A Peek Inside the iPod Touch 5th Generation

October 20, 2011 Hardware, Site News, Teardowns — jake

It’s easy to overlook that a “new” iPod Touch recently came out of Apple HQ, especially since all the craziness of the iPhone 4S launch is still in full effect. We say “new” in quotes because we learned our lesson with the “new” Nano that was also released the same day — our teardown showed the Nano’s internals were almost identical to the previous year’s model.

After last year’s 4th Generation Touch brought such awesome upgrades — Apple A4 system-on-a-chip, 3-axis gyroscope, two cameras, and Biggest Loser-esque weight loss — we were more than eager to see what the 5th Generation would bring. So what does this year’s Touch have in store?

After close examination, we confirmed that the front panel is, in fact, white. +1 for us. So far so good.

And… that’s about it. To our dismay there is not much else different between the iPod Touch released last year and the one released last week. The disassembly process is identical to that shown in the 4th Generation Teardown, and all of the internals appear to be the same as well. Even the repair-unfriendly ribbon cable connecting the soldered volume buttons to the logic board is right where Apple left it.

Though we observed no drastic changes to the Touch’s innards, we proceded to closely examine the logic board:

 

Notable differences between the 4th Generation and 5th Generation iPod Touch logic boards include the following:

  • Possible upgrade to the WiFi/Bluetooth chip package by Murata with part number RV KM1721006
  • New markings VT1K3441AQ on the A4 chip, whereas last year’s A4 had K4X2G643GE markings
  • New gyroscope with markings AGD8 2131
  • 2129 33DH chip next to the gyroscope seems to have been packaged in the same die with the gyroscope in last year’s Touch

Even though this year’s iPod Touch yielded only minimal changes, we wouldn’t want to rob anyone of a nice layout shot, so here you go:

We’re quite hopeful that next year Apple releases a “Midas Touch” version of the music player, encased in solid gold. They can keep all the hardware the same and just call it “new” again!

iFixit on your iPhone

October 18, 2011 Repair Guides, Site News — Matt

The days of lugging around clunky service manuals are coming to a close. We need our documentation to be as mobile as we are. We need to be able to get into tight spots without having to flip pages. And we need to be able to travel without having to bring a library of documentation with us.

We at iFixit heartily believe that our manuals should keep pace with our mobility; we’ve worked ’round the clock to make this belief a reality. You’ve tasted the first fruits of our labor a while back: the iFixit App for the iPad, as well as one for the HP Touchpad.

We’re excited to announce that the iFixit app is now available for the iPhone and iPod Touch as well! Access all of our guides in a stunning native view wherever you go. You can search by device to find all related guides quickly and easily… But it gets better.

The new app now lets you browse iFixit repair guides even if you’re offline. Just favorite or bookmark a guide and it will be downloaded to your iDevice for offline use. So the next time you need to change the spark plugs on your hog out in the Mojave and you don’t have internet access, you needn’t fear. You have a library of repair in your pocket — but without all the heft.

iPhone screenshots of an iPad battery replacement guide.

iPhone screenshots of an iPad battery replacement guide.

iPhone 4S Camera Made by Sony

October 14, 2011 Hardware, Site News, Teardowns — Miro

Chipworks definitely has some fancy equipment inside their labs. They took apart one of their iPhone 4S units this morning (using our teardown for guidance, of course) and tossed the 8MP camera directly under an infrared microscope to find out the manufacturer.

The infrared microscope allowed them to look through the whole structure down to the base layer. They saw die markings several layers below the surface.

So what did they see? S O N Y.

The pictures below are of the Sony designation inside the camera. Note that the camera itself is significantly smaller than a dime.

"Sony" spelled out nice and clearly

"Sony" spelled out nice and clearly

 

X-ray cross-section of the 8MP Sony camera

X-ray cross-section of the 8MP Sony camera

You can read more info on the camera discovery straight from the horse’s mouth, or check out more awesome hi-res images of the iPhone 4S innards on our teardown. There is no third option.

iPhone 4S Teardown

October 14, 2011 Hardware, Site News, Teardowns — Miro

We sent our henchmen around the world to track down the elusive iPhone 4S, and they found it. With the help of an iFixit user hailing from Germany, Markus Weiher, the iFixit team successfully dismantled Apple’s latest creation. Not even Siri’s incessant urgings and warnings were enough to deter our team from dissecting it!

If you’re one of the billions who’s pre-ordered this phone and you want to peek inside, follow our teardown guide and see for yourself. All you need is a spudger, a Phillips #00 screwdriver, a Pentalobe screwdriver, and the will to explore. Leave your warranty at the door — you won’t need it where you’re going.

Opening the 4S was no more (nor less) challenging than the iPhone 4. We’re always pleased to find a limited amount of adhesive in our patients, and easily removable rear panels are always a plus. However, the same pesky proprietary screws are present, and it’s never a joy to encounter fused (read: expensive to replace) displays. All things considered, the new iPhone 4S isn’t any easier or harder to repair than last year’s model, so it gets the same 6 out of 10 repair score as the previous-gen iPhone 4.

Teardown highlights:

  • Pentalobe screws, again? We were hoping there would be something new to keep us out this year, but it seems that our familiar five-sided friends have not moved far from their home at the bottom of the iPhone 4S. A couple quick turns with our 5-Point Pentalobe screwdriver and out they come!
  • Look closely… closer… there it is: an extra .05 watt-hours in the battery over the iPhone 4! That small change gives you an extra hour of talk time on 3G, but 100 hours less standby time. Go figure.
  • In true iFixit fashion, we removed the EMI shields for your viewing pleasure. The logic board now bares its electronic soul:
  • Apple A5 dual-core processor with 512 MB RAM
  • Toshiba THGVX1G7D2GLA08 16 GB NAND flash memory
  • Qualcomm MDM6610 baseband chipset
  • Qualcomm PM8028 power management IC
  • Qualcomm RTR8605 Multi-band/mode RF transceiver
  • Murata SW SS1830010. We suspect that this package contains the Broadcom chip that reportedly provides Wi-Fi/Bluetooth connectivity, just like in some of the past teardowns.
  • Skyworks 77464-20 load-insensitive power amplifier (LIPA) module developed for WCDMA applications
  • Avago ACPM-7181 power amplifier
  • TriQuint TQM9M9030 multi-mode quad-band power amplifier module
  • TriQuint TQM66052 (possibly a PA-duplexer module)
  • Mysterious Apple chip with markings 338S0987 B0FL1129 SGP
  • Oh hey, what’s this? According to Chipworks, our German iPhone has Samsung DDR2 RAM (K3P markings on the A5 processor), while our Australian iPhone 4S contains Elpida DDR2 RAM (B40 markings on the A5 processor)!
  • We noted that the Verizon and AT&T iPhone 4’s display assemblies had different mounting tab locations. While most of the 4S has resembled the CDMA iPhone 4, the display assembly appears to be the same as the one found in the GSM version.
  • It appears that Apple elected to go with the linear oscillating vibrator that we found in the Verizon iPhone 4, as opposed to the rotational electric motor with counterweight in the AT&T version. This vibrator motor is quieter, softer, and all-around less annoying than its counter-weighted predecessor.
  • We noticed several white and red liquid indicator strips placed throughout the phone. So don’t let your friends pee on it! (No, seriously)
  • Good news: not a single trace of any Cyberdyne Systems components were found… it seems for the time being our judgment day is not upon us.
Removing the 8MP camera

Removing the 8MP camera

 

Final layout

Final layout