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  1. Smart Keyboard Teardown, Smart Keyboard Teardown: step 1, image 1 of 3 Smart Keyboard Teardown, Smart Keyboard Teardown: step 1, image 2 of 3 Smart Keyboard Teardown, Smart Keyboard Teardown: step 1, image 3 of 3
    • Check out these smart specs!

    • Smart Connector for power and data connection

    • 64 Key, QWERTY keyboard

    • Water and stain-resistant

  2. Smart Keyboard Teardown: step 2, image 1 of 3 Smart Keyboard Teardown: step 2, image 2 of 3 Smart Keyboard Teardown: step 2, image 3 of 3
    • The bottom flap is home to all the regular suspects—regulatory markings, country of origin, and a new model number: A1636.

    • Hamburger? Hot Dog? With all these folds, the Smart Keyboard definitely breaks the record for the most confusing combination keyboard/case ever.

    • Seriously, this thing has so many sections, Apple even included a handy "guide" on how to fold it correctly.

    • We finally get the Smart Keyboard to bend to our will and lay mostly flat (not taking into account the 4 mm depth of each individual key). It looks like the perfect symmetry we found in the iPad Pro doesn't carry over to its accessories.

  3. Smart Keyboard Teardown: step 3, image 1 of 3 Smart Keyboard Teardown: step 3, image 2 of 3 Smart Keyboard Teardown: step 3, image 3 of 3
    • On the left, an iPad Pro with the Smart Keyboard. On the right, a Surface Pro 4. We're pretty sure anyway, the differences are pretty slight at first glance.

    • The most marked difference between the key layouts is of course the Surface's trackpad. iPads just want to watch the world burn...

    • We know, iOS doesn't support any mouse-type input, so a trackpad here wouldn't really work. Still, with the rapidly growing number of iPad applications, we are hopeful...

    • The Smart Keyboard features some iOS hallmarks, like the keyboard swapping globe button, and rounder key edges.

    • However the iPad Pro also seems to be taking some notes from its notebook cousins, the Smart Keyboard has control, option, and command keys.

    • In order to make the Smart Keyboard water and stain-resistant, Apple encapsulated the entire accessory inside some high tech fabric.

    • Finding no viable entry points, we turn to our Tech Knife for sage wisdom.

    • We slice and dice the microfiber lining of the keyboard as we burrow our way towards victory.

    • At this point, it's readily apparent that this teardown is an irreversible process.

  4. Smart Keyboard Teardown: step 5, image 1 of 3 Smart Keyboard Teardown: step 5, image 2 of 3 Smart Keyboard Teardown: step 5, image 3 of 3
    • We peel up the top layer of mysterious fabric (we think it's nylon—our teardown engineer notes that it feels like a windbreaker) to find blank keys.

    • Perhaps Jony Ive was worried about your keyboard getting get too cold?

    • Moving past the fabric, we begin prying out the individual keys and get our first glance at the dome switches underneath.

    • As Apple stated during their keynote, these switches are the same as those found in the 2015 Retina MacBook.

    • One design choice we like is the placement of a stiffening weight in the spacebar.

    • The addition of this bar means the spacebar key can register a push no matter where you tap on it. No wobbly spacebar woes here.

    • We call upon our iOpener to heat the microfiber lining, allowing us to delve further into the multiple layers of the Smart Keyboard cover panel.

    • We're starting to feel like archeologists, digging through the ages...

    • Underneath the soft display cover we find... nothing really.

    • Time for a brief message from our sponsors: We're excited to announce that we've just released a completely redesigned Pro Tech Toolkit, complete with all of the tools you need, and none that you don't.

    • With this tough plastic layer blocking further keyboard inroads, we're going to need one of those tools...

  5. Smart Keyboard Teardown: step 7, image 1 of 3 Smart Keyboard Teardown: step 7, image 2 of 3 Smart Keyboard Teardown: step 7, image 3 of 3
    • Like a plastic opening pick.

    • We crack open the clam and the pearls keycaps come cascading out.

    • We now have the pleasure of viewing the entire underlying circuit board, replete with 64 dome switches.

    • But not much else, no LEDs, or batteries or fancy fans needed here!

  6. Smart Keyboard Teardown: step 8, image 1 of 2 Smart Keyboard Teardown: step 8, image 2 of 2
    • Another one bites the dust. We pull the keycap frame away for a closer look.

    • There are some interesting intestinal squiggles in this plastic frame, what's up with that?

    • Closer inspection shows these channels lead to tiny vents at the top of the keyboard.

    • We assume this keeps the Smart Keyboard from becoming a pressurized balloon every time a key is depressed.

    • Let's hope these holes don't let water in...

  7. Smart Keyboard Teardown: step 9, image 1 of 3 Smart Keyboard Teardown: step 9, image 2 of 3 Smart Keyboard Teardown: step 9, image 3 of 3
    • Time to peel up yet another layer! In fact, it's that tough plastic backing we encountered earlier. It's aggressively glued, so we aggressively, well, ripped in in half...

    • Finally, the true keyboard is revealed—a plane of switches and chips!

    • The brains of the operation is Apple's latest go-to microcontroller for peripheral input devices:

    • STMicroelectronics STM32F103VB 72 MHz 32-bit RISC ARM Cortex-M3

    • Macronix MX25L4006EZUI-12G 4 Mb serial flash memory

  8. Smart Keyboard Teardown: step 10, image 1 of 2 Smart Keyboard Teardown: step 10, image 2 of 2
    • Peeling up the last of the Smart Keyboard's pelt reveals three interesting fabric strips.

    • Turns out, these are made of Apple's mysterious "conductive fabric." These connect the keyboard to the Smart Connector and allow for a "two‑way flow of power and data."

    • We're excited about this design feature, as these fabric strips should be more durable and fail-resistant than wires or traditional flex cables.

    • Apple even states "unlike traditional wires, the conductive fabric can withstand a lifetime of folding." Sweet!

  9. Smart Keyboard Teardown: step 11, image 1 of 2 Smart Keyboard Teardown: step 11, image 2 of 2
    • The Apple Smart Keyboard repairability 0 out of 10 (10 is easiest to repair):

    • While durable, the keyboard is impossible to open without damaging, meaning no internal components can be replaced without destroying the device.

Dante Mazzanti


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Another disposable product from Apple, if it ever goes wrong, that is =)

I am not surpised

Marhowl - crwdns2853112:0crwdne2853112:0

I'm not either. I think that's going to be the norm (if not already) as devices become smaller and more complex. Not only from just Apple. I think the need to repair rather than replace will get less and less. I think this is a good thing, but it means scores like 'reparability' when reviewing or tearing down will continue to mean less and less to consumers over time. For myself, I already think it's a pretty glorified/meaningless statistic when reviewing a product I'm going to buy. As long as it's quality, and/or the manufacturer has a good warranty program, it's much more convenient for me to go that route. I can't remember the last time I needed to fix or pay to get fixed one of my electronic devices who isn't the manufacturer.

Nick - crwdns2853112:0crwdne2853112:0

well, at some point of time maybe even you will grow up, take responsibility and try not to waste our beautiful planet with one-time, throw-away products..

Guido Boehm -

i suppose most products of companies have a limited warranty of, let's say, 2-3 years maximum.

what happens if after the warranty ends and the keyboard fails to work?

since you can't repair it your self, you can only use it as a placemat for your dinner.

alexios -

Guido, there's this thing called recycling, perhaps you've heard of it?

rpe33 -



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