Practice English Speaking&Listening with: 12.9” iPad Pro 2020 Teardown: What does the LiDAR scanner look like?

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You may have heard California is in lockdown, and while that means all the majority of us

iFixit employees are sheltering in place in our homes, it hasnt stopped Apple from

releasing new products, and it wont stop us from tearing them down!

Earlier this week we opened up the new 2020 MacBook Air and found a couple minor changes

to the internal layout that were actually very repair-friendly!

There wasnt much else to see there though, aside from the new magic keyboard, so we took

a couple of pictures, wrote up a blog and called it a day.

You can see that post over at iFixit.com.

Today something a little more interesting arrived at our bunker: the brand new 12.9

inch iPad Pro.

Its the iPad Apple says could be your next computer.

With a new A12Z Bionic chip that Apple claims outperforms most laptop processors, and a

new camera system that includes a lidar scanner, there's plenty of new tech for us to investigate

here.

iPads have always been a pain to take apart, but with so much time on our hands, what else

are we going to do?

We heat up the display adhesive with our handy-dandyheat gun” (thank you quarantine), then

use opening picks to cut through it.

Once the display is free, were met with a puzzle: but its the same puzzle we found

in the 2018 iPad Pro, actually.

Two cables about 2.5 inches long attach the display to the logic board, one from near

the top of the iPad and one near the bottom.

Both of the cables connectors are covered with screwed-on shields so accessing them

is almost impossible.

Good thing weve been playing a lot of Zelda with our time in quarantine, this puzzle is

no match for us!

The solution is to slightly rotate the iPad to reveal a connector with a bracket on the

back of the display, remove the bracket, unstick the cables and you finally have enough room

to access the screwed on shield.

Remove the screws and disconnect the cables and then you have access to the second shield

at the top of the iPad.

Next we head straight for the good stuff: the new camera module.

The cameras and the lidar scanner come out as one big assembly, held in place with a

few screws.

Here we can see the 12 MP wide camera, the 10 MP ultra-wide camera, and the shiny new

LiDAR scanner, all present and accounted for.

Lets take a look at that LiDAR scanner.

LiDAR (or Light Detection and Ranging) works sort of like the TrueDepth FaceID camera,

bouncing infrared light off of objects like tables or fat cats to capture depth information.

The human eye cant see the lasers it uses, but our infrared camera sure can

Its interesting to note that the iPad Pros Lidar sensor doesnt use as many projections

as the true depth camera on the iPhone, just look how sparse the LiDAR laser grid is compared

to the FaceID grid.

Fewer points of light mean less information, which explains why the AR capabilities on

the iPad still arent perfect when it comes to occlusion or detecting narrow surfaces.

Thats okay though, because it doesnt really need the same precision as FaceID since

its mapping room-scale objects, not identifying a specific person's face.

Its likely a tradeoff: fewer data points means less precision, but better sustained

AR performance and battery life.

Like the rear cameras, the front-facing cameras come out in one assembly.

This is the same basic hardware we've seen since iPhone XIR dot projector, selfie

camera, and IR camera.

Its slightly modified from the iPhone configuration to fit in the iPad, but its identical to

the array we fished out of the last iPad we tore down.

Moving along!

Back at the bottom of this iPad, were relieved to find that the usb c port is still modular.

Its not much for a device this problematic to work on, but hey, its something.

And that brings us to the end of the (relatively) pleasant portion of this teardown.

From here on out its glue and booby traps, starting with the Logic board.

Like most iPad logic boards, this one is strongly glued in place.

Making matters worse, several cables lay underneath it, potentially spelling disaster should the

prying get even a little sloppy.

The adhered logic board wouldnt be such an issue if it didnt need to be removed

for a battery replacement, but alas, here we are.

On the logic board, we spot the new A12Z processor paired with 6 GB of RAM, a nice bump up from

last years 4 GB.

Its been over a year since we discovered the stretch-release adhesive tabs on the 2018

iPad Pros battery, and we are still scratching our heads as to why Apple would include removal

tabs for some, but not all of the adhesive under their iPad Pro batteries.

This iPad is no exception, and is indifferent to our queries as we pull out the isopropyl

alcohol and plastic cards to release the last stubborn strip of adhesive along the left

side of the battery

This battery has the same 36.59 watt hour capacity as the 2018 iPad Pro,

And thats the end of this stay-at-home teardown.

Definitely an incremental update for the iPad Pro!

While iPad users will enjoy more RAM and a fancy new LiDAR camera, iPad fixers are still

stuck with pretty abysmal repair procedures.

Whether youre replacing the battery, the screen, or even just the USB-C port, youre

in for lots of adhesive and some precarious prying.

That said, you wont be surprised to hear that the early 2020 iPad Pro scores a 3 out

of 10 on our repairability scale.

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