iPod Touch 3rd Generation Teardown

Teardown

Teardown

Teardowns provide a look inside a device and should not be used as disassembly instructions.

We got our new iPod touch 3rd Generation on the morning of September 11, 2009.

Want up-to-the-minute updates? Follow @ifixit on twitter.

Check out the YouTube video of the teardown!

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Edit Step 1 iPod Touch 3rd Generation Teardown  ¶ 

  • The new iPod touch 3rd Generation!

  • It's available in three different configurations, with both the 32 GB and 64 GB sporting a faster processor and OpenGL ES 2.0 support.

  • We don't think anything changed on the 8 GB touch. The only thing we know for sure has changed is the price (it's now $199).

  • According to Phil Schiller, "$199 is the magic price point in the iPod world." However, it sure seems people don't mind paying more. Apple's already sold 20 million iPod touches, all for more than $199 each.

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Edit Step 2  ¶ 

  • We have a 32 GB touch. It looks identical on the outside, but does sport a new model number on the back, A1318. (The second gen touch was A1288).

  • The iPod touch didn't get nearly as much love as its smaller sibling, the new nano. There's still no camera.

  • For now anyway, if you want both a touch screen and a camera, an iPhone's your only option.

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Edit Step 3  ¶ 

  • We're working on getting it open. In the meantime, let's have some fun with numbers.

  • Retailing for $399 in the US, you'll be paying $6.23 per gigabyte for the 64 GB touch. That's no match for the $1.56 per gigabyte for the 160 GB iPod Classic.

  • Going back four years, the original nano was $62.25 per gigabyte, while the hard drive-based 60 GB iPod Video of that era was $6.65 per gigabyte.

  • Interestingly, that means that today flash is roughly equivalent to where hard drives were four years ago. In 2005, you could purchase a 60 GB iPod Video for $399, while today you can get a 64 GB iPod Touch for the same price.

  • Don't read too much into these numbers; there's lots of other costs and components to the iPods other than the raw storage medium.

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Edit Step 4  ¶ 

  • According to Apple, the new touch is up to 50% faster. It will be interesting to see how performance stacks up against the iPhone 3GS.

  • Getting this iPod open wasn't easy. Yes, we keep saying that about iPods lately. Unfortunately, there's not a single currently shipping iPod that isn't very difficult to open.

  • The front glass and digitizer isn't the same as on earlier touches. This is our most popular repair part on the iPod touch. We have these for both the 1st and 2nd generation, and will be adding parts for this one as soon as possible.

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Edit Step 5  ¶ 

  • We're in! No surprises yet. We'll get to the chips as soon as we can.

  • You can see the silver metal retaining clips on the sides of the LCD. There are four clips on the right side, and three on the left.

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Edit Step 6  ¶ 

  • You get a free mirror with every iPod touch!

  • A Phillips #00 screwdriver makes quick work of the screws holding the LCD assembly in the touch.

  • The LCD is very similar, but not identical to that of the 2nd gen touch. The connector on this display is just a tad wider.

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Edit Step 7  ¶ 

  • Let's get the logic board out...

  • We're skipping a few of the details, so don't use this to take apart your touch.

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Edit Step 8  ¶ 

  • It's out!

  • You can see the speaker sitting on top of the logic board.

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Edit Step 9  ¶ 

  • The battery. It's 2.92 Whr, which comes out to be 789 mAh.

  • We appreciate it when Apple prints the watt-hour ratings on their batteries, it makes our job a lot easier.

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Edit Step 10  ¶ 

  • After peeling away the speaker, here's the brains of the Touch.

  • Samsung looks to be the big winner here.

  • The primary ARM processor is adorned with the following:

    • 339S0075 ARM

    • K4X2G303PE-SGC8

    • YNE069AC 0928

    • APL2298

  • Is this a new, faster processor? The processor on the last iPod touch (2nd gen) was labelled 339S0048ARM. The processor in the iPhone 3GS is marked 339S0073ARM.

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Edit Step 11  ¶ 

  • The Samsung branded NAND flash.

  • There are two 128 gigabit packages, for a total of 256 gigabits. Divide that by eight, and that's 32 gigabytes of MLC NAND flash.

  • The chips looked like that when we removed the speaker, we didn't damage them ourselves. We're not sure if that's just adhesive, or if the packages were actually slightly melted.

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Edit Step 12  ¶ 

  • The other side of the board.

  • You can see where the contacts for the battery connect to the logic board, just to the left of the word "APPLE."

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Edit Step 13  ¶ 

  • An 8 GB 2nd gen touch logic board (left) and. our new 32 GB 3rd gen touch logic board.

  • Both machines have the same basic board design. However, on the 3rd gen, the NAND flash is split between two chips, leaving very little free space on the board.

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Edit Step 14  ¶ 

  • Broadcom BCM4329FKUBG wireless chip.

  • According to Broadcom, the BCM4329 supports 802.11n!

  • This is a big deal, as even the iPhone 3GS doesn't support 802.11n. The iPhone 3GS has a BCM4325 wireless chip, which only supports 802.11 a/b/g. We don't know yet if 802.11n will be supported in software, but at least the hardware's there.

  • There's also Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR and a FM receiver and transmitter packed into this chip. If they built in the antennas, and if Apple adds software support, you could theoretically stream music to your car stereo without any external hardware. But that's a lot of ifs.

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Edit Step 15  ¶ 

  • It appears that Apple left in room for a camera in the top of the device. There is a 6mm x 6mm x 3mm space between the Broadcom chip and the wireless antenna. There isn't enough depth for an iPhone-style autofocus still camera, but just enough room for the camera that Apple used in the 5th generation iPod nano.

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Edit Step 16  ¶ 

Required Tools

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Phillips #00 Screwdriver

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Plastic Opening Tools

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Comments Comments are onturn off

Can u put it back together and still have a ipod that works?

Annie, · Reply

You sell selected nylon 'spudger' tools by Menda, which are great, but who's the OEM for the iPod opening tools?

spudgemonkey, · Reply

Did you find any indication on possible of adding GPS to ipod touch?

jjb, · Reply

And what about a COMPASS those the iTouch has it?

Vrumm, · Reply

Quote from jjb:

Did you find any indication on possible of adding GPS to ipod touch?

Unless there's a dedicated GPS receiver chip in there (which I don't see), the answer is currently no until apple makes the Bluetooth serial profile available (so standalone units could be used) or someone finally ships a receiver that connects to the accessory port. Same for a compass/magnetometer.

rrrob, · Reply

Quote from rrrob:

Unless there's a dedicated GPS receiver chip in there (which I don't see), the answer is currently no until apple makes the Bluetooth serial profile available (so standalone units could be used) or someone finally ships a receiver that connects to the accessory port. Same for a compass/magnetometer.

can you give more info on this?

what do you mean by "or someone finally ships a receiver that connects to the accessory port" ?

oakpro, · Reply

Am I the only one who sees space for a front facing camera there?

brd841, · Reply

Probably for the mic I wish they remembered to install

Gun, · Reply

I was able to use this teardown to guide me in replacing the front glass and digitizer on a 32gb iPod touch 3rd gen. It is still extremely difficult to get the plastic frame from around the glass off, but after the use of a heat gun and some patience, I was able to do it.

Thanks a ton to Walter Galan for creating this teardown, I love what you do and look forward to more!

Peter J, · Reply

I dont understand the purpose or use of the "mirror" being removed...

macsound, · Reply

Quote from macsound:

I dont understand the purpose or use of the "mirror" being removed...

I second that question. Why is there a "mirror" that you can't see unless you open the iPod? Does it serve as shielding or something?

TuxRug, · Reply

Quote from TuxRug:

I second that question. Why is there a "mirror" that you can't see unless you open the iPod? Does it serve as shielding or something?

I posted this on the iPod Touch 2nd generation repair guide, hope it helps:

I'm fairly confident that the mylar is there for viewing the display in direct sunlight and for reflecting the backlight/incoming sunlight back out through the LCD. If you hold the display assembly (without mylar) in front of a very intense light source, you'll notice it is a bit transparent and that light transmits through both the LCD and the backlight. Now, if you check out the metal tray that the LCD sits in, you'll notice that it is not a uniform flat surface due to many voids for screw holes, etc. If you were to view the display in direct sunlight without the mylar in place, you'd probably see all the voids in the metal display tray as unwanted "shadows" in your display. I'd install the mylar with the shiny side facing toward the outer glass, as oriented in our repair guide.

Andrew Bookholt, · Reply

How to change the battery?

Are there yet any exchange batteries to buy?

Jamu, · Reply

So is the speaker in the 3G touch much higher quality than the one in the 2G? I have a 1G, and have always been jealous on principle, but after hearing the actual audio output from the 2G speaker, I was kind of nauseated.

MD5Hash, · Reply

Quote from MD5Hash:

So is the speaker in the 3G touch much higher quality than the one in the 2G? I have a 1G, and have always been jealous on principle, but after hearing the actual audio output from the 2G speaker, I was kind of nauseated.

I Have a 2G and the sound does suck, at the apple store, i played with a 3G For a while, and it was a little better, also, a little louder. but i didn't have my 2g to compare it.

Chris Green, · Reply

Wait. How is 1080mAh at 3.7v come out to be 2.92Whr ? Wouldn't that be 1.08*3.7=3.996Whr?

I think you hit the "2" key instead of "3" while calculating this, because 2.92 Whr / 2.7 V is 1.08 mAh, but as the battery is 3.7v, not 2.7v what you should have gotten is 790mAh

baq, · Reply

Wouldn't that be 789 mAh?

Neil81, · Reply

Quote from Neil81:

Wouldn't that be 789 mAh?

oops, I'm repeating someone else, sorry

Neil81, · Reply

Apple calls this generation of the touch the "late 2009" model.

babya, · Reply

Quote from baq:

Wait. How is 1080mAh at 3.7v come out to be 2.92Whr ? Wouldn't that be 1.08*3.7=3.996Whr?

I think you hit the "2" key instead of "3" while calculating this, because 2.92 Whr / 2.7 V is 1.08 mAh, but as the battery is 3.7v, not 2.7v what you should have gotten is 790mAh

You're right, I fixed my math. Thanks for pointing that out, and even figuring out what I did wrong.

Luke Soules, · Reply

No the chips did not melt, that's what is called 'underfill'. What you can see there, a simple but effective technologie enabling inproved reliability on chip solder joints for BGA chips. (ball grid arrays)

Henkie, · Reply

could they put a camera in there?

hihihi, · Reply

"We're not sure if that's just adhesive, or if the packages were actually slightly melted"

it looks like super glue!

bitkrieger, · Reply

Could be excess underfill or conformal coating.

rrrob, · Reply

Are the chips in the 3G iPod touch SLC or MLC?

MD5Hash, · Reply

I want an FM transmitter in my iPhone 3GS! That would rock...and roll?

Brady Cabe, · Reply

Quote from brady:

I want an FM transmitter in my iPhone 3GS! That would rock...and roll?

So the chip supports it. Is there an FM antenna path and swtich? The spec shows FM doesn't share the Bluetooth and WLAN RF path, namely because they operate in different frequency bands. If the RF path isn't there, it doesn't matter whether you enable the feature in software or not.

rrrob, · Reply

Was the broadcom chip's die damaged during the ipod's disassemble? Or it is like this (have something like an "hoke" in the right botton side of the die)?

fernandokreutz, · Reply

So, how do I get one of those 802.11n chips into my 3Gs?

geneh56, · Reply

If they have the 4329 in them then why don't the devices support the 5GHz radio band? The 5GHz band allows wide channels which would double the throughput and probably save battery life when using Wi-Fi so why aren't the idiots at Apple using that band? The only way to get that 50Mbps of actual throughput on a single stream 802.11n device is on a wide channel in the 5GHz band. Apple has always been so forward thinking in terms of Wi-Fi, why are they crippling this device? Is it because they were unwilling to change the industrial design in order to fit a dual-band antenna into it? If so, that's just plain stupid.

Francy, · Reply

Does the 8 GB touch include the 802.11n chip, or just the 32 and 64 GB models?

Phishy, · Reply

Quote from Francy:

If they have the 4329 in them then why don't the devices support the 5GHz radio band?

Reading the product brief, there are at least two versions of the BCM4329: the BCM4329H with 5GHz and 802.11a, and the BCM4329G without 802.11a and 5GHz. If you had a full datasheet, you could decode the entire part number, but I'm guessing the touch uses the BCM4329H.

DavidA1, · Reply

Quote from DavidA1:

I'm guessing the touch uses the BCM4329H.

I meant BCM4329G

DavidA1, · Reply

Quote from Phishy:

Does the 8 GB touch include the 802.11n chip, or just the 32 and 64 GB models?

I want to know this also because i would want to sell my 8gb touch and get the new 8gb touch if it has that stuff on it. Please let me know asap...

Kyle Churley, · Reply

I'm pretty sure apple put the video camera on the nano to help sell more nanos, and didn't put it on the iTouch so that people would have to buy the iPhone instead. It make sense if you think about it: before, nanos and touches didn't even compare. Putting a video camera on the nano makes it unique, and a lot of people will buy it for that reason. The iTouch pretty much sells itself, so they don't really need to upgrade it that much. They'd rather you buy the iPhone which would make them more money. That's my take on it anyway. Looks like I'll sit tight until the next iTouch is announced.

1comment, · Reply

I think it should be mentioned that, based on position and the "cutout" on the underside of the front bezel, this space looks like it was meant for a forward facing camera; which, as 1comment pointed out, would make it tough to sell the nano or iPhone on the basis of their cameras.

brd841, · Reply

That area could expand enough for a camera... apple will probably give it to samsung to do, just like every one else it seems.

Djmack, · Reply

Is the wireless antenna the little guy being held by the finger and thumb in this picture? Does bluetooth and wifi use the same antenna?

matt100psi, · Reply

I have an iPod Touch 3rd Gen and I was wondering: If I bought an iPod Nano, could I put the Nano's camera in my Touch, or is there not a connector for it?

Robert Smetana, · Reply

In your teardown, have you guys seen any place where a camera would connect to the logic board?

nofunsir, · Reply

... what is that connector on the left, the one with 34 pins?

nofunsir, · Reply

Quote from nofunsir:

... what is that connector on the left, the one with 34 pins?

Looks like the interface for the touchscreen (step 4).

rrrob, · Reply

Quote from nofunsir:

In your teardown, have you guys seen any place where a camera would connect to the logic board?

A camera could connect using as few as 4 pins (ie, USB). With that in mind, two things pop out: the 6-pin device to the left of the camera space (is it a connector?), or the 5 solder pads below it around the hole (do they already connect something?).

CityZ, · Reply

Quote from CityZ:

A camera could connect using as few as 4 pins (ie, USB). With that in mind, two things pop out: the 6-pin device to the left of the camera space (is it a connector?), or the 5 solder pads below it around the hole (do they already connect something?).

Most imager ICs use 8-10 lines for output data, 3 lines for output-synchronizing clocks (frame, row, & pixel), one line for the master input clock, two lines for an I2C command-control interface, two supply lines (one for the digital I/O voltage reference, another for the analog reference), and ground -- call it 20 lines. The Nano's imager connector matches that perfectly.

rrrob, · Reply

And yes, I'm aware of the MIPI and MDDI interfaces, but the parallel interface is predominant at present.

rrrob, · Reply

what type of microphone ?

Abe, · Reply

had enough of ipod touch hardware

Garey Fesz, · Reply

Does anybody know what is the tiny 6-pin ic? The 3mm line is pointing almost directly to it. It seems to be translucent, maybe some sort of sensor?

Jordsan, · Reply

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