M4 iPad Pro teardown shows the M4 processor and Apple Logo heat spreader in the flesh — scores points for being repairable, too

Apple hasn’t always been the friendliest company in terms of third-party and self-repair options. However, the YouTube channel Phone Repair Guru recently did a teardown of the M4 iPad Pro, Cupertino’s latest tablet. The disassembly process seemed a bit straightforward this time, with the creator commenting, “This is so much easier than how it used to be.”

Suhaib El-Komy, who owns the Phone Repair Guru YouTube channel, is a Canada-based YouTube creator who focuses on creating videos that show him repairing smartphones, tablets, and other electronics. In the teardown video, we see El-Komy open the 13-inch iPad Pro M4 to reveal its internals and see how Apple managed to cram so much technology in such a thin package.

The 13-inch iPad Pro was launched on May 7, 2024, at Apple’s ‘Let Loose’ event. During the launch, the company boasted that the new 13-inch iPad Pro with the M4 chip is its thinnest device ever. The iPad Pro is just 5.1 mm, or about three pennies thick, making it the thinnest Apple product.

It brings to mind the iPhone 6 Plus, launched in 2014, which suffered from the ‘Bendgate’ controversy — where the phone would unintentionally bend when placed in tight places like the back pocket of a pair of jeans. The issue blew to the point that Apple boycotted a German tech publication because it posted a video showing the host intentionally bending a 6 Plus with his bare hands.

Apple’s new tablet included an internal shield that protected the central motherboard and added strength to the iPad, preventing a future ‘Bendgate’ problem. This addition made it pretty difficult to bend the 13-inch tablet when held in landscape. Even JerryRigEverything found it impressive, as he failed to fold the tablet vertically with his bare hands even after applying significant pressure (though he did damage the tablet’s seal around the screen). However, the tablet quickly gave up when he folded it horizontally, as the USB-C port became the weak point that broke the device.

Aside from providing strength, the shield also helped dissipate heat from the powerful M4 chip and the tablet’s other components. Another exciting feature of the new tablet is how it uses the Apple logo on the backside of the iPad as a heat sink. That’s because the logo has copper, allowing it to efficiently extract heat from the SoC and radiate it into the air.

Apple has made self-repair much more accessible these past few years, and this new iPad seems to show its commitment to that. El-Komy says, “Thiteardownwn has been enjoyable so far, and the removable pull tabs on the battery are icing on the cake. Assuming everything on here isn’t serialized to oblivion, this device is pretty repairable.”

However, the tablet’s advantage in terms of ease of repair could be negated if the company serializes everything, making it difficult to conduct repairs without using expensive Apple parts. While we understand that the company needs to do this for crucial elements like the motherboard, we hope that the process of moving parts from one device to another will become much easier.

The 13-inch iPad Pro M4 is a good change, especially for consumers fighting for their right to repair their devices. With this tablet, Apple seems to be taking a step in the right direction — let us hope that other companies follow suit, allowing for cheaper repairs and helping us reduce our e-waste output.

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