this time, it was serious…

yes, this was a serious wound. really more like a gash. and the closer i looked at this ipad 2, the more it looked like the damage was premeditated. maybe not at first, mind you. but before the deed was done, this wound was intentional.

one of my accounts notified me that they had another ipad for me to fix, but this was “a little more extensive”. and this time, she had sent some pictures (not something she would normally do).

i looked at the first photo, then had to look away, but my eye was drawn back to the carnage, like a motorist passing by a wreck on the highway. i slowed down and began to look closer to see if this was something worthwhile for me to tackle and cost effective for this unit to be resurrected or just to be consigned to the electronic junk pile. the closer i looked, the more i realized that i would have to see this unit in person in order to give a better diagnosis.

i picked up the ipad and could not wait to get to the vehicle to begin to eyeball the damaged unit. the screen damage was impressive, not just shattered in a one spot with the usual spiderweb of cracks from a single impact point. no, this unit had multiple origin points of injury. some of the injuries were not completely apparent until i had the unit really opened up.

the most apparent surface damage was around the camera area at the top, so much glass was missing that the plate underneath used to center the camera was missing, exposing the entire camera and sensor.

moving off to the corner, i saw chunks of apple aluminum that had been GOUGED out as with a screwdriver or other tempered steel pry implement.

i began to notice a pattern and to form a hypothesis on what had actually happened.

1. initially, the unit was most likely broken by accident.
2. somebody got the idea that they would try to fix it.
3. found out that ipads don’t like to be fixed.

yes, ipads very much resist you getting inside them. forget the videos that show this repair on youtube, that make it look easy. no, that’s not what it’s like at all. you have to fight for it. ipads are like cracking open a safe. you can do it the slightly less hard, time consuming way, but with this unit, it looks like the “safe cracker” decided to try quicker, more forceful methods. the problem with more forceful methods, is that there are very delicate ribbon cables, LCD’s and antennae and circuit boards placed just millimeters under the surface of the glass which can be severed with even the most delicate touch – at the wrong place. this person went even deeper and as a result, unintentionally began to pry up parts of the unit used to protect those other layers.

as we began to disassemble this unit, we got to another place where the “safecracker” had decided there was a point of entry, the docking station. this looks like a place to start, but is actually the weakest part of the back case, along with being in an area with some very delicate components that can break very easily. the thin bar of aluminum across the very top had been severely bent, but not broken in an attempt to pry open the unit at this point. it looks like they saw that this was not going to work and backed off.

i surveyed all the damage, tested the various components, and decided that this was a task that we could accomplish for our account. it wouldn’t look the same, but would be functional enough to reintroduce back into the work force.

we began the repair by removing each and every broken piece of glass and all the aggressive adhesive used to hold the glass to the unit. we removed the LCD and then began to shape, bend and smooth the bent and bruised aluminum and surrounding components back into their original shape and place.

we finished the repair by using a special mixture to fill-in the gouge in the “soft” aluminum and hand shaped, hand filed and finally hand smoothed the hardened surface of the filler to a very pleasing, facsimile of the original back case. the colors are different, but if you close your eyes and rub your finger over the wound, you can barely feel the remaining scar. a very successful outcome considering what we were faced with a few days ago.

now i may be wrong, but to this ipad repair “investigator”, the excess damage to this ipad looks very intentional. initially maybe to try to fix an accidental break, but in the process of attempting to do this repair without any set of skills that come from experience, the culprit literally butchered this ipad. fortunately the doctor, mr. fxr, was in the house and we were able to come up with a very pleasing functional repair for this damaged warrior.

it’s not as pretty as it once was, but this unit will be back in the fight again soon, once more, for another round.