iPad 3G Teardown Reveals LCD Frame As An Antenna; Improved GPS Processor And More
A critical aspect of a media consumption mobile device like the iPad is its battery life. A tear-down of the newly launched iPad 3G offers interesting insights into the several innovations Apple has incorporated into the latest iPad model that could help in better network reception and would thus ultimately help in making an optimal usage of iPad's battery.
Folks at iFixit have published results from their latest tear-down that looks into the critical differentiators in the new iPad Wi-Fi + 3G model
Black RF Window:
One noticeable feature in the new iPad 3G model is the presence of a black RF window on top of the device. The black plastic window is offered to ensure better antenna reception on the iPad. Significantly, the presence of an RF window on top also means the procedure for opening iPad 3G would differ from iPad's Wi-Fi only model. Unlike the Wi-Fi only version where the display can be separated using the notches on top, the iPad 3G model will require the opening to be done from the right side of the panel. While this difference is irrelevant to a majority of the users, it is an interesting pointer for those who might want to take a look into the interior framework of the Apple tablet.
As with the Wi-Fi only version of the iPad, the 3G enabled version too is equipped with two antennas to enable Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity. One of the antenna is located beneath the Apple logo while the second one is located to the left of the dock connector. The iPhone 3G model comes with 3 additional antennas to help with GPS and 3G connectivity. The black RF Window on top of the iPad houses two of these antennas, one each to assist with reception of 3G and GPS signals. A third antenna is attached to the LCD frame, which ensures better cell reception. iFixit notes that the entire LCD frame is built to be used as an antenna.
Another addition to the 3G enabled iPad model is the Infineon 337S3754 PMB 8878 X-Gold IC 3G baseband processor. You may note that this is same as the processor that is used in iPhone 3GS.
As we had noted in our article comparing the GPS capabilities of iPad 3G and iPhone 3GS, the superior performance of GPS on iPad 3G is due to the presence of the Broadcom BCM4750UBG Single-Chip AGPS Solution. In contrast, the iPhone 3GS is equipped with an Infineon Hammerhead II package.
Innovations such as an LCD attached antenna and incorporation of better performing GPS chips have drastically improved the performance of iPad 3G over iPhone 3GS. Considering these positive developments, we hope Apple will incorporate these changes in iPhone 4G when the device is launched later this year.
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