iPads have consistently failed our repairability tests—but now that Apple’s grooming their iPad 6 for school, they’ll need more than a lucky #2 Apple Pencil to get past admissions. School is a brutal place for electronics—they need to be long-lived and fixable on the cheap for most education budgets. Sounds like our kind of device!

Turns out the iPad 6 does inherit the same non-fused display and digitizer glass from the iPad 5. They’re air-gapped and individually replaceable in the event of drop damage, lowering the average cost of repairs. But here’s where the iPad 6 gets a “Needs Improvement”. Unlike the lauded (by us) command strip stickies securing the battery in the 12.9” Pro, here a solid barrier of tough adhesive turns a simple battery replacement into an advanced repair. Adding up zero waterproofing + a non-replaceable charging port + zero upgradability + glue throughout = repair nightmare. And don’t say you can’t make a repairable tablet, because others have proven that you can. Apple’s “education” iPad is still a case of won’t—not can’t—so we graded it accordingly, at 2 out of 10 on our repairability scale.

Manta Driver Kit (112 Bit Driver Toolkit) coming soon!

iPad 6 Teardown highlights:

  • We spy with our little eye the same 32.9 Wh battery of the iPad 5 (better than the promised 32.4). That bests the 27.6 Wh iPad Air 2 and the 27.9 Wh iPad Pro 9.7″ (all of which are outpaced by the Surface Pro 4’s 38.2 Wh reservoir).
  • Our guess is the new Pencil support comes courtesy of the dual Broadcom touchscreen controller ICs, found here and in previous Pro-grade iPads.
  • Everyone is losing it over our oh-so-educational internal wallpapers, so we’re making more! Ta-da: iPad 6 internal wallpaper and x-ray wallpaper.

Director of Communications at iFixit. Sometimes I tweet here: @kaykayclapp

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