011 iMac.

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Amazon’s Kindle Fire vs. Apple’s iPad 2


With the $199 Kindle Fire out of the gate, the inevitable questions pops into mind: Which is faster overall, the Amazon or Apple tablet?

The comparison isn’t really fair because Amazon skimped on internal components, which was key to its breakthrough $199 price point. An iFixit teardown reveals Texas Instruments’ OMAP 4430 chip inside the device, also  found inside Research In Motion’s BlackBerry PlayBook tablet.

For starters, iPad 2 boots much quicker than the Amazon tablet – again, due to its more efficient dual-core processor and optimized software. Browsing the web? No surprises here either, Safari on iPad 2 stormed ahead, performing noticeably faster than Amazon’s Silk browser which offloads page rendering to the Amazon cloud. One thing to remember: In this test, Kindle Fire was loading Flash content which of course is not supported on Apple’s device.

The iPad 2’s graphics unit, praised for its nine times performance jump, helps with scrolling, which is pretty choppy most of the time on Amazon’s device. One surprising finding is that Kindle Fire streams Netflix smoother than iPad 2, most likely due to the new version of their Android client which is not yet available for Apple’s platform.

This is not the most scientific test in the world, mind you. Again, as 9to5Google noted in its quick review, there’s really no comparing Kindle Fire to iPad 2, be it on the price, overall polish, performance or shininess. As for the speed, mainstream buyers may not be interested in raw specs anymore and Amazon has priced this thing out of the range of the Samsungs and BlackBerrys of this world so it’s more of a competitor to Android tablets than to Apple.

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iFixit tears down iPhone 4S, 512MB RAM confirmed, new Qualcomm MDM6610 chip discovered

The teardown is in progress. Notes of interest:

  • The extra .05W/hrs battery increases talk time by an hour but for some reason (likely additional background processes with notifications), standby time is reduced from 300 to 200 hrs
  • Pentalobe Screws, again?”
  • The A5 processor is rated at 1GHz (like iPad obv.) but is underclocked for battery saving purposes. That doesn’t mean an update (or hack) in the future could boost speed to iPad levels.
  • The iPhone 4S logic board bears a close resemblance to its stateside CDMA counterpart.
  • The Qualcomm chip updated from MDM6600 to MDM6610. There isn’t much out on the 6610 right now but we’re investigating.
  • It looks like there really is only 512MB of RAM. AnandTech says:

The second confirmation iFixit’s teardown gives us is the size of the A5’s on-package memory: 512MB. A quick look at the image above yields the Samsung part number: K3PE4E400B-XGC1. Each highlighted E4 refers to a separate 2Gb LPDDR2 die. The A5 features a dual-channel LPDDR2 memory interface, thus requiring two 32-bit die to fully populate both channels. The final two characters in the part number (C1) refer to the DRAM’s clock period, in this case 2.5ns which indicates a 400MHz clock frequency (F=1/T). My assumption here is Samsung’s part number is actually referring to clock frequency and not data rate, implying there are a pair of LPDDR2-800 die in the PoP stack. It’s not entirely uncommon to run memory at speeds lower than they are rated for, a practice we’ve seen in graphics memory in particular for as long as I can remember, so I wouldn’t take this as proof that Apple is running at full LPDDR2-800 speeds.

We’re updating as things develop.

iFixit tears down Thunderbolt cable, reveals active parts

As with just about any new Apple product release, iFixit has torn apart the Thunderbolt cable. Why a boring cable?  iFixit has revealed that the new Thunderbolt cable actually has active chips inside, making transfers  faster.

We found two Gennum GN2033 chips in the connector, one on each side. They were flanked by other, much smaller chips that surely added to the cable’s cost: two chips labeled S6A 1JG on one side, and chips labeled 1102F SS8370 and 131 3S on the other. Of course, there were tons of little resistors (providing impedance as needed) all around the larger chips.

Thunderbolt’s release on MacBook Pros and iMacs should be followed by new Macs coming soon. Inside the cable chip housing below Read more