Liquid crystal display Stories November 2, 2012

iFixit tears down the fourth-generation Retina iPad, finds LG display

Lines are a little bit shorter than most expect from an Apple product launch, but today Apple’s new iPad lineup, the mini and fourth-generation with Retina, officially go on sale. While the new fourth-generation Retina iPad is not a whole lot different from the iPad 3 it replaced, iFixit has took apart the new iPad to find out the exact changes made on the inside.

A few things of note: iFixit found the LCD is manufactured by LG, as opposed to the likely Samsung-manufactured display found on the iPad mini. We also get a peek at the new A6X and the new Lightning connector. Unfortunately, Apple doesn’t appear to have taken advantage of the potential to save space with the new connector:

Apple didn’t save any space by switching to the smaller Lightning connector (lower); rather they let the Lightning cable sit in a frame the same size as the 30-pin dock connector (upper)… We were hoping that space savings would yield bigger, better speakers. Very disappointing, indeed.

Apart from the slightly upgraded front-facing camera, most other components, such as RAM and the battery, appear to be the same as iPad 3:

Liquid crystal display Stories October 17, 2012

Smartphone parts supplier ETrade Supply just posted alleged leaked OEM parts of the iPad mini’s nearly 8-inch LCD screen and 4490mAh battery.

Apple’s much-discussed iPad mini is set to unveil at the company’s media event next Tuesday, and today’s parts pictures possibly confirm earlier reports and give a sneak peak as to what to expect from the folks in Cupertino.

The device’s display is “about 162mm in length and 124mm in width,” according to ETrade Supply, with a ratio of 4:3. Labeling on the back also indicates LG Display manufactures the part.

Image gallery is below.

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We heard reports in the past that Apple passed on Sharp’s IGZO display tech for the third-generation iPad due to Sharp not having the tech ready in time. Going with Sharp’s IGZO tech would have allowed for a thinner display assembly, a brighter display with less LEDs, and the ability to use a smaller battery or extend battery life specs as a result. It could have also helped shave off some of the increased weight and depth of the new iPad. These are all things we witnessed first hand when we got up close and personal with a few IGZO demos at IFA this year.  Sharp is announcing today its first 7-inch tablet to use the display technology, claiming the 1,280-by-800 IGZO display allows for 2.5 times the battery life from the tablet’s 2,040mAh battery (via ComputerWorld).

With the iPad mini launch coming later this month, it is a possibility the tech is finally ready for Apple to take advantage. Sharp also has 10-inch and 13-inch variants of the IGZO displays, but the 7-inch would of course make a lot of sense for iPad mini given what we already know about the device. Apple’s ability to increase battery life, or simply have the ability to use a smaller battery (in a smaller form factor) while maintaining battery life specs, is just one benefit. Another big benefit for Apple would be narrow borders: rumor has it—which is something we also talked about a lot in the past—the iPad mini will have a much narrower border than previous-generation iPads. Sharp told us its IGZO LCDs can be built with a bezel under 2mm, and it was showing off a demo display with a 1.75mm border at IFA. That would definitely fit the bill for the narrow-border, one-handed experience we expect from iPad mini. expand full story

Liquid crystal display Stories August 20, 2012

I think it is safe to say we are seeing an unprecedented number of upcoming iPhone parts from the supply chain this time around and one of the few remaining parts yet pictured not only started showing up over the weekend…it is also on sale. For $199, you can pick up (update: out of stock) the “iPhone 5” LCD Screen complete with digitizer assembly. The part looks to be a taller 1,136-by-640-pixel display but obviously, “buyers beware.”

UbreakIfix relayed by MacRumors posted the first images of the new iPhone display over the weekend. Perhaps it purchased the display from ChinaGadgetLand—the parts look very similar.

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The ChinaGadgetLand description reads:

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Liquid crystal display Stories August 8, 2012

You might remember a couple months ago when our friends at iFixit tore down the new Retina MacBook Pro. Unfortunately, the device received its lowest repairability score with the company calling it “the least repairable laptop”. While the new MacBooks provide possibly Apple’s least accessible and upgradeable design out of the box, iFixit updated its website today with its official 2012 MacBook Pro Retina repair guide to make it as easy as possible. Fifteen separate installation guides for the AirPort Board, battery, fans, logic board, speakers, SSD, trackpad, etc., are included in the repair guide with one maintenance guide for reapplying thermal paste to the CPU and GPU.

Many components within the laptop can be removed without much fuss, provided folks use the correct tools. Pentalobe screws hold the lower case in place and Torx screws secure everything else. Spudgers and plastic opening tools are absolutely necessary, as many of the components are designed with such tight tolerances that using fingertips is simply not an option.

Fair warning: working on the laptop is no easy task. Some repairs are simply infeasible. For example, there is no way to replace the trackpad without removing the battery. And while it’s possible to remove the battery, chances are high that it will be punctured in the process. Puncturing Lithium-polymer batteries releases noxious fumes and can cause fires. Additionally, removing the LCD glass from the aluminum frame will almost certainly break the glass. So components residing under the LCD — such as the FaceTime camera — will have to be replaced with the entire assembly… Finding replacements for the machine’s proprietary components is currently difficult. We’re working to source parts, but it may take some time.

iFixit also estimated that third-party battery replacements —if done correctly— could cost over $500:

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Liquid crystal display Stories June 20, 2012

iFixit tears down the refreshed MacBook Pro, compares repairability to Retina MBP

Since the introduction of Apple’s refreshed Mac lineup earlier this month, iFixit has torn apart the new machines one at a time starting with the new 13-inch MacBook Air, then the Retina MacBook Pro, and finally the Retina display itself (which it later confirmed is made by Philips). Today, it is venturing inside the refreshed MacBook Pro and comparing it to the Retina model:

As for the tear down itself, iFixit found the refreshed MacBook Pro lineup, which has the same overall design and is largely unchanged on the inside too. More interesting is how the Retina MBP (1/10 repairability score) and refreshed last-gen MBP (7/10 repairability score) compare:

The regular MacBook Pro is always cited first, compared to the MacBook Pro with Retina Display:

* Use of regular vs. proprietary screws. This is a no-brainer in our books — there’s absolutely no benefit from using a proprietary pentalobe screw type in any electronic device, aside from keeping users out of it.

* The battery is exactly the same capacity as last year’s model: 77.5 Wh at 10.95 V. It’s the same size as well, a solid 13.8 mm in thickness. The MacBook Pro with Retina Display’s battery varies in thickness from 5.25 mm to 8.60 mm depending on which cell you measure, and it has a plastic frame around some of the cells. Although the discrepancy is large between the two battery thicknesses, the Retina MacBook Pro’s battery (seen here http://bit.ly/retina_battery) is spread out over a much larger surface area. It would’ve taken some engineering, but Apple could expand the frame in the Retina MacBook Pro to encompass the whole battery, and allow it to come out as a singular, non-glued unit.

* Here’s a big difference: the regular MacBook Pro 2.5″ SATA hard drive is 9.45 mm thick, compared to 3.16 mm for the SSD found in the Retina Display MacBook Pro. But the SSD is one of the few things that is actually removable from the Retina version, and Apple *could* use a non-proprietary mSATA connector so folks could replace the drive with an off-the-shelf unit.

* While the individual RAM modules are thin (~3.15 mm), the “stacked” RAM slots in the regular MacBook Pro are a whopping 9.15 mm thick. Yet the entire Retina MacBook Pro is only 18 mm thick, and allocating half of that dimension to RAM slots would be a big sacrifice. But, an individual RAM slot is only 4.27 mm thick; if the design of the logic board featured the RAM slots side by side (like older MacBooks), folks could still replace their RAM for years to come.

* While the regular MacBook Pro display may not be Retinalicious, a cracked LCD will still be the most expensive repair (aside from the logic board) on this machine. Thankfully, users can replace just the LCD instead of the entire assembly. Incorporating a removable LCD into the MacBook Pro with Retina display would increase the thickness by less than a millimeter, while still preserving the awesome Retina resolution.

* We love the optical drive in the regular MacBook Pro because we appreciate the additional space given by adding a second hard drive (using one of our SATA enclosures: http://bit.ly/sata_enclosure). A significant portion of the weight savings in the Retina MacBook Pro comes from Apple’s removal of the optical drive. While the lack of an optical drive won’t be major imposition for many, the inability to inexpensively add a secondary, high capacity spinning drive is definitely a significant loss in terms of upgradability.

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