Updated iPod Touch still tough to repair, iFixit says

Apple has refreshed its iPod Touch lineup, but repairing the new 16GB edition remains a challenge, according to an iFixit teardown.

ipod-touch.jpg
How fixable is the new 16GB iPod Touch? A new teardown reveals all. Apple

People who attempt to snoop through the innards of Apple's latest iPod Touch won't have an easy go of it, according to gadget-repair site iFixit.

On Thursday, Apple rejiggered the iPod Touch line by trimming the prices for the 16GB, 32GB, and 64GB models. The 16GB model dropped from $229 to $199, but also got custody of the same 5-megapixel iSight camera already in its two bigger siblings and snagged four additional color options.

Sales of the once-hot iPod Touch have plummeted in the wake of demand for the iPhone and iPad. So Apple's latest move is an attempt to revive consumer demand.

Whether the price cuts will drive average buyers to pick up more iPod Touch devices is the big question. But do-it-yourselfers and others who need to repair the new 16GB iPod Touch will encounter the same challenges that beset the previous versions.

Tearing apart the new Touch, the iFixit troupe had to use its infamous iSclack tool to pop open the cover in the best tradition of skilled clam schuckers.

The effort then got tricky because Apple has crammed a number of components onto a single cable. Specifically, all soldered together are the logic board, front-facing camera, battery, Lightning connector, headphone jack, speaker, and home button.

Peeking at the camera, iFixit found it similar to the one in the other fifth-generation iPod Touch devices, with a five-element lens and a hybrid infrared filter. The camera is capable of producing 5-megapixel photos as well as 1080p video at 30 frames per second.

After poking around the chips integrated into the device, iFixit came up with its final repairability score. And it's not a good one. The 2014 fifth-generation 16GB iPod Touch merits a grade of only 3 out of 10 (10 being the easiest to repair).

The dings against the new iPod Touch?

Opening the case and replacing parts are difficult though not impossible. Rather than rely on screws, Apple has used a combination of clips and adhesive to secure the case. Many of the parts are soldered together, a definite monkey wrench in case any one single part breaks and needs to be repaired or replaced. Finally, cables connected to the logic board snake over the top and connect at the bottom, so it's hard to disconnect the cables or remove the board itself.

The new and lower-cost iPod Touch may be a good deal for iOS users who want a solid music player. I once owned an iPod Touch and thought it was a great device. But you'll most certainly want to leave any repairs or internal tours to the experts.

About the author

Journalist, software trainer, and Web developer Lance Whitney writes columns and reviews for CNET, Computer Shopper, Microsoft TechNet, and other technology sites. His first book, "Windows 8 Five Minutes at a Time," was published by Wiley & Sons in November 2012.

 

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