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back to article Inside the iPad mini: Pray you never have to open one

It's no wonder why the iPad mini assemblers at Foxconn rioted – its innards are fiendishly complex and tightly packed. Well, to be honest, we don't really know if the iPad mini's complexity contributed to those Chinese workers dissatisfaction, but if what the tool-parts-and-repair folks at iFixit discovered when they …

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Anonymous Coward

Why does everyone moan that you can't get such a thing open?

My car is bloody hard to repair but do I moan?

Do people moan that their TV, Microwave, Dishwashers are hard to open and repair? nope. They're appliances just like an iPad is.

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I think you would be pretty pissed off if your car needed a new wheel and you couldn't replace it. TV's and such are probably repaired by people who enjoy doing that kind of stuff, computer geeks really should get turned on by being able to replace component X when it decides to give up the ghost rather than throw away a £400 object because a £20 thingy inside threw a bit of a wobbly.

Dishwashers and TV's (as well as washing machines and fridges etc.) are usually repaired by a bloke called Bob who can take out a faulty part and replace it (unless it's not economical to do so), small appliances like microwaves are possibly not economically (or safety) viable to be taken apart to replace some stuff.

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Thumb Down

"My car is bloody hard to repair but do I moan?"

Erm, it's generally not. As for the rest of your examples, nope, they're not too hard to open and repair either.

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Do people moan that their TV, Microwave, Dishwashers are hard to open and repair?

No, because they are not. Half the time you can do a repair with one screwdriver.

Replacing the battery on my iPod was a bitch.

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@AC "My car is bloody hard to repair but do I moan?"

You should get one like mine... The designers thoughtfully put a large hatch above the engine which opens when I pull a lever under the dashboard. Genius!

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Facepalm

You never had a Renault Megane then?

You had to take the tyre off just to change a headlight bulb. One step ahead of Apple who would insist you bought a whole new car I suppose.

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FAIL

Do people moan that their TV, Microwave, Dishwashers are hard to open and repair? nope.

TVs, microwave (ovens) and dishwashers are a doodle to open and repair with a standard set of screwdrivers and a multimeter. It may not be worth the hassle since the cost of the replacement part may exceed the cost of buying a new unit, but still technically extremely easy. There is actually a whole lot of semi-charity businesses that specialize in collecting "dead"/outdated appliances, getting them repaired by unskilled, minimally-trained ex-prisonners, ex-hobos or disabled people, and selling the repaired units at low cost. Their "catalogs" usually include TVs, microwave ovens, stoves, dishwashers, washing machines, dryers, vacuum cleaners, and the like. They get around the issue of the cost of replacement parts by taking working parts out of dead units to fix the less-dead ones. Any minimally-trained hobo provided with a screwdriver, a multimeter and a soldering iron can do it (and yes, the result is dependable; that's how I got all my appliances when I was a student).

That is also how I get the lab's rather more high-tech equipment going in these times of scarce funding (but that takes a "bit" more knowledge than what is needed to repair a dishwasher).

There is a significant overlap between the "Save-Mother-Gaya" category of people and the "If it's 3 years old it goes to the bin" category of people, and a lot of the overlap is comprised of Apple apologists.

What was your point again?

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Anonymous Coward

Right so how many people would replace a defective turbocharger - you might open the bonnet to check the oil or top up the washer fluid but for over 99% of people that's as far as it goes. All these devices (and it's not just Apple) can be repaired by someone who knows what they are doing and has the right tools - i.e. same as your local car garage.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Do people moan that their TV, Microwave, Dishwashers are hard to open and repair? nope.

"TVs, microwave (ovens) and dishwashers are a doodle to open and repair with a standard set of screwdrivers and a multimeter."

There you have it. I suspect most people do not even own a multimeter / know what one is - let alone a soldering iron and the required skills.

Apple apologists - it's hardly 'only' Apple and in reality their stuff tends to be supported / lasts longer anyway.

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Anonymous Coward

@AC 21:02 be careful

Don't suggest things like levers to open service access ports, next thing you know you'll be getting letters from Apple lawyers through the door because they had them first, with rounded corners.

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Unhappy

Just a question

Is there a reason why you guys all post as anonymous?

Seriously, it sometimes looks like one of you anons want to discuss a separate point but in the end it's all lost in the generic anonymous soup.

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Anonymous Coward

Batteries - which need replacing

Lithium polymer batteries have got a life of about three years, and their capacity drops each year. It takes about 5 minutes to replace a car battery, a minute to replace the battery on a remote control, and five minutes to replace the battery on a Blackberry or Samsung phone, including the power down and power up. Not so on an iDevice.

The battery is designed to be hard to replace and, in the case of this iPad mini, very obviously so. This gives iPhones and the like a three year life.

One reason that Blackberry gets a negative perception is that there are still so many ancient BBs soldiering on. I've just passed on to an OAP a 2006 Nokia phone in excellent condition and more than adequate for her needs, having been able to get a new replacement battery for it for £3.

Samsung tablets and phones have easily swappable batteries. The new Asus Padfone and the Blackberry Playbook can easily have batteries replaced with a simple tool. There is simply no excuse for requiring a complete dismantle - including glue - just to replace a battery.

It would be possible for Apple to use lithium iron batteries which are safer, if slightly larger, and have a realistic 5 to 7 year life, so don't tell me this isn't built in obsolescence.

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Re: Do people moan that their TV, Microwave, Dishwashers are hard to open and repair? nope.

"getting them repaired by unskilled, minimally-trained ex-prisonners, ex-hobos or disabled people"

It's interesting that you think disabled people fit into this little stereotype of hobos and ex-prisoners, Pierre.

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Anonymous Coward

I've repaired my fridge, dishwasher, wifes car, tv, and a control board on the boiler after the plumber told us what part it was but basically refused to come back for a week to actually fit it after letting us do the leg work of getting old of it.

(Anon as working on boilers, with when your just replacing an eletronic coponent with molex type connectors is forbidden).

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Boffin

"Right so how many people would replace a defective turbocharger "?

That's not really the point, is it? Most people do not repair their own cars, so the question is, "how easy is it for a competent mechanic to replace a defective turbocharger?"

By the very nature of El Reg, a good proportion of readers will have both the interest and the competence to service their own computing equipment and replace some parts, but this is a lot less (or even at all) possible with iKit.

And seeing that someone mentioned cars, this IS a gripe I have with cars. My dad's old car, pop open the bonnet and all the innards were there, I could see every components and know what it did. Pretty much every screw was a standard flat or Philips (cross), and every nut or bolt was a standard hexagon. Modern car engines are packaged much more tightly and use all sort of esoteric screw and bolt heads just so that you have to take it to a garage to do teh simplest servicing. And that's not even mentioning the electronics...

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Anonymous Coward

Re: You never had a Renault Megane then?

So, do you have to disassemble most of your Megane to change the battery?

Because that would be a better analogy...

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Go

Re: You never had a Renault Megane then?

No you don't, you just need to go to a garage where they have a 'specialist'**

** specialist == fellow with strangely long arms.

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Vic
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> Right so how many people would replace a defective turbocharger

I would. As would most of my mates.

> top up the washer fluid but for over 99% of people that's as far as it goes

No. that's as far as it goes for people who've never been in the situation where, if they don't fix it, nobody else will.

Most things are easily fixed if you've a mind to do so. Apple kit is exceptional, in that it is very hard to get into it to fix.

Vic.

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Coat

Re: Just a question

If only there was a Chrome/Firefox Reg. forum add-on to filter out anons, bad speling, errors grammar and bad apostrophe's. cf. YouTube comment snob.

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I think your typewriter/keyboard needs repairing.

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Paris Hilton

@ Lexxy

"It's interesting that you think disabled people fit into this little stereotype of hobos and ex-prisoners, Pierre."

I do not think (too tiresome). These outfit are litterally staffed by minimally-trained ex-prisonners, ex-hobos or disabled people. They even make a big fuss about it. That is their very raison d'être.

It's interesting that you think I meant otherwise, Lexxy.

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Anonymous Coward

uncertain battery power

hook it up to a load and measure current/voltage against time?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: uncertain battery power

Or don't give a damn just worry about the runtime.

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Nice try with the Chinese but ...

My wife tells me that your Chinese translation of "I'm mad as hell and I'm not going to take it anymore!" is okay for the first part, but the second part has the rough sense of "I am not going to pick up this item or take up this thing anymore". Ha ha, lost in translation. Glad that Google maps are more reliable.

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Re: Nice try with the Chinese but ...

Yeah, I think Google Translate short-changed Rik on the verb. I would think that something like 我不打算继续下去了! would make more sense for the second half.

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Re: Nice try with the Chinese but ...

Yeah, ends up coming back as "Ino longer tolerate, I do not intend to put it." The joys of translation!

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Anonymous Coward

Wonderful how people like Amazon 'guess' and get it wrong - wonder how long before they fix that?

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Technically

If the speakers are fed from a single channel then it's monaural not stereo. That said, I can't imagine why they would include a second speaker and neglect stereo output when I assume the necessary circuit is already there for the headphone jack.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Technically

From Apple's tech specs page about the iPad mini, in the "TV and Video" subsection: "... 48kHz, stereo audio in .m4v, .mp4, and .mov file formats ... 48kHz, stereo audio in .m4v, .mp4, and .mov file formats ... PCM stereo audio in .avi file format."

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Technically

The other issue is that the speakers have to be far enough away in order to be stereo. Sure two speakers are required but if they are too close, you can't tell the difference between the right and the left channel. If you have two speaker straight in front of you, could you tell the left and right channel? It would sound the same as a mono speaker in the same place.

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Re: wonder how long before they fix that?

My guess is, they won't. I don't have a horse in this sorry excuse for a steeple-chase, but Apple started that with their steady "the specs don't matter, we offer better user experience" stance* that they episodically spice up with "our specs are actually better than the competition's"**.

When the "leader" in the field engages in baseless banter, downright libel, and generalized bamboozlment (Apple vs Samsung anyone?***), you can't really blame the upcomers for trying a watered-down version of the same.

With the latest row of failed patent lawsuits all around the world including an upcoming major slap in the US, traditionnally its stronghold, Apple's new clothes seem more and more see-through to the rest of the industry, and I doubt that Amazon will ever back down even if the original claim proves false.

--

* which may make sense, for a category of users I wish I could avoid. As for me I like to make my own "user experience", thank you very much.

** demonstrably wrong most of the time but you can't blame slimy marketting people for being slimy: that's what they are paid for. True for Apple's as for anyone else's.

*** not to mention the cherry-picked comparisons with a 5-month-old competitor product when launching a new gizmo... hello iPhone5, so you're saying you're kinda sorta better than an Galaxy S3 in some ways -most of which are design-based, some would say "slavishly" inspired by the "far more popular" S3-, and that's your main selling point, 5 month late in a year-based release market? Way to innovate.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: speakers have to be far enough away in order to be stereo

Like the speakers in the Transformer Prime are separate channels, but are next to each other and on the back, so any stereo separation is completely lost.

Both PlayBook and Galaxy Tab have speakers on the front, Kindle fire has speakers on the sides. All are well separated.

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Joke

OK, that is one ripped apart.

Only a few million more to go then...

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Anonymous Coward

How many of these tablets (from any maker) are genuinely easy to repair - basically not for the average joe.

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"Nexus 7 Repairability Score: 7 out of 10 (10 is easiest to repair)"

The iPad mini gets a 2.

They say "Battery replacement can be accomplished without soldering—or even a screwdriver." for the Nexus 7. I've replaced iPod batteries and it's a bugger of a job.

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Anonymous Coward

... and next I'll just rip my car apart for the hell of it - oh no maybe I'll just take it to the garage like 99.9% of everyone else.

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What...

...just to check the sparkplugs?

U crazy bro?

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Re: What...

The iPad doesn't have any spark plugs! But seriously, its covered by at least a two year guarantee as a condition of being sold in the EU, and the only 'repairs' that can realistically be made to this class of device are swapping out dead components for new ones... you'd have to be very skilful to repair an issue on the main PCB, and good luck getting hold of a spare CPU.

I'd be interested in seeing how many of these things do fail between years 2 and 4 of use, just so an even handed cost / benefit analysis can be made of allowing the enthusiastic repairman have a go.

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Anonymous Coward

Related Headlines

Inside The Porsche 911: Pray You Never Have To Drop The Engine

Inside Your Head: Pray You Never Have To Remove A Section Of Your Skull

Inside Windows 7: Pray You never Have To Troubleshoot Error #3715

and many other things you'll never attempt...except for that last one. Ugh.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Related Headlines

Well, after the last one, you'll feel like attempting the second one. You may even feel like combining all three:

"Inside Windows 7: Troubleshooting error #3715 leads to attempting to remove a section of your skull by dropping a Porsche 911 engine onto it"

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Related Headlines

"Inside The Porsche 911: Pray You Never Have To Drop The Engine"

Why? Is it because it takes a whole 45 minutes?

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Re: Related Headlines

I did not run the numbers and I do not own a 911 (unfortunately) but 45 minutes to drop the engine seems pretty sharp. I was expecting double that at least, based on less-sophisticated cars I had to deal with.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Related Headlines

Surely the Porsche 911 has a racing heritage, and speed of servicing is very important in endurance races.

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Vic
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Re: Related Headlines

> I did not run the numbers and I do not own a 911 (unfortunately)

Nor I.

> but 45 minutes to drop the engine seems pretty sharp

Depends.

The 911 is heavily influenced by its Beetle heritage. There are extra supports, but the main mount to the gearbox, is similar, I believe.

I used to be able to do a clutch replacement on a Beetle in about 35 minutes...

Vic.

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Pint

Where is the GPS chip again?

Just wondering...

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Where is the GPS chip again?

GPS in the 3G model - unless you get lost in your house?

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Re: Where is the GPS chip again?

And where's the GPS in MS Surface RT..?

From www.theregister.co.uk/2012/10/26/surface_review/

"Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.0 are included, but not GPS or mobile broadband – two omissions which have caused disappointment among some potential early adopters."

Surprising lack of complaints about this in the comments...

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Where is the GPS chip again?

"And where's the GPS in MS Surface RT..?

[...]

Surprising lack of complaints about this in the comments..."

That would require people to summon up the enthusiasm to care about the MS Surface, which may be asking a lot right now.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Where is the GPS chip again?

If you plump for the wifi model is GPS really an issue - sure would be nice to have but almost all of these will spend their time at home / work where there is wifi - hardly outside where there often is not? I mean if you are sitting in starbucks you know where you are so GPS has almost no value - if you are up a hill you would not have internet anyway so probably no mapping. Unless you bought specific mapping software in which case you would probably have bought the specific model WITH GPS (and 4G).

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Re: If you plump for the wifi model ... will spend their time at home

Wrong, you can enable WiFi Access Point on some 3G/4G phones, and there are portable WiFi/3G/EV-DO routers powered by pair of 18650 batteries for example.

I for one am certainly tired having to maintain and regularly pay for several SIM, microSIM and R-UIM cards in every goddamn device, and I think I only need one in my phone, which I ought to exchange for WiFi AP capable model long time ago

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