Preparing to fix iPads

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Based on its history with iPhones, iPods and other gadgets, Mission:Repair of suburban Kansas City is expecting to see its first tragically broken iPad the day after the new Apple tablet computers go one sale. So it has to be ready. Having seen iPads only from afar, Mission:Repair President Ryan Arter says he’s trying to glean as many facts as he can from Apple news and rumor sites, and plans to buy a few iPads as soon as he can, so his technicians can rip them apart.

The following is an edited transcript of my interview with Arter:

ARTER: We have broken our fair share of new products, there’s no doubt about that. That’s how we got to sort of reverse-engineer the assembly and begin to learn how to service these items in the event there is an out-of-warranty failure.

GORDON: Based on your history with other Apple devices what do you see as the possible frailties of the iPad?

ARTER: We’re going to make a couple of assumptions here: The screen and digitizer appear that they’re going to be glass. Like the iPhone, that can crack. There are different ways to make that glass that we know about and hopefully it’ll be tougher than the iPhone. But it’s a large area and when that glass cracks it needs to be replaced. So the installation of the glass will be similar to the iPhone. It will be adhesived down to the frame.

GORDON: When you tear apart that first iPad, what will you be looking for exactly?

ARTER: When we tear apart our first unit we will be disassembling it very slowly and very carefully, keeping cable placement and cable tension in mind. If we can’t open an item without tearing a cable then we just can’t open it. We need to address where the most sensitive components are, i.e. the logic board. We know that the logic boards on any product are the most expensive. They are the one item we don’t want to damage while we’re inside of it performing a repair.

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