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Teardown of Apple's 4th-gen iPod touch finds 256MB of RAM

post #1 of 30
Thread Starter 
The new fourth-generation iPod touch from Apple has the exact same A4 processor as the iPad, meaning it has 256MB of RAM, or half than the 512MB found in the iPhone 4.

After Apple's latest iPod touch was released on Wednesday, iFixit it took it apart to reveal its new features contained within, including the 640x960 pixel Retina Display, dual cameras, three-axis gyro and A4 processor. The custom Apple-built chip carries a marking of K4X2G643GE, which is identical to the A4 found inside the iPad, released on April.

One major distinction between the A4 found in the iPad and the iPhone 4, released in June, is the onboard memory. The iPad and iPod touch CPU includes 256MB of random access memory, or RAM, while the iPhone 4 has twice that -- 512MB.

"And no, there's no RAM upgrade slot," the site quipped.

The disassembly also found a singular antenna within the device that allows for Wi-Fi connections. It is situated near the front glass panel, which eliminates the need for the plastic "window" found on previous generation hardware.



The solutions provider also found that while the iPod touch has a rear camera that shoots lower quality photos than the iPhone 4, both devices have identical forward facing cameras for FaceTime video chat.

iFixit also discovered that the new speaker inside the fourth-generation iPod touch emits audio through a grill, as well as through the iPod dock connector. The site also found a mysterious white plastic piece that it could find no use for other than to save space.



Other details from the teardown:

For the first time, the headphone jack in the iPod touch is not soldered to the logic board. This makes the device more repairable.

Apple added more space between the three solder points on the battery, which should also make replacing it easier.

There is no structural bracket holding the volume buttons to the rear panel. They are simply held in place by an adhesive bond that must be strong enough to stand repeated button presses.

The rear facing camera is almost identical in size to the front facing camera, and is "dramatically smaller" than the rear camera on the iPhone 4.

"For those of you wondering, there's no way the iPhone 4's rear camera can be installed in the Touch without some extreme hackery."
post #2 of 30
Wonder what the margins are on this version of the touch? Still wish they would have had a much better still camera option. The current res is less than most modern cell phones.

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post #3 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post

Wonder what the margins are on this version of the touch? Still wish they would have had a much better still camera option. The current res is less than most modern cell phones.

The lower RAM is probably the sacrificial lamb to keep the margin they want and keep the price pretty much the same. Higher RAM probably would've meant higher price for consumers or lower margin for Apple.
post #4 of 30
it seems with no IPS, half the RAM and worse camera that they were trying to cut some costs or encourage people to go with the iPhone. I'm sure it still works great tho seeing as how it's just an iPod
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post #5 of 30
This is being sent from my itouch
4g and if your wondering it's amazing.
post #6 of 30
That's a darn shame

Although I'm guessing the 512 RAM was left out because it wasn't perceived as necessary. I have a second-gen Touch running iOS 4, and so far I haven't experienced any of the slowness that iPhone 3G (the corresponding iPhone hardware for the 2G touch) owners have reported. It runs rather swimmingly


However, I still see fragmentation being a real issue for the iOS ecosystem. Two products from the same generation having differing internal specifications when it comes to RAM? That'll only slow the adoption of memory-intensive applications
post #7 of 30
FYI...for those wanting to see the differences between the iPod Touch 4th gen and the others.

Spreadsheet here

Items missing on the iPod Touch 4th gen compared to the iPhone 4 are: second microphone, phone receiver speaker, vibration motor, LED flash, cellular capabilities, SIM card, digital compass, GPS, proximity sensor, mute switch.

Full article here


UPDATE: Updated the spreadsheet based on this information that there is no vibration motor
http://www.appleinsider.com/articles...pod_touch.html
post #8 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by pwj View Post

That's a darn shame

Although I'm guessing the 512 RAM was left out because it wasn't perceived as necessary. I have a second-gen Touch running iOS 4, and so far I haven't experienced any of the slowness that iPhone 3G (the corresponding iPhone hardware for the 2G touch) owners have reported. It runs rather swimmingly


However, I still see fragmentation being a real issue for the iOS ecosystem. Two products from the same generation having differing internal specifications when it comes to RAM? That'll only slow the adoption of memory-intensive applications

This was all discussed (nay, beaten to death) a little while back on this site when the 256 vrs 512 debate came up before. There are good reasons that 512 is not needed (primarily a different footprint for the OS - the camera is smaller, no phone, no GPS, etc...) although many bemoaned Apple not just "throwing" it in.

I would suggest a good look at the archives before this is rehashed yet once again.
post #9 of 30
Despite lacking some hardware to it's iPhone big brother you really can't complain all that much with the new iPod touch 4G. There is nothing comparable to it on the market today (not including smartphones).
post #10 of 30
With a lower resolution camera, the extra ram might not be needed.
post #11 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by StillOwn128kMac View Post

FYI...for those wanting to see the differences between the iPod Touch 4th gen and the others.

Spreadsheet here

Items missing on the iPod Touch 4th gen compared to the iPhone 4 are: second microphone, phone receiver speaker, LED flash, cellular capabilities, SIM card, digital compass, GPS, proximity sensor, mute switch.

Full article here

I just want satellite GPS and that cool compass app that Apple has (along with the A4 and the retina display). The A4 chip and the retina display are compelling, I'm not sure I can hold out another year for GPS and the compass...
post #12 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by pwj View Post

That's a darn shame

Although I'm guessing the 512 RAM was left out because it wasn't perceived as necessary. I have a second-gen Touch running iOS 4, and so far I haven't experienced any of the slowness that iPhone 3G (the corresponding iPhone hardware for the 2G touch) owners have reported. It runs rather swimmingly


However, I still see fragmentation being a real issue for the iOS ecosystem. Two products from the same generation having differing internal specifications when it comes to RAM? That'll only slow the adoption of memory-intensive applications

I don't understand the fragmentation comments. A 12 core mac pro runs the same os as the mac mini. People buy power according to their needs. Some have a Toyota, some have a Mercedes, they both run on petrol, but you know one is going yo outperform the other.

It's one of the reasons I can't understand people with the iPhone 3G complaining it's slow and buggy compared to th iPhone 4 - of course it is - what do you expect?
post #13 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by techapocalypse View Post

it seems with no IPS, half the RAM and worse camera that they were trying to cut some costs or encourage people to go with the iPhone. I'm sure it still works great tho seeing as how it's just an iPod

It's a less expensive device, why would anyone expect it to share the same spec?

No one compares an imac's specs to a 12 core mac pro and asks why the iMac doesn't have everything the pro model has...
post #14 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by applebjesus View Post

Despite lacking some hardware to it's iPhone big brother you really can't complain all that much with the new iPod touch 4G. There is nothing comparable to it on the market today (not including smartphones).

why would anyone complain at all. A brilliant new feature set at the same price point. It's a stunning device.
post #15 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by Damn_Its_Hot View Post

This was all discussed (nay, beaten to death) a little while back on this site when the 256 vrs 512 debate came up before. There are good reasons that 512 is not needed (primarily a different footprint for the OS - the camera is smaller, no phone, no GPS, etc...) although many bemoaned Apple not just "throwing" it in.

I would suggest a good look at the archives before this is rehashed yet once again.

My apologies; I don't come around here very often

Quote:
Originally Posted by nkhm View Post

I don't understand the fragmentation comments. A 12 core mac pro runs the same os as the mac mini. People buy power according to their needs. Some have a Toyota, some have a Mercedes, they both run on petrol, but you know one is going yo outperform the other.

It's one of the reasons I can't understand people with the iPhone 3G complaining it's slow and buggy compared to th iPhone 4 - of course it is - what do you expect?

My bad for not explaining what I meant better previously. I was expecting Apple to standardize on 512 MB of RAM for its current generation of iOS devicesthat provides a consistent level of system resources whether an app is run on an iPhone 4, a 4G Touch, or a hypothetical next-gen iPad with 512 of RAM (though iPad apps are usually a separate affair).

I'd argue that people generally don't think of their handheld portable electronics as computers, partly because of how easy and seamless the installation process is from the app store (and partially because of Apple's narrow range of products, unlike with "full" computers).
Though I'm not criticising Apple for their decision wrt the Touch. Their decision just pushes back the timeframe when 512 RAM becomes standard

I'd compare this to Google's experience with the Nexus One. Commercially, the N1 was a fat flop. However, basically all flagship Android models that followed the N1 had (at the very minium) a 1GHz processor, 512 MB of RAM, a 480x800 screen, etc.


Or I could just be full of crap
post #16 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

"And no, there's no RAM upgrade slot," the site quipped.

Quipping or not, I don't recall any handheld device having upgradable RAM. Maybe some do if you really stretch the general meaning of handheld.
post #17 of 30
I remember from when the iOS 4 was going to be released and it was made known that the G3 iPod Touch 8GB was not going to be able to run the full OS and be hindered like the iPhone 3G has been because of a lesser amount of ram in the unit...but 32GB and 64GB would be getting everything like the 3GS

so my thoughts are...what Gig model was iFixIt taking apart and maybe Apple still wants to give bonus to people that spend the extra money for the better (HD space) Touch???

just a thought
post #18 of 30
One thing some people tend to forget is that ipod touch is $229, and iphone 4 is $600 (no contract price, without subsidy). So at this price point, they really cannot bring all the goodies of the iphone 4 hardware... in fact that they were able to manage to put in this low $229 price point so many goodies like A4 chip, retina display, front-facing camera, rear-facing camera that shoots HD video, gyroscope, etc is itself a surprise to me.
post #19 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by matter37 View Post

This is being sent from my itouch
4g and if your wondering it's amazing.

It would be more amazing if you turned on spell check. Congratulations on your purchase, dude.

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post #20 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by techapocalypse View Post

it seems with no IPS, half the RAM and worse camera that they were trying to cut some costs or encourage people to go with the iPhone. I'm sure it still works great tho seeing as how it's just an iPod

I suspect much of it was the trade-off to be able to put the retina display in, which it probably a bit more expensive than the old display.
post #21 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post

It would be more amazing if you turned on spell check. Congratulations on your purchase, dude.

Except spell check wouldn't have caught his typo.
post #22 of 30
Boo on having only 256. Apple always has to cripple these things a little bit to differentiate the iPhone. Well no matter, I still love the update and can't wait till Amazon starts shipping these puppies.
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post #23 of 30
Do we know that ALL the new iPod touches have 256MB RAM or are people just assuming? Because so far iFixit only took the 8GB version apart. And the 8GB version was always "special" in some way.
post #24 of 30
The 256MB RAM proves that the iPad is just a big iPod touch, despite what Apple claims And I was suckered into buying one 3 weeks ago. Ah well, it's not like it matters that much.
post #25 of 30
Before SJ stepped up to the stage I would have bet against those who predicted the Touch will have retina display. I think that's one of the most surprise about the new Touch, the sub $300 device with retina display.
for RAM I was certain it would be 256 so no surprise here.
post #26 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by bartfat View Post

The 256MB RAM proves that the iPad is just a big iPod touch, despite what Apple claims And I was suckered into buying one 3 weeks ago. Ah well, it's not like it matters that much.

Except, there still is no iMovie for iPad. Hopefully there will be a surprise announcement that it comes with iOS4.2.
post #27 of 30
An iPod touch with retina display but just 256MB RAM is also bad for developers. Until now you knew that if you target the retina resolution that you had 512MB RAM available. E.g. the impressive Epic Citadel demo looks much better on the iPhone 4 than on the iPad because, apart from the higher ppi, it uses noticeably higher quality textures on the iPhone 4 because more RAM is available.
post #28 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike11 View Post

An iPod touch with retina display but just 256MB RAM is also bad for developers. Until now you knew that if you target the retina resolution that you had 512MB RAM available. E.g. the impressive Epic Citadel demo looks much better on the iPhone 4 than on the iPad because, apart from the higher ppi, it uses noticeably higher quality textures on the iPhone 4 because more RAM is available.

How noticeably higher texture would you notice in a 3.5" screen? iPad, maybe. But iPod Touch?
post #29 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike11 View Post

Do we know that ALL the new iPod touches have 256MB RAM or are people just assuming? Because so far iFixit only took the 8GB version apart. And the 8GB version was always "special" in some way.

I hope you're right. Good point.

To me, the big disappointments are the rear camera and this token bit of RAM. I can see it for the 8GB model, but not the 32 or 64 models.

I don't believe in the megapixel myth, and I doubt the crappy lens on a phone's camera would result in much of a difference between 3 and 5 megapixels. So we don't need a 5 mpx camera on the iPod. But 0.7 megapixels? C'mon. I wonder if cost or space was the driving force.

Go ahead, Apple, and remove things like the proximity sensor and GPS and LED flash and vibration motor if you want a thinner, cheaper device.

But don't sacrifice ram or the camera if you're trying to allow people to forego their phone plans, as stated in the keynote.
post #30 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by bikertwin View Post

I hope you're right. Good point.

To me, the big disappointments are the rear camera and this token bit of RAM. I can see it for the 8GB model, but not the 32 or 64 models.

I don't believe in the megapixel myth, and I doubt the crappy lens on a phone's camera would result in much of a difference between 3 and 5 megapixels. So we don't need a 5 mpx camera on the iPod. But 0.7 megapixels? C'mon. I wonder if cost or space was the driving force.

Go ahead, Apple, and remove things like the proximity sensor and GPS and LED flash and vibration motor if you want a thinner, cheaper device.

But don't sacrifice ram or the camera if you're trying to allow people to forego their phone plans, as stated in the keynote.

Don't ignore the value of the subsidies. Given that it's maybe two or three hundred dollars cheaper than their phone model, all the sacrifices are pretty mild.

That said, the existence of subsidies seems to be behind opaque walls. Phone marketing in general does a good job of hiding the true price of the phones.
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