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Teardown of Apple's new 16GB iPod touch finds few changes from other 5th-gen models

post #1 of 79
Thread Starter 
A peek inside Apple's updated 16-gigabyte iPod touch has discovered that the spaces where the camera and wrist strap loop are located in other models have simply been left empty.

Teardown


The repair wizards at iFixit got their hands on Apple's new low-end $229 iPod touch this week, and found that the internal design is largely the same as the premium 32- and 64-gigabyte varieties. In particular, the logic board looks nearly identical, aside from the lack of a rear-facing camera.

The teardown did discover that the ribbon cables located on the top portion of the device have been slightly rerouted because of the missing iSight camera. The lack of camera has also led to the microphone, which is rear-facing on other models, to be moved to the top of the device.

Teardown


And at the bottom of the device, the space where the wrist strap loop is located on the high-end models is empty in the 16-gigabyte version.

Aside from those tweaks, the parts and design of the new low-end iPod touch are identical. Integrated circuits identified on the logic board include:
  • Apple A5 dual-core processor, with 512 megabytes of Mobile DDR2 RAM.
  • Toshiba THGBX2G7B2JLA01 16 gigabytes of NAND flash
  • Apple 3381064 dialog power management IC
  • Murata 339S0171 Wi-Fi module
  • Broadcom BCM5976 touchscreen controller
  • STMicroelectronics low-power, three-axis gyroscope (AGD4/2305/O2LBV)
  • Apple 338S1116 and Apple 338S1077 Cirrus Audio Codecs

Teardown

Apple surprised on Thursday when it unveiled the new basic iPod touch model for $229 in its online store. Previously, the fifth-generation iPod touch lineup debuted in September of 2012 without a 16-gigabyte option, as Apple instead offered the fourth-generation iPod touch with a slower processor and smaller screen for $199.
post #2 of 79
That's... well.... rather lame for Apple to do.
post #3 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by anantksundaram View Post

That's... well.... rather lame for Apple to do.

Why?

It's a low end model. Redesigning costs money. Having a different manufacturing process costs money. Having different QC checks costs money.

So what's lame about making a low end model by simply leaving the camera off and reducing the storage capacity and leaving everything else essentially unchanged?
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post #4 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by anantksundaram View Post

That's... well.... rather lame for Apple to do.

I agree with jragosta. If they removed all other iPod Touch models from the lineup then I could see it as being lame but this is an additional 4" iPod Touch at a significantly lower price point.

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post #5 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by jragosta View Post

Why?

It's a low end model. Redesigning costs money. Having a different manufacturing process costs money. Having different QC checks costs money.

So what's lame about making a low end model by simply leaving the camera off and reducing the storage capacity and leaving everything else essentially unchanged?

You just killed your own argument, Rag. It would have been cheaper for them to just leave all of that in there sans the additional 16GB of memory, according to you. So why, then, did they go this route, which will require a completely separate production line and various different parts like the redesigned back shell? Seems like a lot of overhead for a product that isn't likely to do very well anyway. Like I said in the last article about this, I just bought my little girl the 32gb model, but had it not had a camera on the back, I would have gotten her something else since that is a huge part of the draw for that demo.

As for the "this is great for the gym" argument, what? I go to a very expensive gym, and I've never seen a Touch. Nano's and Shuffles yes, but a Touch? If you're going to use something that size, you're better off just using your iPhone which is what people do.

Typical Apple move right here, sadly. People complained when the 5th gen started at 299 and 32gb when 16 and 199/229 should have been the low end. Well cook gave us that low end, but gimped it in the process so as to make it as unattractive as possible versus the 32gb model. Awesome. Thanks.
post #6 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post

I agree with jragosta. If they removed all other iPod Touch models from the lineup then I could see it as being lame but this is an additional 4" iPod Touch at a significantly lower price point.

Uh, Sol? They did remove all other Touch lines from the market. The 4th gen was 86'd to make room for this.
post #7 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cash907 View Post

Uh, Sol? They did remove all other Touch lines from the market. The 4th gen was 86'd to make room for this.

They did not remove a single 4" iPod Touch to make room for this model. It can't be that hard to understand that Apple is trying to get rid of the 3.5" iDevices. One may even prognosticate that they may also drop the iPhone 4S for a budget iPhone 5 when the 7th gen iPhone is announced to create a clear demarcation point of supporting the 3.5" display for developers going forward.

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"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

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post #8 of 79
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post
One may even prognosticate that they may also drop the iPhone 4S for a budget iPhone 5 when the 7th gen iPhone is announced to create a clear demarcation point of supporting the 3.5" display for developers going forward.

 

Hey, now there's a thought. Something sellable for $300 off-contract… 

Originally posted by Marvin

Even if [the 5.5” iPhone exists], it doesn’t deserve to.
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Originally posted by Marvin

Even if [the 5.5” iPhone exists], it doesn’t deserve to.
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post #9 of 79

How long before someone tries to assemble a class action law suit?  \s

post #10 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by anantksundaram View Post

That's... well.... rather lame for Apple to do.

What would be not "rather lame" for them to do?  Maybe include a grain of rice that had been blessed by the Dali Lama?  Or maybe one of Khan's cryogenically preserved minions?  

post #11 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cash907 View Post

Uh, Sol? They did remove all other Touch lines from the market. The 4th gen was 86'd to make room for this.
what are you talking about all other touch models? The ones announced last year are still available for sale.
post #12 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rogifan View Post

what are you talking about all other touch models? The ones announced last year are still available for sale.

He means the iPod Touch from 2010 that Apple was still selling since the lowest priced iPod Touch from 2012 was $299. It's good to see that the iPod Touch finally has the same display panel as the iPhone, which it hadn't up until that point.

I think it's hard to imagine that many people in mid-2013 were just about to buy the 2010 3.5" Pod Touch, but if they were I'd guess Apple's refurb store all have them soon enough. My guess is they simply weren't selling well.


edit: Already there: http://store.apple.com/us/browse/home/specialdeals/ipod

"The real haunted empire?  It's the New York Times." ~SockRolid

"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

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post #13 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cash907 View Post

You just killed your own argument, Rag. It would have been cheaper for them to just leave all of that in there sans the additional 16GB of memory, according to you. So why, then, did they go this route, which will require a completely separate production line and various different parts like the redesigned back shell? Seems like a lot of overhead for a product that isn't likely to do very well anyway. .

Cool. So now we know not to go to see you when it comes to understanding production issues.

Leaving out the camera saves money. It doesn't add anything to the production cost and eliminates the cost of the camera. Cutting the memory in half obviously saves money.

Why is it that people who obviously know absolutely nothing about production or business finances are so convinced that they know more than Apple about how to make a product?
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post #14 of 79

I think a low end model is a good idea, except maybe price it at $199 instead. Either that or lower the camera version to $229 or $199 and not even release a non camera version. 

post #15 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by jragosta View Post

Cool. So now we know not to go to see you when it comes to understanding production issues.

Leaving out the camera saves money. It doesn't add anything to the production cost and eliminates the cost of the camera. Cutting the memory in half obviously saves money.

Why is it that people who obviously know absolutely nothing about production or business finances are so convinced that they know more than Apple about how to make a product?

But it's not just the camera. It's the camera, it's all the electronics associated with the camera, t's the 5 lens for the camera, it's the flash, it's the retractable strap eyelet, t's strap, it's the more complex back panel cutout, and all the assembly, and possibility for error that can add costs during production or once on the market. It's probably some other things we simply can't account for like licensing (perhaps an additional per unit patent cost for the camera) or availability (perhaps the camera module is already in short supply). I seem to recall a rumour before the iPhone 5 launched that they couldn't make enough of them which may result in a delay.

Now I don't think the change we've seen accounts for a $70 drop in price but this may be a situation where Apple can't afford to keep selling the old model so they compromised with a budget iPod Touch at $229 that they won't make as much profit (even by profit margin) n but that they need as entry level with the hopes people will buy the more profitable $299 and up models. Or it could simply be a calculated compromise to remove the 3.5" model so that they focus on the 4" model, or perhaps a 4" and 5" model later this year to make the sizes for the smartphone and PMP devices that can access the App Store to have only 2 sizes for developers to contend with so that users can get the possible experience.
Edited by SolipsismX - 6/1/13 at 2:14pm

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"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

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post #16 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by jobsisgod View Post

I like how nowhere in your theories do you guess that Apple made the low end product for the purpose of providing a product to a group of consumers who want that product and doing so in a way that they feel will maximize their profits.

You're off the production line and out of the board room now.  lol.gif

Actually I made that statement twice. Once to say the 3.5" may no longer be worth the expense and again to suggest the long term goal of getting rid of the old size. I don't think it needs to be stated outright that a for-profit company has made changes that it hopes will lead to more profits in the short and/or long term.

"The real haunted empire?  It's the New York Times." ~SockRolid

"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

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post #17 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by jobsisgod View Post

You stated them as the reason for Apple creating the low end model, not as an effect of offering the low end model.  That's what I was getting at.

I'm saying that the main reason they made the low end model may have been to offer a product that people want and I found it humorous that this possibility doesn't show up in your line of thinking.  Hence, no board room for you!

1) I stated a wide range of scenarios that may lead Apple to drop the 3.5" model and offering to a less expensive 4" model, including stating that the 3.5" model may not be selling and that $299 may be too much for the entry 4" iPod Touch.

2) I'm not trying to cover every scenario here. I'm trying to state possible reasons why they may have done what they've done. The only specifics scenarios I've made are ones I haven't seen already made. By your assumption that all must be mentioned in a superficial manner means that you'd also state I've ignored the possibility for a market for double the storage with no back camera for $$279. Where does it end if you are wanting specific scenarios for everything?

"The real haunted empire?  It's the New York Times." ~SockRolid

"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

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"The real haunted empire?  It's the New York Times." ~SockRolid

"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

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post #18 of 79

This isn't a product that *I* would want, therefore, it's not a product *anyone* would want. There's your proof it's "rather lame." /s

"Apple should pull the plug on the iPhone."

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post #19 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by jobsisgod View Post

You're mistaken.  I'm only referring to one simplified and non-specific scenario.  That scenario is the following:  The main reason that Apple is offering the lower end iPod is because they feel there is a market for it.

Do you think they will profit from it? If so, why didn't you state it. Without directly saying it you are implying they won't¡

"The real haunted empire?  It's the New York Times." ~SockRolid

"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

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post #20 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by jobsisgod View Post

Can't tell if serious or trolling to divert attention...

If the former, you're not only off the production line and out of the board room, you're fired and going back to school!  lol.gif

"The real haunted empire?  It's the New York Times." ~SockRolid

"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

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post #21 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by jobsisgod View Post

My apologies.  I don't know your background and I'm not sure if there's an age requirement for this forum so you may not have even been through an econ class or had your first job yet.

 
Yes, Apple's main goal would involve making a profit.

"The real haunted empire?  It's the New York Times." ~SockRolid

"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

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post #22 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cash907 View Post


You just killed your own argument, Rag. It would have been cheaper for them to just leave all of that in there sans the additional 16GB of memory, according to you. So why, then, did they go this route, which will require a completely separate production line and various different parts like the redesigned back shell? Seems like a lot of overhead for a product that isn't likely to do very well anyway. Like I said in the last article about this, I just bought my little girl the 32gb model, but had it not had a camera on the back, I would have gotten her something else since that is a huge part of the draw for that demo.

As for the "this is great for the gym" argument, what? I go to a very expensive gym, and I've never seen a Touch. Nano's and Shuffles yes, but a Touch? If you're going to use something that size, you're better off just using your iPhone which is what people do.

Typical Apple move right here, sadly. People complained when the 5th gen started at 299 and 32gb when 16 and 199/229 should have been the low end. Well cook gave us that low end, but gimped it in the process so as to make it as unattractive as possible versus the 32gb model. Awesome. Thanks.

 

It's called product differentiation. Apple has been doing it forever. It's one more option on top of whats already available, I don't see the big deal. Obviously Apple doesnt want to make it TOO tempting and drain sales from the other models, so they took out a couple usage cases and now have a product that has almost the same functionality for 25% less $$. This had to exist since they got rid of the 4th gen touches, and is a much better buy than those. There's also some usage cases where cameras are not allowed, so this might be appropriate for those when previously no Apple mobile product could be considered. 

post #23 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by Slurpy View Post

There's also some usage cases where cameras are not allowed, so this might be appropriate for those when previously no Apple mobile product could be considered. 

It still has a front-facing camera as well as a repositioned microphone so those concerns could still be an issue.

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"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

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post #24 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by jobsisgod View Post

While your arguments are well thought out and articulated with care, I have to respectfully disagree and stand behind my supposition.

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"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

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post #25 of 79
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post

 

Hopefully we don't work up to this:

 

Originally posted by Marvin

Even if [the 5.5” iPhone exists], it doesn’t deserve to.
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Originally posted by Marvin

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post #26 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by jobsisgod View Post

You're truly the Socrates of our time.  The level of insight you provide to your arguments is awe inspiring.

Heck, it's okay to be wrong once in a while.  At least have the balls to stand up for what you believe in though and be able to back up your statements with words.

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"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

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post #27 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by Suddenly Newton View Post

This isn't a product that *I* would want, therefore, it's not a product *anyone* would want. There's your proof it's "rather lame." /s

Indeed. But "I" is the most popular lens used to see the world.

post #28 of 79

This sounds like a great device for someone not really into photography but enjoys FaceTime with family, listening to music, watching (as opposed to recording) videos, playing a few games, checking emails and surfing the web. Pretty good price for a device that does all that efficiently. 

 

And, if it becomes popular. They could consider an iPhone without a camera as a cheaper option, too. Pretty smart.

post #29 of 79
I think this is a clear indication iOS 7 will require 512 MB RAM to run. The 4th generation iPod touch was the last product being sold with 256 MB.
post #30 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dunks View Post

I think this is a clear indication iOS 7 will require 512 MB RAM to run. The 4th generation iPod touch was the last product being sold with 256 MB.

Usually they have supported a previous model even after it's no longer on sale but that model was from 2010 as they skipped 2011 so I think you may be right.

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"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

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post #31 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by anantksundaram View Post

That's... well.... rather lame for Apple to do.

It makes perfect sense. Why pay for a crappy cell phone camera if you will never use it?
post #32 of 79
Yes, all they left out is what matters most to many customers--that better quality back camera.
post #33 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by Suddenly Newton View Post

This isn't a product that *I* would want, therefore, it's not a product *anyone* would want. There's your proof it's "rather lame." /s

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by jragosta View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by anantksundaram View Post

That's... well.... rather lame for Apple to do.

Why?

It's a low end model. Redesigning costs money. Having a different manufacturing process costs money. Having different QC checks costs money.

So what's lame about making a low end model by simply leaving the camera off and reducing the storage capacity and leaving everything else essentially unchanged?

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by anantksundaram View Post

That's... well.... rather lame for Apple to do.

I agree with jragosta. If they removed all other iPod Touch models from the lineup then I could see it as being lame but this is an additional 4" iPod Touch at a significantly lower price point.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by malax View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by anantksundaram View Post

That's... well.... rather lame for Apple to do.

What would be not "rather lame" for them to do?  Maybe include a grain of rice that had been blessed by the Dali Lama?  Or maybe one of Khan's cryogenically preserved minions?  

Oh, don't get your panties in a bunch.

 

I really just meant that it was quite unlike -- and a surprisingly lazy thing for -- Apple to do: to take an existing product, remove some (arguably) key functionality, leave the 'box' the same, lower the price and see if it sticks. I certainly don't recall their doing this with the iPod or iPad or iPhone lines before. Or with Macs (but I am less sure). They have always put a little more thought even into the process of 'downscaling' products.

 

And to others who are making the (trite) point that Apple is doing this hoping for a profit, well, duh. That's the primary reason profit-maximizing companies make such moves. However, that does not mean that the hope or expectation will always pan out. (I am speculating that this will be a bust. I could, of course, be wrong.)

 

Personally, I think this is a trial balloon on Apple's part to preview market reaction to a 'third world phone' by taking out some functionality in the iPhone 5. I am guessing Apple is particularly interested in seeing how markets such as India and China react to this.

post #34 of 79

Given that the components that they took out probably amounted to a cubic centimeter, a redesign of the case would have been insane.

post #35 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by jobsisgod View Post

I totally agree!  I think this device is perfect for the audience it's aimed at.  1smile.gif

 

The die hards (like many of us) will of course want the high end one, but I suspect there's a lot of people who will prefer the lower end version for the lower price.

 

Since Apple doesn't typically practice price bracketing, there's no reason to think this was intended to be the low-end decoy to bolster sales of the 32Gb iPod Touch. I therefore believe that Apple created this to cover the entry-level price iOS point (albeit with the 4" Retina display), but still remain a profitable SKU for Apple.

"Apple should pull the plug on the iPhone."

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post #36 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by malax View Post

Given that the components that they took out probably amounted to a cubic centimeter, a redesign of the case would have been insane.

 

It would have also have been an unnecessary expense in the development of a low-end model.

"Apple should pull the plug on the iPhone."

John C. Dvorak, 2007
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post #37 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by malax View Post

Given that the components that they took out probably amounted to a cubic centimeter, a redesign of the case would have been insane.

The way I interpreted the complaints were that if there is any cost savings it would be negligible so they might as well just leave them in and reduce the price by $70. Some people have even stated that $229 is too much and it should be $199.

"The real haunted empire?  It's the New York Times." ~SockRolid

"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

Reply

"The real haunted empire?  It's the New York Times." ~SockRolid

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post #38 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by jobsisgod View Post

Indeed.  It amazes me to see the ignorance of some (or just one?) who can't see this.

By jobsisgod:"I like how nowhere in your theories do you guess that Apple […] will maximize their profits."

It's face palms all the way down… 1oyvey.gif

"The real haunted empire?  It's the New York Times." ~SockRolid

"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

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"The real haunted empire?  It's the New York Times." ~SockRolid

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post #39 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post

The way I interpreted the complaints were that if there is any cost savings it would be negligible so they might as well just leave them in and reduce the price by $70. Some people have even stated that $229 is too much and it should be $199.

If Apple offered them for $19.99, people would still be complaining that it was too expensive and their calculations say that it should be $14.99.

There's no point in listening to the whiners. They don't have any clue what it takes to run a business and are always going to second guess Apple no matter what happens.
"I'm way over my head when it comes to technical issues like this"
Gatorguy 5/31/13
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post #40 of 79
Originally Posted by jobsisgod View Post
…Apple didn't make the low end model to make profits first and foremost…

 

That's only common sense. Of course they'd make a profit on every item they sell, but profit wasn't the driving factor in quite a few product releases of theirs.

Originally posted by Marvin

Even if [the 5.5” iPhone exists], it doesn’t deserve to.
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Originally posted by Marvin

Even if [the 5.5” iPhone exists], it doesn’t deserve to.
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