updated 05:00 pm EDT, Tue September 7, 2010
iPod shuffle 4G teardown reveals tight design
DIY repair shop iFixit today posted a teardown of the new iPod shuffle that reveals an extremely tight if limited construction. The device took about half an hour to pry open as the clip was both press-fit into the body and glued at the same time; while sturdy, it guaranteed that anyone would have to "break it" to open it. To save on space, Apple has also soldered the battery directly to the circuit board and uses very small connectors that could easily snap if the explorer isn't careful.
The design nonetheless revealed the sheer achievement of the design. It uses just an 0.19Whr (watt/hour) battery but can still manage 15 hours of battery life, or a full 50 percent more than the old version. Only one large chip, an ARM processor, dominates the circuit board; it comes Apple-badged and suggests the company might also be customizing its lesser ARM chips, not just the A4.
A finished teardown brought the conclusion that the new shuffle is virtually designed to be unrepairable but also difficult to break. At its $49 price, however, it's more likely to be cheaper for both Apple and the listener to replace the iPod outright rather than attempt a fix.