iFixit sacrifices an Apple Smart Keyboard for science

Oh, iFixit. We love what you do, even if you do make Apple angry from time to time. But today’s teardown of the Apple Smart Keyboard for the iPad Pro was really more like doing surgery knowing full well that the patient was going to die on the operating table.

Like watching an operation on progress, this teardown isn’t for the squeamish. Since the Smart Keyboard is water and stain-resistant, Apple put everything inside a microfiber lining of some sort, forcing the teardown experts at iFixit to pull out the tech knife almost immediately. That’s when you know “this is gonna hurt!”

The horror... The Horror...   Image via iFixit.

The horror... The Horror...   Image via iFixit.

The top layer that covers the keyboard appears to be nylon. iFixit found that the dome switches used in the keyboard are identical to those in the 2015 Retina MacBook, but that the company added a stiffening weight to the spacebar so that it doesn’t wobble.

Would you believe that this little keyboard has an ARM chip inside it? The surgeons found an ST Microelectronics STM32F103VB 72 MHz 32-bit RISC ARM Cortex-M3 near the top of the keyboard.

image via ifixit.

image via ifixit.

The keyboard’s electronics are connected to the Smart Connector via three cloth strips — which are made of extremely flexible conductive fabric that can both transmit data and power.

The patient did die during this operation. As iFixit notes, the keyboard has a 0/10 repairability index, meaning that if you try to take it apart, you’re going to damage or destroy the Smart Keyboard.