Inside Apple's new third-gen iPod shuffle (teardown photos)

Posted:
in iPod + iTunes + AppleTV edited January 2014
The latest, most petit version of Apple's iPod shuffle music player can be disassembled without major challenge, according to a new tear-down report, which notes that the player is compatible with third-party headphones if all you want to do is listen to music straight and not control playback or volume.



Apple's third-generation shuffle was announced just yesterday with 4GB of storage and a new aluminum design that's smaller than a AA battery. The controls, somewhat controversially, have been moved to the earbud cord, with VoiceOver speech technology for navigation.



The Apple teardown experts at iFixit have posted their first look at the new shuffle, observing that a single MacBook Pro 17" weighs as much as 286 of the miniscule players. Even more tiny is the battery, about the size of a dime, with a 73 mAh capacity representing less than half the size of the power reservoirs used in previous shuffles. The weight of the entire shuffle is less than 11 grams, and the rear cover and clip by themselves weigh as much as the rest of the components.



As part of its examination, the iFixit team found the new third-generation shuffle isn't compatible with the second generation dock, nor did the third-generation cable work with a second-generation iPod shuffle.



"Interestingly enough, normal headphones can still be used to listen to music," the solutions provider says. "The only drawback: without Apple's proprietary headphone playback control, you will not be able to change songs or adjust the volume."



Before taking it apart, the technicians couldn't resist placing the diminutive device into a police line-up for a size comparison against a quarter, nickel, dime, PEZ dispenser, SanDisk flash drive, and paper binder clip. While it's not the row's smallest suspect, the shuffle is certainly guilty of being significantly shorter than the dedicated flash drive and just slightly taller than the binder clip.







"We begin by inserting a metal spudger into a crevice between the rear cover and the rest of the shuffle," iFixit wrote. "Inserting the metal spudger creates a gap big enough to insert an iPod opening tool." Sliding the tool across the length of the gap dislodges the left side, then the same procedure is applied to the other side to pry the device open. Once inside, the team was impressed with the clean, simplified interior design ("Is this the future? A single IC, a battery, and some user interface components").



With the outer casing removed, the electronics and battery weigh just four grams, or less than a single sheet of paper. While it's a little bit of a challenge to separate the two halves, once inside there's only one screw to remove.











iFixit noted the back aluminum cover is "fairly easy to bend," recommending caution whenever dealing with that part. With the full shuffle taken apart, the CPU, RAM, and 4GB of flash memory can be seen on a multi-layered stack connected to the battery, while the headphone jack and shuffle switch come out as one unit. According to a stamp inside the casing, the device appears to have been built on March 3rd, meaning iFixit's lucky shuffle had been assembled no more than nine days before being dismantled.



Below are all of the internals ("There are not many parts in this iPod") laid out for comparison with a dime the iFixit team said they found inside (geek humor).







For the full disassembly guide, complete with additional details and photos, is available at iFixit's website.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 81
    there still space inside! quite cool, mr. Ive!



    however, wouldn't the chrome clip be fingerprinted all the time?
  • Reply 2 of 81
    solipsismsolipsism Posts: 25,726member
    This is impressive for such a small device. The CPU is an ARM 8442A, does anyone know how fast it is? If so, do you also know how fast the 2G CPU is? I'm curious to see what HW differences have made it possible to play Apple Lossless, which is new to the iPod Shuffle.



    edit: I think RAM is probably the most important aspect for such large files. So, does anyone know the RAM for the new and old Shuffles?





    Quote:
    Originally Posted by koolhaas View Post


    there still space inside! quite cool, mr. Ive!



    Apple measures the "true volume" which deletes open space of the headphone jack, the voids inside, etc. I wonder if other players measure their volume that way.
  • Reply 3 of 81
    I'm sick of dealing with my iPhone while riding my bike - I'm getting the new shuffle just for that.
  • Reply 4 of 81
    wigginwiggin Posts: 2,265member
    "As part of its examination, the iFixit team found the new third-generation shuffle isn't compatible with the second generation dock, nor did the third-generation cable work with a second-generation iPod shuffle."



    That's just crazy! I guess now we know why they had to add a 5th USB port to the Mac mini. For all the different dock cables you need for your iPods. I was considering buying a 2nd shuffle, this seals the deal that it'll be a previous generation.





    "Interestingly enough, normal headphones can still be used to listen to music," the solutions provider says. "The only drawback: without Apple's proprietary headphone playback control, you will not be able to change songs or adjust the volume."



    So then you can't really use normal headphones, now can you. Not in any practical sense.
  • Reply 5 of 81
    solipsismsolipsism Posts: 25,726member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Wiggin View Post


    "As part of its examination, the iFixit team found the new third-generation shuffle isn't compatible with the second generation dock, nor did the third-generation cable work with a second-generation iPod shuffle."



    That's just crazy! I guess now we know why they had to add a 5th USB port to the Mac mini. For all the different dock cables you need for your iPods. I was considering buying a 2nd shuffle, this seals the deal that it'll be a previous generation.



    Apple sells more notebooks than desktops and those didn't get any more USB, and actually lost FW400, so I doubt that is the reason for the addition.



    This was to be expected since the device charges and syncs through the headphone jack and the connectors had to be changed to allow input from the headphone cable. You might think that normal headphones shouldn't be able to work but the L and R audio out hasn't changed, probably so regular headphones can work as well (I am referring more to the other iPods that use this quad-connector), but the connector to charge and sync probably has changed. At least the simple, short USB-to-3.5mm quad headphone jack will be a very, very cheap item on Monoprice next month.
  • Reply 6 of 81
    Those components are impressively small. I wonder if we have P.A. Semi to thank for it?



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Wiggin View Post


    That's just crazy! I guess now we know why they had to add a 5th USB port to the Mac mini. For all the different dock cables you need for your iPods. I was considering buying a 2nd shuffle, this seals the deal that it'll be a previous generation.



    I was thinking that maybe Apple should just incorporate a dock into the Mac Mini if people use it as a multimedia comp anyways. Might not be that elegant, but they could hide it behind a door.
  • Reply 7 of 81
    quinneyquinney Posts: 2,525member
    This iPod is dangerously small. That is, swallowed by a toddler small.



    (I hope they put a choking hazard warning on the packaging)
  • Reply 8 of 81
    I was really excited about this new generation... Until my father bought one, and found out that there was NO fast forward OR rewind function (as in skipping seconds through songs)



    This was confirmed by an apple store employee who said "Yes, this generation of the Ipod Shuffle does not have that feature." Since when did FF or REW become a FEATURE!?
  • Reply 9 of 81
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by BeaverbookG4 View Post


    I was really excited about this new generation... Until my father bought one, and found out that there was NO fast forward OR rewind function (as in skipping seconds through songs)



    This was confirmed by an apple store employee who said "Yes, this generation of the Ipod Shuffle does not have that feature." Since when did FF or REW become a FEATURE!?



    That's not true, actually. To fast-forward you double-click and hold after the second click. To fast rewind you triple click and hold. Funny that the Apple Store employee would get it wrong.
  • Reply 10 of 81
    allblueallblue Posts: 393member
    On the ID line-up image, I take it that is the Zune 3.0 next to the shuffle? It's good to see Redmond's designers are finally getting their act together!
  • Reply 11 of 81
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by quinney View Post


    This iPod is dangerously small. That is, swallowed by a toddler small.



    (I hope they put a choking hazard warning on the packaging)



    Do you want to have those kind of warnings on Nickels and Dimes too ?



    Come on get a life ! When I was a kid those warnings did not exists on packages and my parents still told me not to swallow stuff. Do you really need such a sticker for a parent to know that your kid should not put this in the mouth.



    Maybe they ought to introduce a 3year renewable parenting permit, just like a driving permit
  • Reply 12 of 81
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by tonton View Post


    That's not true, actually. To fast-forward you double-click and hold after the second click. To fast rewind you triple click and hold. Funny that the Apple Store employee would get it wrong.



    Uhhh how convenient. The 2nd gen shuffle had it sussed IMHO. Small but functional and you could connect a proper BOSE headphone to it. Very nice when onboard a plane. The battery of the shuffle goes like forever, its small and with decent headphones even the sound was allright.



    but no proper skip and FF ? Lame
  • Reply 13 of 81
    lorrelorre Posts: 396member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by freelander51 View Post


    Do you want to have those kind of warnings on Nickels and Dimes too ?



    Come on get a life ! When I was a kid those warnings did not exists on packages and my parents still told me not to swallow stuff. Do you really need such a sticker for a parent to know that your kid should not put this in the mouth.



    Maybe they ought to introduce a 3year renewable parenting permit, just like a driving permit



    My fellow Belgian, I don't think you get the point entirely



    The choking hazard warnings aren't there to tell parents that it's dangerous to leave the stuff around kids, at least not in the first place. The main reason is to avoid lawsuits when an accident would happen where a toddler accidentally swallows one.



    In America, or so I'm told, such lawsuits are fairly common.
  • Reply 14 of 81
    zaunerzauner Posts: 48member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Lorre View Post


    My fellow Belgian, I don't think you get the point entirely



    The choking hazard warnings aren't there to tell parents that it's dangerous to leave the stuff around kids, at least not in the first place. The main reason is to avoid lawsuits when an accident would happen where a toddler accidentally swallows one.



    In America, or so I'm told, such lawsuits are fairly common.



    Well, in Europe there's still a remaining bit of individual freedom so companies don't have to worry if you swallow the items of your choice. Helps lawyers concentrate on real cases, too!



    Should I ever accidentally swallow it I can at least remotely operate it via the ear-buds hahahaha
  • Reply 15 of 81
    wigginwiggin Posts: 2,265member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by solipsism View Post


    Apple sells more notebooks than desktops and those didn't get any more USB, and actually lost FW400, so I doubt that is the reason for the addition.



    Sorry, I guess I should have marked my original comment with a sarcasm tag, but I thought it was kind of obvious.
  • Reply 16 of 81
    solipsismsolipsism Posts: 25,726member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Wiggin View Post


    Sorry, I guess I should have marked my original comment with a sarcasm tag, but I thought it was kind of obvious.



    Mea cupla, I was tired and didn't catch it, but can see it now. Without verbal inflection sarcasm loses one of it's key elements.
  • Reply 17 of 81
    godriflegodrifle Posts: 266member
    So how is voiceover handled? Is it done on the fly by the device itself, or does iTunes create a small MP3 file for each?
  • Reply 18 of 81
    solipsismsolipsism Posts: 25,726member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by godrifle View Post


    So how is voiceover handled? Is it done on the fly by the device itself, or does iTunes create a small MP3 file for each?



    The latter, which is why there are differences in the voices between Windows and OS X.
  • Reply 19 of 81
    floccusfloccus Posts: 138member
    Why can't we all accept that in a few weeks someone will release an adapater that provides the remote functions and a 3.5jack for non-Apple headphones?



    As for the post, I wonder how much Apple is influencing/investing in battery design? They made a trade off in capacity for size for the shuffle, but capacity will always be something they'll want to increase. With $20 billion lying around, I'd hope they're engaging some battery manufacturers to improve their R&D.
  • Reply 20 of 81
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by quinney View Post


    This iPod is dangerously small. That is, swallowed by a toddler small.



    (I hope they put a choking hazard warning on the packaging)



    I hope you have no loose change lying around in your house -- they don't come with warning labels, you know!





    (Noticed I was scooped on that response.... ah well..... although, mine is more polite.....)
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