The new iPod Touch unveilled last week disappointingly lacks a video camera but it’s got an FM receiver, FM transmitter and 5GHz 802.11n wireless hidden under the hood...
The third-gen iPod Touch appears to have more features than Apple’s letting on – or at least, the potential for more features should a future firmware upgrade flick the digital switch.
A ‘teardown’ of the fresh-baked iPod Touch by iFixit
reveals the device contains a Broadcom chip which goes beyond the known 802.11g and Bluetooth wireless specs.
The chip, identified as Broadcom’s BCM4329, also contains high-speed and long-range 802.11n Wi-Fi capable of switching between the standard 2.4GHz and less cluttered 5GHz bands.
In addition, according to Broadcom’s own spec sheet
, there’s an integrated FM transmitter/receiver module.
Shhh... Apple's got a secret - the iPod Touch can do a lot more than it lets on!
While neither of these features have been activated on the iPod Touch, it’s useful to recall that the second-gen iPod Touch contained a similar Bluetooth-capable Broadcom chip which was was only fully activated after a US$10 upgrade to iPhone 3.0 software.
Apple doesn’t comment on unannounced products, undocumented features, specific technology inside its gear or pretty much anything else it doesn’t want to talk about.
However, the reasons for keeping 802.11n off the menu would seem fairly clear – the high-speed wireless protocol exacts a toll in reduced battery life.
Things are more murky for the dormant FM radio. Apple has often been criticised for not including an FM receiver in the iPod family – last week’s introduction of an FM radio in the new Nano is a first for the iPod in seven years since the iconic MP3 player debuted in 2002.
And FM transmitters for the iPod, which streams the iPod’s audio to a vacant channel on the FM radio band, remain a popular accessory made and sold by Apple’s third-party hardware partners. They’re no doubt be mighty narked if Apple suddenly built a low-power FM transmitter into the iPod.
Could jailbreak-style hacking unlock some of the hidden features of the new iPod Touch?
The iFixit teardown also revealed what many had suspected - that the internal redesign of the latest iPod Touch allows room for a video camera.
“There isn’t enough depth for an iPhone-style autofocus still camera, but just enough room for the camera that Apple used in the fifth-generation iPod Nano” reports iFixit’s Kyle Wiens, although he notes that the circuit board is missing the necessary header for the connection to a camera.
It was widely rumoured that both the Nano and Touch would pick up a camera in the last round of upgrades.
Speculation as to why the Touch missed out on this refit ranges from the impact of the added component on Apple’s profit to last-minute hardware problems and even a marketing decision to promote the Nano as Apple’s sole ‘pocket video camcorder’ outside of the iPhone 3GS.