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

Posted:
in iPod + iTunes + AppleTV edited January 2014
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.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 92
    anantksundaramanantksundaram Posts: 18,816member
    That's... well.... rather lame for Apple to do.
  • Reply 2 of 92
    jragostajragosta Posts: 10,473member
    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?
  • Reply 3 of 92
    solipsismxsolipsismx Posts: 19,566member
    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.
  • Reply 4 of 92
    cash907cash907 Posts: 893member
    jragosta wrote: »
    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.
  • Reply 5 of 92
    cash907cash907 Posts: 893member
    solipsismx wrote: »
    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.
  • Reply 6 of 92
    solipsismxsolipsismx Posts: 19,566member
    cash907 wrote: »
    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.
  • Reply 7 of 92
    tallest skiltallest skil Posts: 43,399member


    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… 

  • Reply 8 of 92
    malaxmalax Posts: 1,598member


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

  • Reply 9 of 92
    malaxmalax Posts: 1,598member

    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?  

  • Reply 10 of 92
    rogifanrogifan Posts: 10,669member
    cash907 wrote: »
    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.
  • Reply 11 of 92
    solipsismxsolipsismx Posts: 19,566member
    rogifan wrote: »
    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
  • Reply 12 of 92
    jragostajragosta Posts: 10,473member
    cash907 wrote: »
    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?
  • Reply 13 of 92
    quest01quest01 Posts: 69member


    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. 

  • Reply 14 of 92
    jobsisgodjobsisgod Posts: 31member
    The lower end iPod touch is really just a high end iPod touch with less features? Imagine that...
  • Reply 15 of 92
    solipsismxsolipsismx Posts: 19,566member
    jragosta wrote: »
    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.
  • Reply 16 of 92
    jobsisgodjobsisgod Posts: 31member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post





    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 thin 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.


     


    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.  image

  • Reply 17 of 92
    solipsismxsolipsismx Posts: 19,566member
    jobsisgod wrote: »
    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:

    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.
  • Reply 18 of 92
    jobsisgodjobsisgod Posts: 31member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post





    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.


     


    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!

  • Reply 19 of 92
    solipsismxsolipsismx Posts: 19,566member
    jobsisgod wrote: »
    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?
  • Reply 20 of 92
    suddenly newtonsuddenly newton Posts: 13,724member


    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

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