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How the iPad 2 got thinner and lighter

Putting a device that is already thin and light onto a weight loss program seems like an exercise in futility, but it's something that Apple engineers love to do. The entire line of MacBooks has become lighter and thinner over the years, and many were surprised when the new iPad 2 weighed in a full 15 percent lighter than the original device.

How did the Apple engineers accomplish this feat? Analysts at IHS iSuppli performed a detailed teardown and component cost analysis of the iPad 2 and found several factors that make the new iPad the light and thin supermodel of tablets.

The iSuppli report mentions that Apple replaced the two batteries in the original iPad with three thinner cells that also allowed the removal of some internal plastic supports. In addition, the "fat" iPad had a stamped metal sheet that was part of the display. That metal is gone from the iPad 2, thanks to new glass technology that iSuppli speculates is from Asahi Glass of Japan.

While shaving a few millimeters of thickness and grams of weight off of a new device might seem to be nitpicking, every bit of material that can be removed from the structure means less cost (and higher margins) for Apple, and even the slightly reduced shipping weight can result in cost savings for the company when multiplied over millions of devices. Plus, even though Apple got in trouble for saying just this, when it comes to these devices, you can't be too thin or too powerful.

[via the New York Times]



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Odds and ends Apple iPad

Putting a device that is already thin and light onto a weight loss program seems like an exercise in futility, but it's something that...