New 9.7-inch iPad teardown reveals it's basically an original iPad Air with minor tweaks

iFixit finds that the iPad Air is basically back. It just got a new name.

Apple’s new iPad is actually kind of a throwback.

According to iFixit, the 9.7-inch iPad that Apple unveiled last week is essentially a spruced-up version of the original iPad Air released in 2013. They share the same battery and the same display. There are some minor tweaks, too, including the integration of the third-generation A9 chip and Touch ID capabilities.

Their teardown confirmed our initial suspicions that, specs-wise, this new model is a minor upgrade. The biggest draw of the new iPad is the price. The 32GB model is $329, compared to the previous entry-level iPad Air 2 that went for $399.

The new iPad actually shares more similarities with the original iPad Air than with the iPad Air 2. Which is a good thing, according to iFixit. Like the Air 1, this new iPad has an LCD and digitizer that are unfused, which makes it easier to repair. In fact, iFixit could fit the LCD and digitizer connectors from an Air 1 into the new iPad but haven’t tested if they worked and were actually compatible.

Another near-identical component shared by the iPad and the Air 1 is the display. This finding from the iFixit teardown casts doubt on Apple’s claim of a “brighter 9.7-inch Retina display.”

“Our question is: brighter than what? It doesn’t look that different from the Air 1’s display. If they mean brighter than the Air 2, then that may simply be due to reverting to the unfused display design of the Air 1,” the iFixit folks wrote.

Below is a photo of the new iPad on the left and the original Air on the right. “The iPad 5 is in silver, and... has less tape?”

ipad ipad air 1 teardown iFixit

iPad Air 1 (left) and the new iPad (right)

Of course, there are more significant differences than the amount of tape used to secure the internal components. Most notable is the addition of Touch ID sensor to the Home button on the new iPad.

Why this matters: If you were looking to purchase an iPad Air model, then you basically still can. Not only is the new iPad a slightly upgraded version of the original Air, but it’s cheaper now, too.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags iPad AiriPad Air 2

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Oscar Raymundo

Macworld.com
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Toys for Boys

Skywatcher Dobsonian 8″ Collapsible Telescope

Learn more >

Family Friendly

Whodunnit™ Duo-Scope MFL-007 Microscope Kit

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Logitech Ultimate Ears Wonderboom 2 Bluetooth Speaker

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Brand Post

Scan at 1 Photo per second!

Quickly organise your entire photographic history. Automatically color correct and restore poor condition and even faded photos. And, most importantly easily share your memories with friends and family using your favourite social media applications such as Instagram, Twitter, and more.

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Tom Sellers

MSI P65

This smart laptop was enjoyable to use and great to work on – creating content was super simple.

Lolita Wang

MSI GT76

It really doesn’t get more “gaming laptop” than this.

Jack Jeffries

MSI GS75

As the Maserati or BMW of laptops, it would fit perfectly in the hands of a professional needing firepower under the hood, sophistication and class on the surface, and gaming prowess (sports mode if you will) in between.

Taylor Carr

MSI PS63

The MSI PS63 is an amazing laptop and I would definitely consider buying one in the future.

Christopher Low

Brother RJ-4230B

This small mobile printer is exactly what I need for invoicing and other jobs such as sending fellow tradesman details or step-by-step instructions that I can easily print off from my phone or the Web.

Aysha Strobbe

Microsoft Office 365/HP Spectre x360

Microsoft Office continues to make a student’s life that little bit easier by offering reliable, easy to use, time-saving functionality, while continuing to develop new features that further enhance what is already a formidable collection of applications

Featured Content

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?