Multi-touch iPod nano stripped bare
Get your heat gun and come inside
Photos Apple new sixth-generation iPod nano "is more like a Shuffle with a screen than a Nano with true multi-touch" says Kyle Wiens, CEO of iFixit, the parts-and-repairs website that glories in dissecting electronic devices to discover what makes them tick.
The sixth-generation kindasorta multi-touch iPod nano (source: Apple)
Wiens has a point. Apple's support page for the iPod nano indicates that the device supports only one multi-touch gesture: a two-finger screen-rotation.
He also notes, however, that "reliable sources" have informed him that Apple's internal docs suggest that the device has support for a pinch-to-zoom gesture. "Was this feature cut at the last minute?" he asks. "Could it be added back in with a software update?"
Despite the iPod nano's limited multi-touch capability, iFixit's teardown found a lot to like about the nano — and a few aspects less likable. The following are just a few images from their dissection, but you can find the entire 28-photo dismemberment here.
The nano's 1.54-inch, 240-by-240 pixel TFT display is glued onto the case
Removing the display from the case requires a heat gun to melt the glue which attaches it — a process that iFixit describes as being similar to how they opened up Apple's new fourth-generation iPod shuffle.
Interestingly, the display sticks out about 0.3mm above the case. Why? Weins speculates that Apple installed it thusly to make room for the nano's headphone jack. "Apple wanted to keep the device as thin as possible," he hypothesizes, "and the curvature of the edges would have forced the case to be thicker for a completely flush glass panel."
The tininess of the iPod nano's display may be why Apple omitted video playback from this model
iFixit notes that the display, like that of the iPhone 4 and the iPod touch, is a single unit with the touchscreen, TFT LCD, and protective front glass all "inseparably bonded."
The teardown also revealed that the display is exceptionally thin: 2.27mm, compared with the new iPod touch's 2.93mm display and the iPhone 4's 3.05mm unit.
The nano's battery is one component that's unfortunately soldered to the logic board
A number of internal nano-component ribbon cables — the display and headphone jack-power/volume-button cables, for example — aren't soldered on, but are instead attached by pop-off connectors. Connecting them this way makes the nano easier to repair — "Thank you Apple," say the device fixers at iFixit.
The nano's lithium-ion battery — the yellow item in the image above — is rated at 105 milliampere-hours, more than double the shuffle's 51mAh. iFixit surmises that the boost is needed to power the display — a reasonable assumption.
Not included in this group shot are the eleven screws that hold together various components
On a scale of one to ten, iFixit rates the sixth-generation iPod nano as a five when it comes to repairability. By comparison, they rated the new iPod shuffle a two and the new iPod touch a four.
Repairing something rather than simply tossing it away and buying a new shiny-shiny is iFixit's raison d'être. If you want to fix your stuff or contribute your own "fix-it-don't-toss-it" expertise, check out the company's crowd-sourced repair-guide collection. ®
Its a shame
It just seems like a massive step backwards for me. It's dad's birthday next month and he wants an iPod Nano. After the announcement I rushed out so I could ensure I got the current version because it is just a much better device. Bigger screen, video recording, video playback, OK so no touchscreen, but frankly I can't see the point in that on a device this small anyway.
What makes even less sense is for just a relatively small amount (£60) more you can go from this very basic music player to a full iPod Touch complete with HD video recording, Facetime, and the huge amount of apps on the marketplace. The new Nano just makes no sense :(
The screen is multi-touch capable.
Whether the firmware actually makes use of anything more than the two-fingered twist motion is irrelevant: it *can* do more if required, but Apple's design team are nothing if not minimalist.
Good design is mostly about what you leave out than what you put in. Adding features without any care about how people are supposed to use them is what's made Symbian and Windows Mobile / Phone such roaring successes. Oh, wait...
What purpose would pinch to zoom serve on a display that small? Does the writer of this article seriously believe there's a ton of money to be made in creating the world's smallest, fiddliest digital photo frame?
I think he means things like his cooker or microwave MR AC
"Apple new sixth-generation iPod touch "is more like a Shuffle with a screen than a Nano with true multi-touch"
It's a Nano isn't it? Maybe I'm wrong, I've been to the pub.
I don't know if it is so much that people want to watch video... but rather they would like to listen to things like podcasts that happen to be presented in video form.
It's like the news on TV... there is video but the video isn't essential, you can listen to the audio and get a similar benefit from it.