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Apple managed to significantly reduce the thickness and weight of
the iPad 2 compared to the first edition iPad by trimming the
dimensions of several key components, most notably the battery, an IHS
iSuppli teardown analysis revealed. The total thickness of the iPad 2
is 8.8 millimeters (0.35 inches), down 34 percent from 13.4 millimeters
(0.5 inches) for the original iPad. The iPad 2 weighs about 600 grams,
down 15 percent from 700 grams for the first iPad.

The biggest reduction in thickness came in the iPad 2’s
battery subsystem, according to the teardown report. This section in
the iPad 2 is 2.5 millimeters thick, a 59 percent reduction from 6.1
millimeters for the first-generation iPad. “This refinement to the iPad
design spurred a 10 to 15 percent increase in its iPad 2 power density,
which is a measure of battery life relative to the mass of the
battery,” the report said. “It shrinks the iPad 2’s weight by 5 grams,
while still delivering the same battery lifetime.”

Another factor contributing to the thinner form factor was the
elimination of a stamped sheet metal frame from the display. This
slashed the size of the display subsystem to 2.5 millimeters, down 17
percent from 3 millimeters for the iPad 1, the report noted. On the
touch screen overlay, Apple has adopted a new glass technology that
allows it to reduce the thickness of the section while maintaining
durability. The touch screen overlay on the iPad 2 is 0.6 millimeters
thick, down 25 percent from 0.8 millimeters for the iPad 1.

“The iPad 2 battery design represents a major shift from the iPad 1,”
said Kevin Keller, principal analyst for the IHS iSuppli teardown
analysis service. “Apple moved from two thicker cells to three thinner
ones, flattening out the entire battery structure. The new design also
allowed Apple to eliminate an injection-molded plastic support frame
from the battery subsystem, further cutting down its thickness.”

Physical tests conducted by IHS revealed the iPad 2 glass is more
flexible than the glass used in the original iPad, a characteristic of
increased durability. The iPad 2 also slightly trims the space between
the rear of the display and the top of the batteries. This space now
amounts to 1.3 millimeters in size, down 19 percent from 1.6
millimeters in the iPad 1.

“Leveraging its unparalleled design capabilities, Apple has upped the
competitive ante on tablet form factors by substantially decreasing the
thickness and weight of the iPad 2,” Keller said.  “Apple has
particularly focused on thickness as a point of differentiation for the
iPad 2. Other new tablets coming to market, all of which are about as
thick as the iPad 1, now look fat in comparison to the iPad 2. This is
likely to cause a scramble as competitors rush to slim down to match
Apple.”