Sunday, October 26, 2014

iPad mini 3 teardown: NFC controller, glued Touch ID and more!

Along with the iPad Air 2, Apple has also launched the iPad mini 3. The new iPad mini variant comes with rather minimal upgrades – limited internal improvements, gold colour option and fingerprint scanner. iFixit, known to dissect devices and reveal what it holds within has now got its hands on the new Apple iPad mini 3.
In its report, iFixit shows that the iPad mini 3 comes with several parts that we’ve seen in its successor, the iPad mini 2. Now, this isn’t surprising, considering the limited upgrades. Some of these common features include a similar 7.9-inch display, A7 processor,  M7 coprocessor, 5-megapixel camera and support for 802.11n Wi-Fi.
One will find the 65V10 NFC controller manufactured by NXP that is also seen in iPad Air 2. This new addition is to help implement the Apple Pay feature. However, there is no NFC antenna that allows the mini 3 to make payments within stores.
Macrumours points out, “Though the iPad mini 3 and the iPad Air 2 are not able to make payments within stores, they can make Apple Pay payments within participating apps and thus utilize both the Secure Element and Device Account Numbers.” The Secure Element is a chip that stores encrypted Device Account Numbers that replace credit card numbers for security reasons, adds the report.
The home button bracket is glued to the front panel assembly, which makes Touch ID and Home button repairs extremely difficult. “Yes—that is hot glue, holding the home button bracket to the front panel. Good luck transferring that to your replacement glass. (Which you’re going to have to do, to keep the Touch ID functionality after a cracked screen repair.),” the iFixit report states.
This means, in order to keep Touch ID functionality after a screen replacement, one will have no choice but to transfer the home button to the new front panel.
The iPad mini 3 gets the same, low  2 out of 10 repairability score as seen in the previous iteration. Read the complete iFixit report here.

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