Tools Featured in this Teardown

Introduction

We got our hands on a brand-new 3rd Generation shuffle and wondered what was inside...

This teardown is not a repair guide. To repair your iPod shuffle 3rd Generation, use our service manual.

Image 1/2: The box is as dainty as its contents.
  • Here it is, in all its magnificent glory -- the new Shuffle! We'll post updates on twitter about interesting things that we discover as we go.

  • The box is as dainty as its contents.

  • According to Apple, the Shuffle has a "true volume" of 4,326 cubic millimeters and weighs in at 10.7 grams. A single MacBook Pro 17" weighs as much as 286 of these Shuffles.

  • Shameless plug: In addition to taking things apart, we also sell Mac and iPod parts and upgrades.

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Image 1/1: iPod Shuffle
  • Contents of the box:

    • iPod Shuffle

    • Apple Earphones (with in-line remote)

    • USB Cable

    • Quick Start guide

  • We gave it a quick listen before tearing it apart...

  • The controls are not as awkward as we expected, but we still prefer pushing buttons.

  • Compatibility does not appear to be this iPod's strong suit. We tried this iPod with a Shuffle 2nd Generation dock, but it doesn't fit. We tried the cable with a Shuffle 2nd Generation, and that didn't work either.

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Image 1/1: Can you pick the Shuffle out of this lineup?
  • The usual suspects.

  • Can you pick the Shuffle out of this lineup?

  • The Shuffle does not say iPod (or Shuffle) anywhere. As far as we know, this is the first iPod that Apple didn't label.

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Image 1/3: Interestingly enough, normal headphones can still be used to listen to music.  The only drawback: without Apple's proprietary headphone playback control, you will not be able to change songs or adjust the volume.
  • Upon connecting the shuffle to a computer, we learned that the voice-over feature must first be downloaded via iTunes.

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

  • The headphone playback control offers two buttons for volume control and a center button for playback control. The center button can be clicked once to play, twice for the next track, and three times for the previous track.

Have you disassembled the headphones with remote yet?

Have you figured out, how the buttons work? Do they work by connecting two lines with a resistor? Is it possible to add such a remote to other headphones?

lalala - Reply

Quote from lalala:

Have you disassembled the headphones with remote yet?

Have you figured out, how the buttons work? Do they work by connecting two lines with a resistor? Is it possible to add such a remote to other headphones?

lalala,

I've added a picture of the opened headphone buttons. Hopefully the picture answers some of your questions.

The entire headphone assembly is very frail. I assume that making your own adapter for use with aftermarket headphones would be a waste of time -- provided that Apple's adapter is not terribly expensive.

Miroslav Djuric - Reply

Hey Miro, another question: Inside those headphones does it appear there are any ICs or anything? There is a rumor going around that there is some sort of handshake or DRM that would prevent cloned headphones from working, but from your image they look simply like analog buttons. Is there something on the other side?

Joelev - Reply

In fact, we cracked ours open: there's a chip behind there. Now what does it do? http://gadgets.boingboing.net/2009/03/14...

Joelev - Reply

If the play button is on the proprietary earbuds cable, how does one play and pause the ipod shuffle 3rd gen with a third-party device? Does it just start playing as soon as you turn it on?

paulidin - Reply

Quote from paulidin:

If the play button is on the proprietary earbuds cable, how does one play and pause the ipod shuffle 3rd gen with a third-party device? Does it just start playing as soon as you turn it on?

The third party adapter would have to include the play/pause and volume up/down buttons, otherwise it would be of no value to the user. The player does start playing as soon as you turn it on, which is how we were able to test our non-shuffle earbuds without any adapter.

Miroslav Djuric - Reply

Image 1/2: Apple hasn't made their iPods easy to open lately, and unfortunately we don't expect things to change with this iPod.
  • On to the dismemberment...

  • Apple hasn't made their iPods easy to open lately, and unfortunately we don't expect things to change with this iPod.

  • We begin by inserting a metal spudger into a crevice between the rear cover and the rest of the shuffle.

  • Inserting the metal spudger creates a gap big enough to insert an iPod opening tool. We slide the iPod tool across the length of the gap to dislodge the left side of the rear cover.

  • Now that one side of the rear cover is fully dislodged, it's easy enough to use the iPod opening tool to dislodge the right side as well.

where did they put the serial number and "designed by Apple in California", "assebled in china"

timd - Reply

Quote from timd:

where did they put the serial number and "designed by Apple in California", "assebled in china"

That information can be found on the rear cover, underneath the belt clip.

Miroslav Djuric - Reply

Image 1/1: It's fairly easy to bend the rear cover even though it is made out of aluminum.
  • We're in. That wasn't too bad, but the shuffle isn't going to win any awards for easy serviceability.

  • It's fairly easy to bend the rear cover even though it is made out of aluminum.

  • There is a retaining tab on the top of the shuffle that prevents the rear cover from being pulled apart on the top side. The rear cover should be pulled apart from the iPod on the bottom side first.

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Image 1/1: Amazingly, at least on our scale, both halves weighed 5 grams. That means the entire functional half of the iPod weighs only about 10% more than a single sheet of [link|http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Letter_(paper_size)|letter size paper].
  • Is this the future? A single IC, a battery, and some user interface components.

  • Amazingly, at least on our scale, both halves weighed 5 grams. That means the entire functional half of the iPod weighs only about 10% more than a single sheet of letter size paper.

is the entire enclosure one block of aluminum or does it have the plastic caps like the older ipods?

0501701 - Reply

Quote from 0501701:

is the entire enclosure one block of aluminum or does it have the plastic caps like the older ipods?

The entire enclosure is made of aluminum. We had to access the internals in order to remove the rear cover, as there were no plastic caps to remove.

Miroslav Djuric - Reply

Image 1/1: We get lots of requests to add more [link|http://www.ifixit.com/pdf/54_ScrewGuide.pdf|screw guides]. Fortunately we don't need to make one for this iPod. Just don't drop the screw, and you'll be fine.
  • Remove the small Phillips screw. We won't waste our time circling it -- there's only one.

  • We get lots of requests to add more screw guides. Fortunately we don't need to make one for this iPod. Just don't drop the screw, and you'll be fine.

  • Don't let these pictures fool you, this iPod is very small.

Why do they not include the last part of the datamatrix? By a decode it should read:

TT90

86 9

03 F

1297

0073

Just one of those things I wondered about.

eddp - Reply

Image 1/3: The form factor of this iPod shares more similarities with the [guide|427|original iPod Shuffle] than its [guide|437|immediate predecessor].
  • Removing the internals. There's a single connector that attaches the logic board and battery to the rest of the iPod.

  • The form factor of this iPod shares more similarities with the original iPod Shuffle than its immediate predecessor.

Anyone know the vendor, part of type of connector welded to the flex and used to join the two halves of the electronics together?

marathon96 - Reply

Quote from marathon96:

Anyone know the vendor, part of type of connector welded to the flex and used to join the two halves of the electronics together?

It looks like it might be an Omron (or equivalent) board-to-FPC connector.

marathon96 - Reply

Image 1/1: This is not a surprise, but like all other Shuffles, the battery is soldered to the logic board. Apple does offer a [link|http://www.apple.com/support/ipod/service/prices/#us|battery replacement service], but $49 is pretty steep considering the entire iPod was only $79.
  • It's in three pieces now. There are not many parts in this iPod.

  • This is not a surprise, but like all other Shuffles, the battery is soldered to the logic board. Apple does offer a battery replacement service, but $49 is pretty steep considering the entire iPod was only $79.

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Image 1/3: The back of the casing is stamped 09/03/03. If that means March 3rd of 2009, then this Shuffle has been assembled for no more than nine days.
  • The headphone jack and shuffle switch come out as one unit.

  • The back of the casing is stamped 09/03/03. If that means March 3rd of 2009, then this Shuffle has been assembled for no more than nine days.

  • In the third picture, you can see the white translucent piece of plastic to the left of the headphone jack. This serves to transmit the the LED status light to the outside of the iPod.

It looks like there's some chipping to the anodizing around the edges.. do you think it will be possible to open these without the chipping?

dculberson - Reply

Quote from dculberson:

It looks like there's some chipping to the anodizing around the edges.. do you think it will be possible to open these without the chipping?

It's definitely possible -- but with a careful hand, patience, and advance knowledge of how the rear cover is held in place. For the First Look we had two of three. We had to pry the rear cover a bit more than necessary to figure out what mechanisms are holding it in place.

Miroslav Djuric - Reply

Any chance of a shot of the included headphones w/remote? I've yet to actually see those anywhere.

stickyc - Reply

Image 1/1: The 3.7 volt lithium-polymer battery lists a capacity of 0.27 watt-hours.
  • Apple's claimed battery life on this iPod is 10 hours. That's two hours less than the previous Shuffles.

  • The 3.7 volt lithium-polymer battery lists a capacity of 0.27 watt-hours.

  • To calculate the capacity in amp-hours, we know P(power) = I(amps)*V(volts), so I = P/V. That yields a capacity of about .073 amp-hours, or 73 mAh. That's definitely record-breakingly small in terms of iPod batteries.

perhaps place all three parts together facing up? because im confused of which part is which. Also, i understand that u guys arent complete with this guide yet

0501701 - Reply

Quote from 0501701:

perhaps place all three parts together facing up? because im confused of which part is which. Also, i understand that u guys arent complete with this guide yet

thanks (shown in step 14)

0501701 - Reply

That's almost not a battery any more - more like a capacitor! What's really amazing to me is that they get 10 hours of music out of 73 mAh. That's progress.

dculberson - Reply

Image 1/2: A quick look at the innards of the earbuds' controls -- nothing too exciting.
  • The primary (and only) chip, which is a multi-layered stack containing the CPU, RAM, and 4GB of flash memory. According to its markings, the chip was manufactured in week 7 (late February) of 2009.

  • A quick look at the innards of the earbuds' controls -- nothing too exciting.

Any chance we can get a wiring diagram of the earbud control in case we get tired of waiting for an adapter?

mkabala - Reply

Yes, please investigate the headset more if you could, would love a diagram and to see the other side of the button PCB. I have been really wanting to see more details about the remote with mic internals and if there are any chips involved. (not likely given the size)

Wiring schematic would be amazing seeing as there is no place online that provides them as of yet.

Gyro - Reply

Quote from Gyro:

Yes, please investigate the headset more if you could, would love a diagram and to see the other side of the button PCB. I have been really wanting to see more details about the remote with mic internals and if there are any chips involved. (not likely given the size)

Wiring schematic would be amazing seeing as there is no place online that provides them as of yet.

Yep, me too! The EFF is claiming that there is DRM in the remote interface, based on very weak evidence: the ilounge people heard some beeping and assumed it was some sort of DRM.

If pictures aren't easy to do, I'd like to know if there is an IC back there, or just a couple of resistors.

Thanks, and awesome work as usual!

http://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2009/03/app...

morcheeba - Reply

When you disassembled the headphone, did you notice any kind of authentication chip? There's a small brouhaha going on sparked by a reviewer on iLounge.com asserting that the an Apple authentication chip is required for the headphones to work with the new shuffle. I find it a little hard to believe that there is such a chip in the headphones, so just wondering if you saw anything unusual. Thanks.

HAL2009 - Reply

Quote from HAL2009:

When you disassembled the headphone, did you notice any kind of authentication chip? There's a small brouhaha going on sparked by a reviewer on iLounge.com asserting that the an Apple authentication chip is required for the headphones to work with the new shuffle. I find it a little hard to believe that there is such a chip in the headphones, so just wondering if you saw anything unusual. Thanks.

I came especially to ask this question. A lot of people are really interested to know this.

SamC - Reply

We just cracked it open and took a look. We have chip!

http://gadgets.boingboing.net/2009/03/14...

beschizza - Reply

Quote from beschizza:

We just cracked it open and took a look. We have chip!

http://gadgets.boingboing.net/2009/03/14...

HAL2009 - Reply

Sorry for the double post. Here's an article that says that the chip is just a control circuit chip. It is not used for DRM. A bit of a tempest in a teapot, eh?

http://www.ipodobserver.com/ipo/article/...

HAL2009 - Reply

Image 1/1: We found a dime in our shuffle.
  • The complete innards of the shuffle.

    • We found a dime in our shuffle.

    • Please don't open your shuffles to look for a dime. There was no dime in our shuffle.

umm, a larger picture and a picture with things flipped to the other sides maybe? i really love seeing this... THANKS.

0501701 - Reply

Quote from 0501701:

umm, a larger picture and a picture with things flipped to the other sides maybe? i really love seeing this... THANKS.

Here are the front and back high resolution shots of the main internals.

David Patierno - Reply

Why no shot of the back of the dime?

Quote from dave:

Here are the front and back high resolution shots of the main internals.

TowerTone - Reply

Quote from TowerTone:

Why no shot of the back of the dime?

I agree. Can you retake to include the back of the dime?

ultraluxe - Reply

Quote from ultraluxe:

I agree. Can you retake to include the back of the dime?

Come on guys, it's a first Look. Nice piece of kit anyway, i got an iphone but I'm still tempted to buy a Shuffe!

Kesh - Reply

One Comment

Please do not try these things at home because the iPod shuffle had no user serviceable parts take it to a apple store so they can fix it.

Paul - Reply

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