In typical form of an electronics company releasing a new product for the sake of money rather than innovation, Apple released the iPad 4. As iFixit remarks, "The iPad 4 is kind of like a fourth book added on to a trilogy: its release was a bit sudden and unexpected, but it's a part of the group, nonetheless."
Because it's so similar to the previous iteration, iFixit didn't even bother with a complete tear down, but instead just looked for what's different. Their conclusion is that this newest device from Apple scores a paltry 2 out of 10 for repairability (10 being easiest to repair). The biggest complaints include:
Just like in the iPad 2 & 3, the front panel is glued to the rest of the device, greatly increasing the chances of cracking the glass when trying to remove it.Gobs, gobs, and gobs of adhesive hold everything in place, including the prone-to-start-a-fire-if-punctured battery.
The LCD has foam sticky tape adhering it to the front panel, increasing chances of it being shattered during disassembly.
You can't access the front panel's connector until you remove the LCD.
Though a couple nods to improvement include:
The LCD is easy to remove once the front panel is gone.
The battery is not soldered to the logic board, making the replacement process a tad less difficult.
iFixit also notes that Apple switched to the smaller Lightning connector but there's not interior space saved as the cable is housed in the same large frame used for the 30-pin connector. This might have made room for better speakers, the team notes, but... nope.
You can read the step-by-step analysis on iFixit.
We'll say it once again -- releasing an electronic device just to make people feel crappy about the "old" version they have is lame. Releasing a device you can't easily fix is really lame. Releasing a device that can't be easily recycled is really damn lame. Apple (and everyone else)... Quit it. Seriously.
And we'll say it once again -- keeping Last Year's Model is rad and there's a support network for you out there. There's also resources for keeping useful gadgets in the consumer stream and saving money.