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Apple TV teardown finds 8GB of storage, 256MB of RAM

post #1 of 62
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A look inside the newly released Apple TV has discovered that the device, powered by Apple's custom A4 processor, includes a small 8GB of onboard storage and the same 256MB of RAM found in the iPad and fourth-generation iPod touch.

iFixit wasted no time digging inside Apple's set top box upgrade Wednesday, and offers a peek inside the hardware, which is a quarter the size of its predecessor. Inside, they found its limited storage capacity, much smaller than its predecessor due to the streaming-centric nature of the new Apple TV.

The new Apple TV uses a Samsung K9LCG08U1M 8GB NAND Flash chip, which is the same part found during the site's iPad teardown. The memory is likely used to cache content that is being streamed.

"This is a pretty remarkable amount of storage for a $99 device," the solutions provider wrote.

Interestingly, logic board on the hardware shows solder pads that would fit an iPod 30-pin dock connector, perhaps implying what could come in future versions of the hardware.



"This Apple TV seems to be a couple of connectors shy of a full-on computer," they wrote. "Perhaps this logic board will be used in future iPads?"

Other findings from the teardown:
The A4 processor is marked K4X2G643GE, which is identical to the processor found in the first-generation iPad and fourth-generation iPod touch. The iPhone 4, however, has a different chip with 512MB of onboard RAM.

The internal Wi-Fi board is from Panasonic, which might be the first time the company has supplied a Wi-Fi board for an Apple device. Panasonic is, however, usually responsible for optical drives in the Mac maker's notebooks.

The Wi-Fi/Bluetooth chip is the same part found inside the iPad: BCM4329XKUBG 802.11n. It also includes an FM radio, which is not used by the device.

iFixit graded the new Apple TV with a score of 8 out of possible 10 for ease of repairability. The one mark against it is that the electronics are housed on one singular board.
post #2 of 62
Is the bluetooth enabled?

Edit: And apps are coming, either through jailbreak or an official app store. I can't wait to see what the developers come up with.
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post #3 of 62
8 gigs of onboard memory would seem to put to rest the idea that even a jail broken Apple TV would have nowhere to put any additional stuff.

Now, here's the question-- Apple obviously didn't design the thing to accommodate jail breakers, so what's all that memory for, in a streaming only device? Seems like total overkill for buffering, and we know the iOS footprint is minimal.

So what?
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post #4 of 62
Just a correction - Apple A4 Part Number Marking is 339S0084.


K4X2G643GE is designation of Samsung DRAM die inside A4 module.
post #5 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by addabox View Post

8 gigs of onboard memory would seem to put to rest the idea that even a jail broken Apple TV would have nowhere to put any additional stuff.

Now, here's the question-- Apple obviously didn't design the thing to accommodate jail breakers, so what's all that memory for, in a streaming only device? Seems like total overkill for buffering, and we know the iOS footprint is minimal.

So what?

it takes into account that quality of the videos will improve in the lifecycle of the device : 2-3 years.
8GB is what you would need to stream 1080p.
post #6 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by addabox View Post

8 gigs of onboard memory would seem to put to rest the idea that even a jail broken Apple TV would have nowhere to put any additional stuff.

Now, here's the question-- Apple obviously didn't design the thing to accommodate jail breakers, so what's all that memory for, in a streaming only device? Seems like total overkill for buffering, and we know the iOS footprint is minimal.

So what?

Is it really excessive? HD video creates large files and I'd assume there is some ability to fast forward and fast reverse in your rented movie or TV show.

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post #7 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by addabox View Post

8 gigs of onboard memory would seem to put to rest the idea that even a jail broken Apple TV would have nowhere to put any additional stuff.

Now, here's the question-- Apple obviously didn't design the thing to accommodate jail breakers, so what's all that memory for, in a streaming only device? Seems like total overkill for buffering, and we know the iOS footprint is minimal.

So what?

They're obviously going to do an App Store at some point. Even the iPhone didn't launch with one.

They probably get a pretty good price on 8 GB chips too, considering how much they buy (3GS, touch, nano). Outside of the shuffle and iPad (although the iPad could use two 8 GB chips), it is basically their go to "low" capacity option.
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post #8 of 62
Guesses on the amount of time someone attaches a screen, installs the iPad software, then packages it all into a netbook housing? It sounds remotely possible. Hackinpads here we come!
post #9 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by addabox View Post

8 gigs of onboard memory would seem to put to rest the idea that even a jail broken Apple TV would have nowhere to put any additional stuff.

Now, here's the question-- Apple obviously didn't design the thing to accommodate jail breakers, so what's all that memory for, in a streaming only device? Seems like total overkill for buffering, and we know the iOS footprint is minimal.

So what?

Clearly you're lobbing one up with that question. The memory is there for Apps!!!

They placed solder points for a dock connector in there that aren't necessary for this iteration of the device, they did the same when specifying the memory. 8GB isn't necessary for what they are doing now, but with Apps...There will be a need for more.

I really like the Plex App on my iPad. How cool would Plex be on an AppleTV?

nothing to see here

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nothing to see here

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post #10 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

"This Apple TV seems to be a couple of connectors shy of a full-on computer,"

<ba dah bump>

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post #11 of 62
that's pretty much what we got. with HDMI and ethernet ports.

ok, jailbreakers, here is your best iOS platform yet! the world's first $99 desktop computer.
post #12 of 62
Anybody have any thoughts on whether the USB port can finally be put to use, and if so for what?
post #13 of 62
I guess that pretty much confirms that there will be an appstore for AppleTV.

8GB should be more than enough for apps only.
post #14 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by anantksundaram View Post

Anybody have any thoughts on whether the USB port can finally be put to use, and if so for what?

The USB port will probably never be used "officially", just like the old AppleTV.
post #15 of 62
8gb won't allow much for apps, should they ever be allowed, and there'd certainly be no room for this as a gaming device.

Such a missed opportunity. The new Roku boxes are leagues ahead of this, as are most HDTVs- loaded as they all are now with Yahoo widgets etc.
post #16 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by ihxo View Post

The USB port will probably never be used "officially", just like the old AppleTV.

You're probably right. I just checked the 'tech specs' on Apple's website, and it says: "Micro-USB (for service and support)".
\
post #17 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by kotatsu View Post

8gb won't allow much for apps, should they ever be allowed, and there'd certainly be no room for this as a gaming device.

Such a missed opportunity. The new Roku boxes are leagues ahead of this, as are most HDTVs- loaded as they all are now with Yahoo widgets etc.

Enjoy your Yahoo widgets on your HDTV and your leagues-ahead Roku, then! We'll enjoy this one. Everybody happy, no?
post #18 of 62
what's preventing apple from releasing a 16,32 or 64GB version?
post #19 of 62
Bring on Plex GUI!!!!!!

Need a real media GUI for home streaming.
I couldn't care less about iTunes store streaming.
post #20 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by davesw View Post

what's preventing apple from releasing a 16,32 or 64GB version?

They may as apps are introduced. There is an empty slot for another flash chip. 8 GB is more than enough to start with though, I think I only have 2 GB worth of apps on my iPhone.
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post #21 of 62
My guess is that people are mistakenly referring to the rentals as "streaming," and in fact the rentals work the same way as before: You download the video, store it in the Apple TV, and then watch it from local storage within 30 days. If that's true, though, I wonder what happens if you try to rent too many videos. Even just two HD movies could easily put it over the limit. Maybe it doesn't let you do it, or maybe there's some management where videos in the queue are deleted and then re-downloaded when watched.
post #22 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by BRussell View Post

My guess is that people are mistakenly referring to the rentals as "streaming," and in fact the rentals work the same way as before: You download the video, store it in the Apple TV, and then watch it from local storage within 30 days. If that's true, though, I wonder what happens if you try to rent too many videos. Even just two HD movies could easily put it over the limit. Maybe it doesn't let you do it, or maybe there's some management where videos in the queue are deleted and then re-downloaded when watched.

Um....
No.
post #23 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by kotatsu View Post

8gb won't allow much for apps, should they ever be allowed, and there'd certainly be no room for this as a gaming device.

Such a missed opportunity. The new Roku boxes are leagues ahead of this, as are most HDTVs- loaded as they all are now with Yahoo widgets etc.

A little reminiscent of comments about the iPad v. Netbooks. No real keyboard, lack of storage, connectivity issues, yadda yadda yadda. Maybe we should wait for people to actually start using it before we trash it?
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post #24 of 62
I hereby announce the Slashdot critique of this device:

FM radio disabled?
FAIL

Less than 12 USB ports?
FAIL

No PS/2 ports?
FAIL

Can't dual boot Ubuntu?
FAIL

No SCSI/SATA ports?
FAIL

Lack of VGA port?
FAIL

No SD/CF/xD card reader?
FAIL

Doesn't run Flash?
FAIL
post #25 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by davesw View Post

what's preventing apple from releasing a 16,32 or 64GB version?

Is RAM soldered or socketed? Anyone?
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post #26 of 62
1) I have 84 apps in Mobile Applications folder that come to 2.5GB. That includes TomTom weighing in at 1.5GB.

2) Take a 25GB Blu-ray disc and note how much of that space is used. Then subtract all data except the actual movie. Then consider that is a local version of the video and therefore will be using High-Profile which is much higher than any streaming content will be over the next several years. Now download a 1080p movie trailer or 1080p YouTube video. Now take those bit rates and multiply that by 60, then by 150 to get the bit rate in a 2.5 hour movie. Finally divide that figure by 8 to get the number of kiloBYTES, then you can divide by 1000 to get MiB and 1000 again to get GiB. (I used BASE-10 because that is how Apple measures its storage on all devices)
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post #27 of 62
You also have to remember that, unlike with music or movies, Apple allows unlimited downloads of purchased apps. So if some sort of storage management is going on, and I suspect it is with the video rentals, the Apple TV could always simply delete an app that's less-often used and re-download the app you want to use now. So even if you have a ton of huge apps, at worst you'd have to wait while it re-downloads if you haven't used it in a while.
post #28 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by ihxo View Post

The USB port will probably never be used "officially", just like the old AppleTV.

I have a 1TB drive connected to my old ATV...works like a charm. Expecting the same thing here:-)
post #29 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by webfrasse View Post

I have a 1TB drive connected to my old ATV...works like a charm. Expecting the same thing here:-)

Say more......?
post #30 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by davesw View Post

what's preventing apple from releasing a 16,32 or 64GB version?

Id rather have the next AppleTV release, after the SDK and App Store make it a smashing hit, to include a larger version. Something the size of the new Mac Mini, with a 3.5 HDD, HiP 1080p and GB-Ethernet. Selling for quite a bit more, but designed for those that want a primary AppleTV for their main HDTV and the little $99 units for their other TVs.
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post #31 of 62
I'm thinking the 8GB is a gift to jailbreakers.

Apple may not be ready to release an app-ready Apple TV complete with everything to support it. Likewise, the pricing isn't there yet (for the dock connector) and other things (more storage, etc...).

So, why not install 8GB? There needs to be some significant amount of storage even for the 720p video available today. 8GB is really cheap considering they'd need maybe 1GB or so anyway.

Give the jailbreakers 8GB. Let them play with it. Build a cult. Let cool things brew in the community, and in a year, release a full support system along with more storage and any other features: Game Controllers, DVR, Blu-Ray (I know, I know...but anything is possible).

At only $99, it's a fairly stealthy way to build the community.

Really though, could anyone imagine Apple just saying, "no, we just don't feel like offering apps for the Apple TV?"
post #32 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by macslut View Post

I'm thinking the 8GB is a gift to jailbreakers.

There are no gifts. If I find out they were giving away 8GB to every AppleTV without expecting any future direct or indirect payment from it I will be first in line to sue the company.
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post #33 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

"This is a pretty remarkable amount of storage for a $99 device," the solutions provider wrote.

Interestingly, logic board on the hardware shows solder pads that would fit an iPod 30-pin dock connector, perhaps implying what could come in future versions of the hardware.

"This Apple TV seems to be a couple of connectors shy of a full-on computer," they wrote.

When I read this, immediately the thought of a Mac for developing countries came to my mind. Many houses in India and elsewhere don't have a PC at all, so they wouldn't care that there'd be no Intel processor inside such a device. App makers could write cheap word processing and other programs for the device, and put them on the iTunes store. The Bluetooth module's already there for keyboards and mice. The WiFi's there for Internet. So all you'd have to do is replace the Ethernet and optical jacks, with an SDTV A/V output (to use the TV as the computer monitor). For those who want to connect the device to a traditional monitor, HDMI-VGA adapters exist, as do HDMI-DVI cables. One of the sides can have one or two USB ports.

Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

The Wi-Fi/Bluetooth chip is the same part found inside the iPad: BCM4329XKUBG 802.11n. It also includes an FM radio, which is not used by the device.

Is this chip also found in the newest iPod touch? If so, why is the FM radio disabled?
post #34 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by kotatsu View Post

8gb won't allow much for apps, should they ever be allowed, and there'd certainly be no room for this as a gaming device.

Such a missed opportunity. The new Roku boxes are leagues ahead of this, as are most HDTVs- loaded as they all are now with Yahoo widgets etc.

Hmmm... If 8GB is not enough for Apple TV, how is Roku or Yahoo Widget Devices any better?

Apple TV = 8GB
Yahoo Widget Devices = Typically 1GB
Roku = 0GB for Storage; 64MB for Buffering
post #35 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by cmf2 View Post

They're obviously going to do an App Store at some point. Even the iPhone didn't launch with one.

They probably get a pretty good price on 8 GB chips too, considering how much they buy (3GS, touch, nano). Outside of the shuffle and iPad (although the iPad could use two 8 GB chips), it is basically their go to "low" capacity option.

You might be onto something with regards the price. I imagine the majority of chip makers have moved their cutting edge fabs to 8Gb devices, meaning there is much higher supply availability.
post #36 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by Alfiejr View Post

that's pretty much what we got. with HDMI and ethernet ports.

ok, jailbreakers, here is your best iOS platform yet! the world's first $99 desktop computer.

I've never jail-broken my iPhone and frankly don't have a huge need for Apple TV functionality but even so I could see myself buying one of these. Maybe a couple. It is dependent of course on just how flexible Jail-breaking could make the unit but lets face it there is a lot of potential in that little box.

Potential for what you may ask. Well just about anything that needs a network aware device that is low cost and low power. We are talking about everything from a web connected weather station to a master controller for robotics projects. Or some of these ideas: micro web server, in car/vehicle computer, solar system monitoring node, E-Mail access point, machine controller, Ethernet to USB/RS232/ whatever bridge, home monitoring system and whatever one can imagine.

The key here is the extreme low power of the device. People are already talking about one watt at idle which is impressive for a line connected computer. The unit has just enough RAM and flash to dedicate to a single task, is relatively speedy compared to traditional embedded boards and far less expensive than those boards.

Of course to handle these jobs jail breakers will need to access the USB hardware and write some device drivers. There is also the issue of how much power will be available to drive the USB port. But lets say it can drive a USB camera, with a bit of software magic you have a ethernet based camera. Or interface to some real world I/O to grab digital or analog data. Not to mention is the ability to run an interface to common TV hardware.
post #37 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by macinthe408 View Post

I hereby announce the Slashdot critique of this device:

FM radio disabled?
FAIL

As a regular FM listener I do wish Apple would support FM on its devices. It isn't like there is a huge need for more hardware.
Quote:
Less than 12 USB ports?
FAIL

No PS/2 ports?
FAIL

Can't dual boot Ubuntu?
FAIL

No SCSI/SATA ports?
FAIL

Lack of VGA port?
FAIL

No SD/CF/xD card reader?
FAIL

When Apple started putting SD slots in the MacBook I was really hoping it was a change they where committed to through out the range of hardware they sell. Unfortunately this does not appear to be the case. Sad. The reality is SD isn't going away and it gives the user additional storage and file transfer options.
Quote:
Doesn't run Flash?
FAIL
post #38 of 62
For $99 bucks you are actually getting a lot of computer here. Frankly I'm thinking of buying one simply as an experimental platform. If jailbreaking can free up the USB ports, this device could become one nice little platform. An extremely low power platform at that, which will be a big attraction in and of itself.

So what do we need to leverage the Apple TV, how about the following:
  1. Working Bluetooth drivers for human input devices. That is keyboards, mice and simialr devices.
  2. Access to the USB ports. This is high and would greatly expand what the little box could do app wise.
  3. I said 'ports' above because we have the one known to go the Mini-USB connector. It would be ideal if there was an additional port wired up to that unimplemented internal connector. Two USB ports would be really nice ot have access to.
  4. A good interpeter. That is a port of Ruby, Python or something similar to allow for the rapid developemnt of hacks. More so; easy to exhange source code that will feed development.
  5. Actually it would be nice if Apple would give us a model that is jailborken.

Quote:
Originally Posted by macslut View Post

I'm thinking the 8GB is a gift to jailbreakers.

Apple may not be ready to release an app-ready Apple TV complete with everything to support it. Likewise, the pricing isn't there yet (for the dock connector) and other things (more storage, etc...).

So, why not install 8GB? There needs to be some significant amount of storage even for the 720p video available today. 8GB is really cheap considering they'd need maybe 1GB or so anyway.

Cheap is what most people don't seem to get. The flash memory is likely in the $8 range for Apple, probably less.
Quote:

Give the jailbreakers 8GB. Let them play with it. Build a cult. Let cool things brew in the community, and in a year, release a full support system along with more storage and any other features: Game Controllers, DVR, Blu-Ray (I know, I know...but anything is possible).

Yep let people at the box! My imagination runs wild at the thought that we can get brand new, extremely low power, computing resources at this price. That should lead to all sorts of innovation.
Quote:

At only $99, it's a fairly stealthy way to build the community.

Really though, could anyone imagine Apple just saying, "no, we just don't feel like offering apps for the Apple TV?"

Well yeah I could. Apple is sometimes hard to figure out and doesn't always go the way you expect. Further I'm not sure Apple grasps just how useful little boxes this size could be. Put a camera in it an you end up with a living room sized Facetime system. Safari would seem to be a shoe in, especially in the context of YouTube and similar services. These are just things Apple could pursue. For the hackers out there the low power nature of the box and its performance should be very attractive.
post #39 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post

For $99 bucks you are actually getting a lot of computer here. Frankly I'm thinking of buying one simply as an experimental platform.

If they can get the iOS version of VLC on that box that can play 720p MKV's, or get the OS X and PC VLC to send compatible AirPlay signal to the AppleTV v2.0, this would be the ultimate box for me and MANY MANY people I'm sure! I'd get rid of my v1.0 right now if that was the case. Until then, XBMC will rule on my ATV v1.0
post #40 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

Interestingly, logic board on the hardware shows solder pads that would fit an iPod 30-pin dock connector, perhaps implying what could come in future versions of the hardware.

I would think this was there purely to help software development, since most of their tools for uploading software and interacting with iOS would work through such a connector.
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