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4th Gen Apple TV teardown reveals impressive simplicity

At less than two months from the official release of the 4th generation Apple TV, tech website iFixit was able to come by, and promptly disassemble a unit, for our viewing pleasure.

The new Apple TV has a larger footprint than any previous iteration of this device. The higher price is also another indication that the 2015 version of this set top box, packs some serious punch.

4th gen Apple TV

Powered by a dual core 64-bit A8 CPU, Apple TV features improved Wi-Fi, with new 802.11a/b/g/n/ac hardware, HDMI 1.4 and Bluetooth 4.0. Other than that, Apple TV’s ports and connectors are unchanged, except for the missing audio jack, and for the original USB port, now replaced by a USB-C connector.

Delving further into the device, Apple TV reveals the Apple A8 System-on-Chip, on the same logic board as the integrated 2GB LPDDR3 SDRAM chip, and the Universal Scientific Industrial Wi-Fi receiver. The LAN controller and the same custom memory controller part number found on the 2015 12 inch MacBook Retina, are also included on the same circuit board.

At the bottom of the logic board there are more little surprises, as iFixit reveals, such as the 32GB NAND Flash storage module.

This new set top box’s big selling point is that for the first time, Apple TV can be enjoyed as a gaming device, which means that this device will likely stay on for extended periods of time, which in turns promises to generate a fair amount of heat. This explains the size of the heat sink, which fits directly below the logic board. The heat sink also integrates the power supply, and the most interesting thing about it is that there is no cables, anywhere in the unit.

The lack of wiring suggests that Apple has gone through the usual lengths in order to build a unit that is as slick on the outside, as it is on the inside, which reminds of how older Macs used to be, with minimal internal wiring, and almost modular design.

The great thing about the Apple TV comes also in the form of its brand new remote, which features a removable battery, much like other iOS devices. Speaking of the removable battery, the component comes with the lighting port soldered in, which isn’t a big deal, as the lightning port is not soldered to the logic board. It seems that Apple certainly took its time designing the new set top box in such a way that it would be as easy to repair as possible.

The new Apple remote appears to share some similarities with the iPhone 5S, 5C, and iPad Air, featuring the same touchscreen controller.

Overall, the device looks impressive inside and out, and one of the greatest features is that it runs a full version of iOS 9, with access to more apps and games than its predecessor.

There is no word yet of when Apple will finally announce its own subscription service, which seems to be still a long way ahead, but for the moment, the new Apple TV offers an impressive volume of streaming apps and entertainment, to rival most of the content offered by pay TV providers.

We’ll be watching.

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