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3G iPod touch has 802.11n Wi-Fi chip

updated 04:05 pm EDT, Fri September 11, 2009

iPod touch has Broadcom 11n part

Apple's new iPod touch has a partly neutered 802.11n Wi-Fi chip inside, according to a find by repair house iFixit. The media player is officially listed only as supporting 802.11g, but the Broadcom BCM4329 (PDF) chipset inside can technically use the much faster, 300Mbps maximum wireless standard. It also includes an FM transceiver and could theoretically support both radio stations as well as beaming audio to a car.

Unlike the "hidden" existence of Bluetooth in the second-generation iPod touch, however, the iPod touch trait isn't inherited from an iPhone released earlier in the year and thus isn't unlockable in similar devices. The iPhone 3GS has a feature-reduced Broadcom chipset limited to 802.11g by its hardware.

It's unknown why Apple has chosen to artificially limit the wireless speeds on the iPod touch. Throttling the player's speeds would prevent the iPod from cannibalizing iPhone sales, but 802.11n's increased bandwidth use also carries the possibilities of higher power consumption and heat in the confines of the thin case.

Other notable discoveries so far include a Samsung ARM processor whose model number suggests it's slightly different than that of the iPhone 3GS and whose flash memory is also made by Samsung.

by MacNN Staff



  1. iphonerulez

    Joined: Dec 1969


    So, the rumor of

    faulty camera modules might be true. I don't see what the advantage of using 802.11n except for maybe having a greater distance from a base station. I doubt if faster speed would have much of an impact on a device for general use such as streaming, with limited storage. It probably would be a drain on a battery that's already heavily taxed.

  1. Peter Bonte

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Network speeds

    The limiting factor i think is mainly the processor, the faster network protocol would needlessly drain the battery. The speed improvement in mixed networks environments is also minimal, it needs a pure n-network to work properly.

    This model is clearly a stopgap, i'm waiting for the next upgrade or buying the low end $199, at least the price is ok.

  1. testudo

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Of course 'n'

    Of course the chip supports 'n'. This is how Apple is going to make sure they can charge for iPhone OS 4.0 to iPod Touch users ('because they must charge to add hardware capabilities'). They'll enable 'n' speeds, along with whatever goodies they add to the OS. No one will care about the wifi, but will willingly fork over the cash for the other features.

    You know it was the magical turned-on bluetooth chip in the iPod 2Gs that caused Apple to charge $10 for it.

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