New iPod touch teardown shows power optimizations, no sapphire camera lens cover

Posted:
in iPod + iTunes + AppleTV edited July 2015
A teardown of the sixth-generation iPod touch published on Friday exposed new details about the device, including the presence of a marginally bigger battery, the lack of a sapphire lens cover, and which chipmakers are involved in supplying parts.




The battery in the updated Touch is rated at 1,042 milliamp-hours, versus 1,030 in the fifth-generation model from 2012, said repair firm iFixit. This suggests major power optimizations, since the device's A8 processor is significantly more powerful than the A5 in the old model, and yet Apple advertises 40 hours of music playback or up to 8 hours of video.

Although Apple has upgraded the rear camera to an 8-megapixel model more comparable to the iPhone 6, it's still missing some features, including a sapphire lens cover. Sapphire is tougher to scratch than Gorilla Glass or Ion-X glass, but also more expensive to produce. Apple may have made a sacrifice to keep prices down and profits up.




The dissected iPod featured Hynix RAM, Toshiba flash storage, and an InvenSense gyroscope and accelerometer. The M8 motion coprocessor was built by NXP Semiconductors, and two touchscreen controllers belonged to Broadcom and Texas Instruments. The Bluetooth/Wi-Fi module was marked as coming from Universal Scientific Industrial, but iFixit noted that it's likely based on a Broadcom design.

Evalutating repairability, the firm said that while replacing parts isn't impossible -- particular since there's no Touch ID sensor, and pull tabs are present on the battery -- many parts are still soldered together, and other obstacles like convoluted ribbon cables get in the way.




The sixth-gen Touch launched on Wednesday with prices ranging from $199 for 16 gigabytes to $399 for a new 128-gigabyte capacity. It was Apple's first major iPod upgrade since 2012, and even then the iPod nano and shuffle have remained essentially unchanged, simply picking up new colors.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 15
    What...no tear down of the Shuffle yet? ;)
  • Reply 2 of 15
    Quote:

     This suggests major power optimizations, since the device's A8 processor is significantly more powerful than the A5 in the old model, and yet Apple advertises 40 hours of music playback or up to 8 hours of video.


     

    The Broadwell chips in modern MacBook Air are significantly more powerful than the custom Merom chip in my MacBook Air, yet mine gets 5hrs of rated life vs 12+ for the Broadwell version. I don't think Apple had to do anything here short of up the voltage.

  • Reply 3 of 15
    Turtles!
  • Reply 4 of 15
    mstonemstone Posts: 11,510member

    What is that black oval opposite the camera lens?

  • Reply 5 of 15
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by mstone View Post

     

    What is that black oval opposite the camera lens?




    WiFi antenna location. That's been a Touch hallmark since the first gen.

     

  • Reply 6 of 15
    fallenjtfallenjt Posts: 3,976member

    Very powerful, indeed. This will be good enough without refresh for the next 4 years. Faster chip, better ram, bigger battery in the same chassis and board design, now I'm convinced that Apple can upgrade the 5S to 4" 6C with these similar upgrades + NFC. That would make 4" iPhone fans excited.

  • Reply 7 of 15
    flaneurflaneur Posts: 4,509member
    I wonder if the decision to go back to glass for the lens cover has more to do with the fact that the speed of the lens stack is 2.4 rather than 2.2, like on the 5S and the 6. Glass may transmit some critical wavelengths that sapphire would bounce back or absorb. Who knows.

    The slower lens in turn may be a requirement of the thinner device profile.

    After 4 years of using my 4S as a camera, 2 years as a phone, I see no scratches on the lens cover, and I think it's glass, not sapphire, and it sits flush with the back besides.

    In other words, Apple maybe did not cheap out, but showed their usual regard for overall qualiity of results no matter what anyone thinks.
  • Reply 8 of 15
    isteelersisteelers Posts: 738member
    I highly doubt Apple designs "convoluted ribbon cables". Each is ribbon is designed to fit exact and are not meant to be user-serviceable. Ifixit should know this by now.
  • Reply 9 of 15
    sandorsandor Posts: 523member
    flaneur wrote: »
    I wonder if the decision to go back to glass for the lens cover has more to do with the fact that the speed of the lens stack is 2.4 rather than 2.2, like on the 5S and the 6. Glass may transmit some critical wavelengths that sapphire would bounce back or absorb. Who knows.

    The slower lens in turn may be a requirement of the thinner device profile.

    After 4 years of using my 4S as a camera, 2 years as a phone, I see no scratches on the lens cover, and I think it's glass, not sapphire, and it sits flush with the back besides.

    In other words, Apple maybe did not cheap out, but showed their usual regard for overall qualiity of results no matter what anyone thinks.


    speed, in photographic terms when speaking of lenses, is simply the maximum opening size of the aperture.

    I would expect the faster lens (aka the bigger opening) to be more sensitive to aberrations in the front material.



    however, I very much agree that thickness (or lack there of) could very well be the reasoning behind the material choice.
  • Reply 10 of 15
    flaneurflaneur Posts: 4,509member
    sandor wrote: »
    speed, in photographic terms when speaking of lenses, is simply the maximum opening size of the aperture.

    I would expect the faster lens (aka the bigger opening) to be more sensitive to aberrations in the front material.



    however, I very much agree that thickness (or lack there of) could very well be the reasoning behind the material choice.

    In the case of aberrations, i can see your point. I guess i should restrict the question to light loss from the sapphire relative to plain strong glass. Thanks for taking the point seriously. Someone at MacRumors (naturally) was characterizing the use of glass as a "ripoff."
  • Reply 11 of 15
    flaneur wrote: »
    Someone at MacRumors (naturally) was characterizing the use of glass as a "ripoff."

    How ironic. When the iPhone 5 came out, the sapphire lens was thought to cause the purple lens flares in photos and the critics raked Apple over the coals. Now they want sapphire?
  • Reply 12 of 15
    anantksundaramanantksundaram Posts: 19,151member
    Just got my 128GB gold iPod Touch (I plan to use it as the primary music device for my car; retiring the old workhorse, the 160GB iPod classic, that has served me well for many, many years -- I'll still use it as an external hard drive).

    First impressions:

    1) The packaging looks cheap plasticky.

    2) Very surprised that there is no power brick -- there's only a cord. Fortunately I have many power bricks, so I am ok, but I would have expected that Apple would throw in one on a $399 product.

    3) The device itself is gorgeous. Apple would be stupid not to add a 4-inch iPhone to its lineup, since this is what it would look like (i.e., the iPhone 6 form factor with a 4-inch screen). I have little doubt that it will be a huge hit.

    4) The on/off button is on the top, not side. I find that a tad strange for something Apple is introducing in 2015. I would have thought that there might be some attempt at parallelism in design. It's weird to have to go back to pressing the button on the top when I've (finally) got used to pressing a button on the side on my iPhone. (Somehow, this felt like less of an issue on my iPad).
  • Reply 13 of 15
    Just got my 128GB gold iPod Touch (I plan to use it as the primary music device for my car; retiring the old workhorse, the 160GB iPod classic, that has served me well for many, many years -- I'll still use it as an external hard drive).

    First impressions:

    1) The packaging looks cheap plasticky.

    2) Very surprised that there is no power brick -- there's only a cord. Fortunately I have many power bricks, so I am ok, but I would have expected that Apple would throw in one on a $399 product.

    3) The device itself is gorgeous. Apple would be stupid not to add a 4-inch iPhone to its lineup, since this is what it would look like (i.e., the iPhone 6 form factor with a 4-inch screen). I have little doubt that it will be a huge hit.

    4) The on/off button is on the top, not side. I find that a tad strange for something Apple is introducing in 2015. I would have thought that there might be some attempt at parallelism in design. It's weird to have to go back to pressing the button on the top when I've (finally) got used to pressing a button on the side on my iPhone. (Somehow, this felt like less of an issue on my iPad).

    1) Got any photos of the new packaging? Is it the rounded plastic box they normally put iPods Nanos and Touch models in, something cheaper?

    2) I think Shuffles and Nanos don't come with chargers either. Just the USB cord.

    4) I find it fascinating that you have these expectations. For example, iPads still have their sleep wake buttons on top, and their volume buttons to the right (instead of the left) side of the screen. Because form follows function, and Apple had a functional reason for moving the sleep/wake button on the large screen iPhones to the side. That reason isn't present on true one-hand-use devices like the 4" iPhones and iPod Touch.
  • Reply 14 of 15
    anantksundaramanantksundaram Posts: 19,151member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Suddenly Newton View Post



    1) Got any photos of the new packaging? Is it the rounded plastic box they normally put iPods Nanos and Touch models in, something cheaper?



    2) I think Shuffles and Nanos don't come with chargers either. Just the USB cord.



    4) I find it fascinating that you have these expectations. For example, iPads still have their sleep wake buttons on top, and their volume buttons to the right (instead of the left) side of the screen. Because form follows function, and Apple had a functional reason for moving the sleep/wake button on the large screen iPhones to the side. That reason isn't present on true one-hand-use devices like the 4" iPhones and iPod Touch.

    1) I have not bought an iPod for a few years now, so perhaps the packaging is not that different from what it's been in the recent past. But that does not make it any less cheap and plasticky looking.

     

    2) I was not talking about Shuffles and Nanos.

     

    3) I am not sure of what 'function' you're referring to. If you mean ability to use the on/off switch one-handedly, I suggest you try and hold an iPhone 6 in your hand (assuming normal size), and see how far your forefinger extends: it quite conveniently reaches to where an on/off switch on top would be. So, I guess, I am not following your point.

     

    (Btw, what is so 'fascinating' about having a rather pedestrian expectation of design parallelism?! Many of Apple's product categories -- e.g., the laptops -- do, and have always been that way. In fact, it's that similarly in 'look and feel' that set Apple products apart).

  • Reply 15 of 15
    asciiascii Posts: 5,941member

    iFixit do the best technical teardowns.

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