5th Gen iPod touch Teardown: Sleek but Hard to Fix

With the fifth generation iPod touch just now making it into customer's hands, iFixit has already stripped one down to its frame to see what's inside. What they found was an Apple-designed A5 processor and an assembly that's extremely difficult to repair.

Simply opening the iPod touch to see what's inside involves a heat gun to loosen adhesives, and a series of clips helps keep the media player sealed tight, too. Once inside, it isn't any easier to get around thanks to soldered cables and more glued in parts.

Apple packed the inside of the new iPod touch tightApple packed the inside of the new iPod touch tight

"With no external screws, the Touch is tough to pry open, and its logic board utilizes two hard-to-manage ribbon cables: the battery, logic board, front camera, speaker, headphone jack, Lightning connector, and home button switch are all soldered onto one cable, while the volume buttons, power button, LED flash, and rear microphone are all attached to another cable," the iFixit team said.

Apple introduced the new iPod touch model during a media event on September 12. It sports a 4-inch Retina Display just like the iPhone 5, a Lightning connector, a 5 megapixel 1080p HD camera with LED flash, Bluetooth 4.0, dual band 802.11n WiFi, a thinner body, a built-in connector for a wrist strap, and is available with 32GB or 64GB storage.

The fifth generation iPod touch runs an A5 processor, includes 512MB system RAM, a 3.8 Whr 3.7 V battery rated at 1030 mAh, an STMicroelectronics three-axis gyroscope, Murata's 339S0171 WiFi module, and the 27AZ5R1 touchscreen system on a chip from Texas Instruments.

Along with how difficult repairs on the new touch will be, iFixit was disappointed with the Home button.

"In our recent iPhone 5 teardown, we praised Apple for redesigning a stronger home button," they said. "We were somewhat disappointed with the weaker, rubber-membrane design of the iPod touch's Home button."

THey added, "Repair is not impossible, but it's certainly going to be difficult and expensive if one component breaks. These factors combined earned the iPod a 3 out of 10 on our repairability scale (10 is easiest to repair)."

The fifth generation iPod touch is priced starting at US$299.