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A peek inside Apple's new nano and classic iPods (photos)

post #1 of 31
Thread Starter 
The first tear-down photos taken of Apple's new third-generation iPod nano and sixth-generation iPod classic are in, revealing extensive use of adhesive inside the nano and a new support plate behind the classic's noticeably thinner display.

Once again, props for the tear-down go to iFixIt, which sells repair parts for nearly all of Apple's consumer electronics products.

Third-gen iPod nano

According to iFixIt's measurements, the new iPod nano sports approximately the same surface area (36 square centimeters) as its older siblings despite being shorter and wider. The firm notes, however, that Apple appears to be going in circles with its approach to the player's enclosure materials.

While the original iPod mini (or nano predecessor) came wrapped in anodized aluminum, Apple returned to the shiny metal back enclosure with the first iteration of the nano in 2005. Apple last year made the jump back to the more ambitious anodized aluminum enclosure for its "re-mastered" nano, only to return to the shiny metal back again this year.

In total, the new nano case has eight locking tabs (3 on the left, 2 on top and 2 on the bottom right). There are then six Phillips screws fixing the logic board to the casing. Once the screws are removed, the logic board can be lifted slightly but remains tethered by the visible click wheel cable and the hidden display cable.

"We're noticing a strong trend as we take apart this iPod: adhesive," wrote iFixIt. "The click wheel is held in place by nothing but a very strong adhesive, which is going to make replacing it difficult. You'll have to get it to stay in place as well as Apple has (i.e. very well)."

Meanwhile, the battery is attached to the logic board by three through-hole solder points, which will similarly make replacements difficult. The nano's headphone jack is also soldered to the logic board, as is an 8GB Samsung flash memory chip.

























iFixit's third-gen iPod nano take-apart guide.

Sixth-gen iPod classic

Apple's new 80GB sixth-gen iPod classic and 30 GB fifth-gen video iPod share the same footprint, but the iPod classic manages to be thinner thanks to a 5mm thick Toshiba hard drive. The new iPod classic also sports an anodized aluminum face, which is slightly beveled in contrast to the iPod video's flat, plastic top.

Going along with its new aluminum faceplate, the iPod classic exchanges plastic tabs for metal ones. iFixIt says the new tabs catch much more effectively, making the case harder to open up.

"We were surprised to find a new metal plate backing the display," the firm wrote after successfully prying the player open. "Perhaps it was put there to support the display, making a break less likely?"

Similarly, the iPod classic is said to include a new display that is quite a bit thinner (about seventy percent as thick) than the old video iPod's. The battery, however, is exactly the same as the one used in the old 30GB video iPod.

















iFixit's sixth-gen iPod classic take-apart guide.
post #2 of 31
holy smokes! there's noting to that nano.....
post #3 of 31
Now let's see ya put it back together and make it work ,,.. lol
post #4 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by drjjones View Post

Now let's see ya put it back together and make it work ,,.. lol

Already done. (Last pic on iFixit's page.)

Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

Meanwhile, the battery is attached to the logic board by three through-hole solder points, which will similarly make replacements difficult. The nano's headphone jack is also soldered to the logic board,

Apple seems to delight in making iPod repairs more painful each gen. The next ipod's outer case will be a blister pack.
post #5 of 31
Nevermind
post #6 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by stompy View Post

Apple seems to delight in making iPod repairs more painful each gen. The next ipod's outer case will be a blister pack.

Isn't that the story of much of the compact hardware. The smaller its gets the less serviceable it gets. Although not in the same price range this pretty much reminds me of microwave ovens and remote-controls.
post #7 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by ajmas View Post

Although not in the same price range this pretty much reminds me of microwave ovens and remote-controls.

...And every time AEG or something like that brings out a new microwave-oven, kitchen utilities fanatics on the net tear it apart and post pics...
post #8 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by Moukkis View Post

...And every time AEG or something like that brings out a new microwave-oven, kitchen utilities fanatics on the net tear it apart and post pics...

Check iNukeIt for latest teardowns..
post #9 of 31
Interesting. Uses different NAND than before. The old 8GB part was K9MCG08U5M used in the old Nano and the iPhone.
post #10 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by vinea View Post

Interesting. Uses different NAND than before. The old 8GB part was K9MCG08U5M used in the old Nano and the iPhone.

You... need to get out more
post #11 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by vinea View Post

Interesting. Uses different NAND than before. The old 8GB part was K9MCG08U5M used in the old Nano and the iPhone.

...and get a dog or a girlfriend or something not virtual
post #12 of 31
Sorry, with a wife and kids and I can no longer buy toys...just look at them on websites.
post #13 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by stompy View Post

Already done. (Last pic on iFixit's page.)



Apple seems to delight in making iPod repairs more painful each gen. The next ipod's outer case will be a blister pack.

Why worry about repairs? That's not our problem. Few small devices are "repaired" these days. It costs more to repair anything other than replacing major parts than it would to replace the entire device with a new one.
post #14 of 31
when are they going to do a tear down of the new imac?
post #15 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by jonnyboy View Post

when are they going to do a tear down of the new imac?

I seem to remember that being on a few sites already.

Here's one, he does this a lot:

http://210.157.201.118/%7Ekodawarisa...07_mid_01.html
post #16 of 31
Wow, there really isn't much to the nano at all.. I'm surprised at how simple the insides of these machines are really..
Also, I know it's more expensive, but when oh when will we see a flash-based iPod classic? The price of NAND has got to be coming down..

Jimzip
"There's no time like the present, and the only present you'll never get, is time." - Me
Reply
"There's no time like the present, and the only present you'll never get, is time." - Me
Reply
post #17 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jimzip View Post

Wow, there really isn't much to the nano at all.. I'm surprised at how simple the insides of these machines are really..
Also, I know it's more expensive, but when oh when will we see a flash-based iPod classic? The price of NAND has got to be coming down..

Jimzip

Heh...it has. $500 for 32GB SSD these days.
post #18 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by melgross View Post

Why worry about repairs? That's not our problem. Few small devices are "repaired" these days. It costs more to repair anything other than replacing major parts than it would to replace the entire device with a new one.

My nephew has fixed a number of dropped iPods for friends. Most high schoolers can't afford to drop another $200 like that. Or throwing out an iPod when a $10 battery will make it new? Well, at Apple's battery repair prices, yeah... it would hardly be worth it.
post #19 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by melgross View Post

I seem to remember that being on a few sites already.

Here's one, he does this a lot:

http://210.157.201.118/%7Ekodawarisa...07_mid_01.html

not enough detail. i want upgrade guides
post #20 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by vinea View Post

Heh...it has. $500 for 32GB SSD these days.

lol. Ok..
Sheesh, they're really milking it aren't they..

Jimzip
"There's no time like the present, and the only present you'll never get, is time." - Me
Reply
"There's no time like the present, and the only present you'll never get, is time." - Me
Reply
post #21 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by stompy View Post

My nephew has fixed a number of dropped iPods for friends. Most high schoolers can't afford to drop another $200 like that. Or throwing out an iPod when a $10 battery will make it new? Well, at Apple's battery repair prices, yeah... it would hardly be worth it.

You're not supposed to be doing this yourself. There is no reason why a manufacturer should make their product easy for the customer to repair when they say, for liabilities sake: "No customer serviceable parts inside".
post #22 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by jonnyboy View Post

not enough detail. i want upgrade guides

Guides to upgrade what?

The only things you can upgrade are the HDD and memory. Possibly the DVD, if you can find the same form factor drive from a company that might make one with better specs. Pehaps the cpu can be replaced as well with the same socket model, such as the upcoming Penyrn.

But to do those things, all you need is a take apart guide. The rest is just screws and clips, with care and some compound for the cpu.
post #23 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by melgross View Post

You're not supposed to be doing this yourself. There is no reason why a manufacturer should make their product easy for the customer to repair when they say, for liabilities sake: "No customer serviceable parts inside".

Would it be ok for Apple to make it easier for their own technicians to do battery replacements? What good is it doing to solder the battery to the main board?
post #24 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by stompy View Post

Would it be ok for Apple to make it easier for their own technicians to do battery replacements? What good is it doing to solder the battery to the main board?

Reliability.
post #25 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by melgross View Post

Reliability.

Every full size iPod (Classic) has had a connector for the battery. The hard drive alone makes this unit more failure prone than the nanos, is Apple choosing to make them even more failure prone by not soldering the battery, or is it something else?
post #26 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by stompy View Post

Every full size iPod (Classic) has had a connector for the battery. The hard drive alone makes this unit more failure prone than the nanos, is Apple choosing to make them even more failure prone by not soldering the battery, or is it something else?

I have my concepts from my days in design and manufacturing as to why companies do what they do, but I'm not privy to Apple'sdesign center, so I can't amswer for them. I can only give my impressions.

They may find that the Flash based models are subjected to higher levels of abuse. It's possible that from their experience with returned, damaged models, that they have found the batteries to move around too much, bang against the connectors, and loosen the connections. It's only a guess, but it's something I've found in some portable designs.

Price could affect this as well. It's cheaper to solder the battery than to add a connector to the mobo. It takes very little time to unsolder the battery and solder a new one in. Not much more time than it would take to remove a clipped one, and re-install a new one.
post #27 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by melgross View Post

They may find that the Flash based models are subjected to higher levels of abuse. It's possible that from their experience with returned, damaged models, that they have found the batteries to move around too much, bang against the connectors, and loosen the connections. It's only a guess, but it's something I've found in some portable designs.

Apple has soldered batteries on all of their flash iPods; while this decision might be based on research with some other product (possibly the mini), Apple didn't change course because of prior experience with flash iPods.

The iPhone and iPod touch also have soldered battery leads, but I'd treat these products more gently than a regular iPod. I don't know if expected abuse is the reason here.

I agree that Apple shouldn't sacrifice important qualities (reliability, portability) for end user serviceability, my qualm has been that Apple's idea of elegance is a sealed, disposable product. That's not going to prevent most sales--I plan to buy one of these nanos myself. I also intend to use it well past their original battery's lifetime.
post #28 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by stompy View Post

Apple has soldered batteries on all of their flash iPods; while this decision might be based on research with some other product (possibly the mini), Apple didn't change course because of prior experience with flash iPods.

There is such a thing called test to destruction. All manufacturers do this with certain products, particularly mobile ones. I'm sure they had plenty of experience doing this during the design process for all of the players, and decided the Flash based models were more likely to get abused that way.

There were reports of the HDD models getting damaged when worn whilst jugging. Now, people use the Flash models for this, and other exercise routines. People also tend to drop them more because of the small size.

The iPhone and iPod touch also have soldered battery leads, but I'd treat these products more gently than a regular iPod. I don't know if expected abuse is the reason here.

I agree that Apple shouldn't sacrifice important qualities (reliability, portability) for end user serviceability, my qualm has been that Apple's idea of elegance is a sealed, disposable product. That's not going to prevent most sales--I plan to buy one of these nanos myself. I also intend to use it well past their original battery's lifetime.[/QUOTE]
post #29 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by melgross View Post

There is such a thing called test to destruction. All manufacturers do this with certain products, particularly mobile ones. I'm sure they had plenty of experience doing this during the design process for all of the players, and decided the Flash based models were more likely to get abused that way.

I started to include something about that, but deleted because I thought you were talking about shipping iPods only.

Quote:
Originally Posted by melgross View Post

There were reports of the HDD models getting damaged when worn whilst jugging. Now, people use the Flash models for this, and other exercise routines. People also tend to drop them more because of the small size.

Do you mean damage attributable to the battery connector, or simply a connector that's worked loose? It seems like I've heard of the second, but not the first.
post #30 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by stompy View Post

I started to include something about that, but deleted because I thought you were talking about shipping iPods only.



Do you mean damage attributable to the battery connector, or simply a connector that's worked loose? It seems like I've heard of the second, but not the first.

Battery connector springs becoming compressed, as well as HDD's becoming damaged.
post #31 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by melgross View Post

Battery connector springs becoming compressed, as well as HDD's becoming damaged.

Fair enough.
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