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Saturday, September 15, 2007, 07:00 am PT (10:00 am ET)

iPod touch tear-down with high-quality internal photos

Apple's sleek, touchscreen-based iPod Touch player looks a lot like the iPhone, but a fresh disassembly has revealed a surprising number of internal differences, including a more easily repairable display component.

Once again, props go out to iFixIt for being first to to the punch with its tear-down of the new Apple video player. The firm says it plans to sell replacement parts for the Touch, just as it does for other iPods, iPhones, and Apple's notebook lines.

The tear-down

At 8mm thick and 4.2 ounces, the iPod Touch is smaller and lighter than the iPhone, which measures 11.6mm and weighs in at 4.8 ounces. The Touch is also 0.2 inches (5 mm) shorter than its older cousin.

Similar to the new iPod nano, the Touch's rear panel is shiny (scratch-prone) aluminum and is secured to the face of the unit via metal tabs.

iPod Touch Teardown


iPod Touch Teardown


The iPod Touch doesn't need a large speaker or microphone, so the battery occupies a larger portion of the internals than the iPhone's battery.

iPod Touch Teardown


There are no wires connecting the rear panel to the iPod. Apple uses an elegant contact connection to make assembly and disassembly easier. (The circled points are contacts for the WiFi antenna.)

iPod Touch Teardown


The large, but thin battery is soldered to the logic board, like the iPhone and many of Apple's recent iPods.

iPod Touch Teardown


The iPod's huge touch-display lies beneath the battery, while the logic board is beneath the metal shield at the top of the image (under the 2D barcode). According to iFixIt, the Touch's battery is 54.0 x 64.1 x 2.8 mm, while the iPhone battery is 43.6 x 50.5 x 5.4 mm. That puts the volume of the Touch battery (9588 mm^3) at 81 percent of that of the iPhone (11780 mm^3).

iPod Touch Teardown


Near the top of the logic board, Apple has sandwiched several components, including a company-branded ARM chip and the stacked Toshiba — not Samsung — flash chips.

iPod Touch Teardown


Lifting the logic board up reveals a small antenna connect board that contacts the antenna.

iPod Touch Teardown


iPod Touch Teardown


In the below photo, iFixIt rotated the logic board upwards and used a spudger to pry up the printed circuit board (PCB) underneath the logic board. This board likely houses the components for processing touch screen input, the firm says. Also apparent from the image is a Foxconn stamp on the dock connector. Apple has used the Taiwanese manufacturer extensively to assemble its iPod lines.

iPod Touch Teardown


The Touch's display processing board is attached near the bottom of the primary logic board. The ribbon cables are soldered into each board, so you cannot easily replace just one of the boards . You can also see the headphone jack on the lower-right side of the logic board. Apple has decided to integrate it into the logic board, which may make repair more difficult, according to iFixIt.

iPod Touch Teardown


The image below shows the top of both boards. You can see the Wolfson chip to the left of the flash memory. This is interesting, notes iFixIt, because the iPod Classic has a Cirrus audio chip, which has caused some initial concerns about audio quality. The iPod touch should not suffer from these problems, the firm says, as the Wolfson chip is the same as that in the iPhone, WM8758BG.

The Toshiba flash has part # TH58NVG5D4CTG20. Since iFixIt's Touch model was an 8 GB iPod, each of those stacks has 32 Gb (4 GB) of memory.

The Apple-branded ARM has chip markings 339S0029ARM 8900B 0731 NOKCYY2, while the on-stack memory has markings K4X1GA53PE-XGC3 YME097N6 731. The K4 indicates this is Samsung memory, so iFixIt believes the chip is probably Samsung manufactured just like the iPhone.

A comparison of Touch and iPhone processor markings. Touch: 339S0029ARM 8900B; iPhone: 339S0030ARM 8900B (very similar) Touch: 0731 (manufactured week 31 of 2007) iPhone: 0719 (week 19 of 2007). Touch: NOKCYY2 iPhone: NOD4BZ02.

iFixIt says the last number is probably a lot id, which explains why they are so different. But in general, the iPod Touch and iPhone processors are very, very similar.

iPod Touch Teardown


The Touch's display attachment is completely different from the iPhone, and is attached to the front of the iPod by 16 Phillips #00 screws. On the iPhone, the display and front bezel are fused together with very strong adhesive which makes it impossible to separate the display from the from glass.

iFixit believes the Touch's display design will make for easier repairs, as removing the display is very doable. "The LCD just comes right out after you remove the screws."

iPod Touch Teardown


The touch-screen LCD picture on the left, and display bezel on the right.

iPod Touch Teardown


iFixit's iPod touch take-apart guide. iFixIt also recently tore down Apple's new iPod nano and iPod Classic.