Apple WiFi iPad 2 Best Bet for Deflecting Bullet: Report

Apple's iPad 2 bears noticeable differences between its WiFi, GSM and CDMA versions, according to a new teardown report by IFixit.

Not that anyone will be terribly surprised, but Apple's iPad 2 boasts some marked differences between its Code Division Multiple Access, GSM and WiFi-only versions. That's according to a new teardown report from iFixit, which opened the bestselling tablet for closer examination.

"When comparing the GSM and CDMA versions of the iPad 2, the most obvious difference is the microSIM slot," reads the report. While the GSM-enabled iPad 2 includes a microSIM slot in its upper-left corner, with a SIM-ejector mechanism and tray, the CDMA version (which "doesn't rely on SIM cards of any sort and uses the circuitry on the WWAN board to relay user information") features only empty space.

On both 3G models, surface-mounted ribbon cables connect the logic boards to the WWAN boards: "These cables make the WWAN board not user-replaceable, as the cables securely (and permanently) attach the WWAN board to the logic board."

The CDMA iPad 2 features a similar WWAN antenna configuration to that of the Verizon iPhone 4, while the WiFi-only version lacks both WWAN antenna and black plastic antenna window along the upper portion of the case. "Of the three, having the WiFi-only version in your chest pocket is your best bet if someone decides to shoot at you," the report jokes.

Kids, don't try that at home. Apple CEO Steve Jobs would be very upset if you subjected his magical device to high-caliber gunfire.

The CDMA iPad 2 apparently mimics the Verizon iPhone 4 in the chips that provide 3G connectivity, including the Qualcomm MDM6600 baseband/RF transceiver and Qualcomm PM8028 power-management IC.

Both the WiFi-only and CDMA versions of the iPad 2 feature the same headphone jack assembly, while the GSM version houses a microSIM card slot.

Apple continues to dominate the mindshare, if not the market, for many mobile devices, such as tablets. While the company has not yet released official sales figures for the iPad 2's first weekend of release, a selected number of analysts believe the company sold between 500,000 and 600,000 units. In a March 8 research note, Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster predicted that the iPad 2 would sell 1 million units faster than its first-generation predecessor, which took 28 days to reach that particular mark.

However, as demonstrated by last week's CTIA conference in Orlando, Fla., Apple also faces growing competition on a number of fronts. Many of its newest rivals, manufactured by companies such as Samsung and Motorola, come equipped with the new tablet-optimized Google Android 3.0 (code-named "Honeycomb") operating system paired to muscular dual-core processors.