The iPad 2 is thinner (by 0.16”), lighter (by 130g) and smaller (by 0.03m H and 0.04m W) in comparison to its first generation counterpart. Along with that comes an all new, custom-designed Apple A5 dual-core processor churning out 1GHz of power, the inclusion of two cameras and a three-axis gyroscope. Screen and battery life remain identical. So when iFixit took on the challenge of tearing down the iPad 2, what else was there to be found? Let’s find out.

“Prior to starting the teardown, we guessed that the glass front panel was no longer held in place by tabs. We were correct. The new tapered edge on the iPad 2 prevents any kind of tabs from being used; instead, Apple engineers used generous helpings of adhesive to keep the front glass in place” writes Miroslav Djuric, Director of Technical Communication at iFixit. “Consequently,” he warns, “the front panel is very difficult to remove – it’s nearly impossible to open the iPad 2 without shattering the glass.” In terms of screen replacement, the iPad 1’s tab-equipped assembly made it a whole lot easier for a self-repair job. It looks like the same job on an iPad 2 is now a near impossibility.

Once the team were able to remove the glass, it was noted that both the LCD and glass thickness were smaller in comparison to iPad 1. Whilst this does provide a number of advantages, notably the reduced thickness and weight of the device, it may reduce its overall durability. “We’ll see in due time if the percentage of folks with broken iPad 2 front glass is dramatically different than that of the original iPad” writes Miroslav.

What wasn’t mentioned in the keynote address – or in the current technical specifications page of iPad 2 – is that the device contains 512MB of RAM, double the amount of iPad 1. This should do wonders when it comes to more powerful applications like iMovie and Garageband, the latter of which frequently leaves you waiting as it “optimizes performance” on iPad 1.

Overall, iPad 2 is as different underneath as it is on the surface: subtle differences, significant changes. Here’s a teardown video, along with select screenshots, for your enjoyment:

130g lightness refers to iPad 1 3G (80g if referring to iPad 1 Wi-Fi). Dimensions and weight courtesy of Wikipedia.

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