We know that Apple didn't change much feature- or looks-wise on its newest iPad, but it turns out, not much has changed on the inside, either. iFixit published its teardown of the new device this morning, and the inside looks almost identical to the inside of last year’s iPad. iFixit notes that it’s even pretty similar to the first-generation iPad Air from 2013.
The takeaway from all this is that the new iPad isn’t going to be any easier to repair than prior generations, which were already borderline unrepairable. And while modern Apple products have never been known for being repair-friendly — Apple likes to glue and lock-down as many pieces as possible, in part to get its devices so sturdy and thin — it stands out more on this model because the company specifically wants it to end up in schools.
If an iPad breaks, there’s almost no chance that a district will be able to repair it in-house; whereas on cheaper Chromebooks, there’s a possibility an IT team could open them up to make some basic fixes. It’s a weak point that it’s hard to see Apple ever addressing. And since schools aren’t exactly forgiving environments for a lent-out device, how well the iPad holds up to drops and dings, and how expensive it is to fix, are bound to be factors in a school’s decision on which devices to adopt.