The repair site iFixit seems to have solved one of the main mysteries related to the 10th generation iPad in its latest teardown video.
When Apple announced the new iPad in October, reviewers were baffled and frustrated by Apple’s decision to support the 1st generation Apple Pencil (traditionally in 2015) instead of the superior 2nd generation model released in 2018. This was a particularly odd choice because the iPad itself switched from Lightning to USB-C, which meant using a dongle to charge or pair the stylus.
There’s been a lot of speculation about why Apple chose this strategy, including a rumor that a more capable 3rd generation Apple Pencil was originally supposed to launch at the same time. But most people assumed the decision had something to do with the new position of the iPad’s front-facing camera, which now sits on the same edge where the 2nd generation Apple Pencil would attach magnetically when charging.
By opening up the tablet’s chassis and revealing the positions of the magnets and camera unit, iFixit’s teardown seems to confirm this theory.
“The claim is that Apple couldn’t put the wireless charging unit for the Pencil Gen 2 here because that’s where the landscape camera is now, and as we can see, it appears to be,” the presenter explains. “As it stands, the magnets on the Apple Pencil Gen 2 don’t quite match the magnets on the iPad 10.
“If [the wireless charging coil] if you were moved down, you could theoretically have a pencil attached here, but then the wireless charging coil would interfere with the placement of the magnet. It’s a bit of a Catch 22 and it’s something Apple engineers are no doubt working to figure out.”
Elsewhere, iFixit gives a mixed verdict on the interior design of the latest iPad. The site maintains its strongest criticism for the repairability of the USB-C ribbon, which is “welded onto the logic board, which is a huge design flaw. Components exposed to high mechanical wear must always be modular.”
iFixit notes that this isn’t a new flaw with Apple’s tablets, but is still disappointed that Apple hasn’t improved things.