Apple’s new iPad may not be much of an upgrade from earlier Apple tablets, but with a starting price of $329, it is cheaper… and I suppose there’s something nice about getting the same hardware for a lower price.

But the same hardware as what? According to the folks at iFixit, the new iPad is a lot like the original iPad Air under the hood… but it has a newer processor and a brighter screen.


As a repair-focused company, iFixit points out that, like the original iPad Air, the new model has an unfused display assembly makes it easier and more affordable to fix a broken screen.

Since the new tablet also has the same physical dimensions and uses some of the same connectors as the original, you can also can swap some parts:

  • The iPad Air digitizer works in an iPad 5
  • The iPad 5 digitizer works in an iPad Air
  • You can put the iPad 5 LCD in an iPad Air

Both tablets also use the same 32.9 Wh batteries. And you can also put the iPad Air LCD into an iPad 5, but iFixit says the screen will be dim and the home button won’t work.

Speaking of screen brightness though, iFixit does confirm Apple’s claim that the new screen is brighter. In fact, it’s 44 percent brighter than the original iPad Air’s screen.

One other difference? The new model has an Apple A9 processor and 2GB of RAM, while the first-gen iPad Air had an A7 chip and 1GB of memory.

But it’s worth pointing out that we’re comparing this tablet to a model that came out in late 2013. But a year later, Apple released the iPad Air 2 which is thinner, lighter, and has an Apple A8X processor. The transition from that model to the newest iPad is more of a lateral move (you get a slightly faster CPU and a brighter screen, but a thicker, heavier case and lose he laminated, antireflective display).

On the bright side, not only is the new model cheaper, but I suspect we’ll see iPad Air 2 prices continue to fall on eBay now that Apple has lowered the price of an entry-level 9.7 inch iPad.

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