The Apple iPad Air is cheaper to make than the third-generation iPad model, according to preliminary results from an IHS Inc. teardown. It’s also boasts a thinner profile and lighter weight. “While the iPad Air slims down in size, the profit margins are getting fatter,” said Andrew Rassweiler, senior director, cost benchmarking services, IHS, in a statement. “Although the Air’s new, ultrathin display and touch screen are more expensive than for the third-generation iPad, Apple has held the line on cost by taking advantage of price erosion in other areas. Furthermore, the iPad Air leverages the same components and suppliers that are used in the iPhone 5s and 5c as much as possible.”
Here are a few key findings from the IHS teardown. For the complete IHS review, click here.
The Apple iPad Air has a lower BOM than the third-generation iPad introduced last year. (Click image for larger view.)
The iPad Air cuts the weight, thickness, and cost of Apple's flagship tablet.
The iPad Air delivers a 24% reduction in overall volume: -17% glass, -70% touch sensor, -20% retina display, -25% battery and -23% unibody. (Click the image for a larger view.)
The iPad Air with 16 GB of NAND flash memory and cellular connectivity has a BOM of $304, down six percent from a similar 3rd generation iPad. (Click image for a larger view.)
The RF/PA subsystem takes up 40% more surface area in the PCB than the comparable function in the iPhone 5s. (Click the image for a larger view.)
The iPad Air also uses the same A7 processor found in the iPhone 5s, with some variations including a metal top that acts as a heat sink. It also boasts an M7 motion coprocessor, according to Apple, which contributes to the tablet's power efficiency.
The iPad Air's 9.7-inch Retina display is 1.8 -mm thick, and is 20% thinner and 28% lighter than the 4th generation iPad.
The iPad Air’s touch-screen subsystems also contribute to its thinner profile thanks to the use of a more expensive cyclo olephin polymer (COP) film sensor.
Apple reduced the capacity of the battery to 32.9 Wh down 23% from 42.5 Wh in the 3rd generation model.