Good news: The iPad Pro 13 is a bit more repairable

Bad news? The Apple Pencil Pro is *not*

The Apple iPad Pro 13 has a secret lurking within its sleek lines. A battery that is not nightmarishly hard to replace. Relatively.

iPad Pro 13 with screen removed

iPad Pro 13 Internals (pic: iFixit) - click to enlarge

It has often been said that Apple's genius was in persuading customers that it was OK to have a device that needed daily recharging. Similarly, the company also persuaded customers that making a consumable like the battery very difficult to get at was OK if it meant the hardware could become ever-thinner.

With the iPad Pro 13, it appears that the trend might be reversing, be it due to repairability pressure from regulators or creativity from Apple's engineers. We're not back to the point where changing a battery could be achieved with a mere fingernail, but according to iFixit, we are heading in the right direction.

Apple's newest shiny iThing was torn apart by iFixit over the weekend. "This repair is not going to be for the faint of heart," iFixit's Shahram Mokhtari noted as the delicate Ultra Retina panel was carefully removed to reveal the device's internals.

The good news is that after levering off the screen, getting at the power source of the device is a simple matter of removing a few screws and brackets rather than a wholesale dismantling. Considering how thin the iPad Pro 13 is, kudos has to go to Apple's engineers for coming up with a design that made the battery relatively (compared to previous iterations) simple to change.

Mokhtari noted: "This is a huge win for the simple reason that we can see legislation and public opinion finally affecting change in our consumer products.

"Remember, this is a 'size zero' device that's the thinnest thing Apple has ever produced and yet they still prioritized the replacement of the battery in their designs. If that isn't a win, I don't know what is."

Sadly, however, that pursuit of thinness has meant plenty of other internal components have been glued down since there is no space for screws. Try to remove the speakers? They probably won't survive the experience. Yank out the daughterboard? It could easily bend. And so on.

Apple giveth and Apple taketh away. And goodness, the Apple Pencil Pro is a prime example of something that is most definitely not repairable, at least not with the tools that iFixit has in its toolbox. Mokhtari said, "It's a disposable piece of crap once the battery dies."

"That is a huge shame because it's an amazing little tool that unfortunately favors smooth lineless aesthetics over longevity."

While iFixit has yet to assign a repairability score, things are looking up for the iPad Pro 13, thanks to a battery that is not a nightmare to replace for someone with the correct skills and tools.

The shine of that ease of repair is dulled somewhat by the compromises required to squeeze in other components in pursuit of an ever-thinner device, whether that is something consumers care about or not.

This writer would prefer a slightly bulkier device with a battery that can be changed without special tools or talent for dismantling. But that's not really what the iPad Pro 13 is all about. ®

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