back to article Apple TV stripdown reveals mystery solder pads

Apple's new second-generation Apple TV is easy to take apart, easy to repair, and its guts may be poised for significant upgrades – or even double duty. Apple TV Apple TV: small, black, plastic, and containing the soul of an iPad So discovered the repair-heads at the tools, parts, and tips website iFixit when they …


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  1. Robert E A Harvey


    maybe Apple needed a test connector during development & proving? what more obvious than one they have as standard?

  2. BristolBachelor Gold badge

    Apple article indeed

    I was OK with: red, orange, yellow, but what is "lavender with a trace of mauve" or "teal with a hint of celadon" ??

    Someone has drunk the cool-aid. Quick get the antidote!

    1. Gene Poole

      Pedantry alert

      Hey man, it's "Kool-Aid", not "cool-aid", and there is no antidote!

    2. FarmerBob

      . . . but what is . . .


      Oh, by the way it's "Kool-Aid".

  3. ShaggyDoggy

    Not a TV

    Oh, so the "Apple TV" is not actually a TV - how disappointing.

    Just another set-top box, what the world needs for sure.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Colour chart and logic boards

    lavender with a trace of mauve:

    teal with a hint of celadon:

    I believe B&Q* can mix these for you. I'm think of painting colour-coded squares around all my electronic equipment.

    And future iPad logic board? Or just production line efficiencies?

    *Other paint mixing facilities may be available

    1. Code Monkey


      They can indeed mix them for you. Keeping a straight face while doing so may be asking too much

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Most guys get away with about 12 colour names

      The basic ones are red, green, blue, yellow, cyan, magenta, brown, purple, pink, orange, black and white.*

      Everything other colour is referenced against them. Like a dark red or a greeny-blue.

      *I know there are pedants who don't class black and white as colours, but that is missing the point.

      1. Adam 10
        Thumb Up

        12? Try 10!

        I just consulted a girl and they inform me that cyan is a sort of blue and magenta is a sort of purple.

        1. Mark 65

          Men and colours...

          Surely on a tech site they'd be limited to RGB and CMYK making 7 in total?

          1. Steven Knox

            Tech Colors

            Shurely that should be ARGB, for the sake of transparency?

          2. VeganVegan

            Three, really.

            RGB would be enough.

            CMY are the complements of RGB and can be computed from RGB. K is when RGB are all 0.

      2. Ian Moffatt 1

        Cyan? Magenta?

        What bloke wil use those names other than for ordering ink for a printer?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Can't really just use RGB

          As you'd need percentages or a 0-255 value to go with them.

          Ian, that's the only reason I put them in was for inky reasons. And they were on the old ZX Spectrum.

  5. Gangsta


    If it is a possible future iPad board then does that mean we may see a smaller iPad?

    (or has the current iPad got the same size board as this?)

    A smaller iPad would be brilliant for Apple - it would encourage more people to buy one ,for sure. (well relying on Price and Spec) - Oh no wait this is Apple.

    Oh and El Reg - you seem to have mentioned 8GB Flash RAM - surely that can get a bit confusing?

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Its Apple but ...

      >A smaller iPad would be brilliant for Apple - it would encourage more people to buy one ,for sure. >(well relying on Price and Spec) - Oh no wait this is Apple.

      ... but so far neither Dell nor Samsung etc have managed to produce a 9" tablet that really undercuts Apple. Dell - smaller but not much cheaper. Samsung - more expensive. RIM - no pricing and might not be out before iPad v2. Maybe HP can do it ....

    2. Anonymous Coward

      There already is a smaller iPad.

      It's called the "iPod Touch".

      1. Anonymous Coward


        you forgot one important thing.....

        nothing exists before apple says its exists and according to every crapple fanboi the iPAD is not a big iphone/ipod touch... therefore a small ipad the size of lets say a iphone, cant pissibly be a iphone.

    3. Ian Moffatt 1

      Smaller iPad?

      Isn't that an iPhone?

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Just like the original Mac Mini. That had unpopulated solder pads that looked like they would accomodate a dock connector, too.

    "Is the Mac Mini Apple's future 'smart' iPod Dock?" asked The Register.

    Answer: No

  7. Blane Bramble


    Spot on, they need to make an iPad that can fit in a shirt pocket, now *that* would be a useful device.

    1. Anonymous Coward


      Ooohhh!!! plus the ability to make phone calls! That would be brilliant!!

  8. Anonymous Coward

    Perhaps more likely

    Is they're using parts they know well and have solid supply contracts in place for? Simplfies the engineering and coding required to make the thing work and deliver it at a competitive price point I would've thought.

    Apple may be a lot of things but they're not stupid. If they were I don't think they'd be where they are now.

    Not a fanboi, just an observer (current Apple products = 0).


  9. Bilgepipe


    "Apple 338S0891 chip — no further identification provided"

    This is obviously the Lock-Down chip, which prevents users from "doing what they want" and which sends all your personal data directly to Steve Jobs for him to read and laugh at. The chip also controls users brains and is responsible for the Matrix sequels sucking so badly.

  10. DB2k


    "This might let you connect to USB-equipped computing devices and view content on a television connected to the Apple TV through its HDMI port."

    Well using Airplay you can put content from your phone or ipod onto the TV, and it already streams content from your Mac (and I assume PC) wirelessly, so what content are you referring to? Something like paid for streaming on your computer to port to your AppleTV?

  11. Newt_Othis


    Clearly the colours are magenta and cyan.

  12. JaytchH

    Bla bla bla

    IPhan, Lemon 4, Steve Jobs stole my bike, these monkeys will never learn, etc..

  13. Lottie


    I'm surprised at how dinky it is!

    Looks to me like the pads are there for the software development models. I'd say it's a fair bet that Apple are working on further revisions of iOS and it's probably easier to plug the testbed units into a USB socket to port the upgrades over for testing.

  14. Buzzword
    Paris Hilton

    Additional features unlocked by hacking?

    Bluetooth? FM transmitter & receiver? Neither of these are in the official Apple TV specs! I wonder whether the hacker group known as "dev team" will be able to unlock these features; and if so, what use might they be.

    Paris, because she too packs a lot of great features in a compact form-factor.

    1. Andrew 63

      Not an FM transmitter

      I doubt its a transmitter of FM. My N900 has a similar chip that has bluetooth and Fm chip on but its for reception only (and someone has made an app to use it too!). The transmitter is on a seperate chip.

  15. Kirstian K

    A Few of comments:

    1) didnt i read somewhere before there is an ipad mini coming out for xmas anyway?

    2) agreed with all comments about sharing components, makes perfect sense. but what about a screen-less ipad, with your own monitor??? future iTV maybe? works as a buisiness model!

    3) Joke: a smaller ipad that fits in your top pocket...., with a phone in would be amazing..!

  16. Anonymous Coward

    Common Hardware & Software

    I don't see what all the fuss is about. All of circuit design is based on designing functional blocks and stringing them together. Even in analog circuit design, this is the model (hence all inputs being high impedance, all outputs low impedance). It makes sense from both a hardware development and software development to create a common parts and functionality platform from which to spawn product variations. Apple TV & all of the iCrap are variations of the same thing - a small low-end CPU based computing platform. Obviously Apple would try to avoid reinventing the wheel for each of these products, when a common base platform affords huge cost and development savings.

  17. max allan

    Eco friendly???

    So if it's eco friendly, can we assume that they included the hours of processing time to convert from various common media types to Apple's own proprietary formats?

    As well as needing to leave something else switched on to stream the media to it.

    You could replace it with a bump on the wire and get your PC/MAC to "stream" HDMI to the bump and the bump can transmit it to the telly. Oh look, there's a set top box that needs no power at all.

  18. Anonymous Coward

    Solder pads

    Is 'solder pads' one of the phrases that Apple now owns?

  19. Him over there
    Jobs Horns


    I swear, if I worked for Apple, I'd make sure that I got extra bits of solder put onto every product, if it generates this much interest. Only Apple could have two pages of a tech site (plus what 29 pics on another) dedicated to an extra bit of solder. Get a grip, lads.

    1. Anonymous Coward


      so so true,

      but you still owe me a keyboard....

  20. LinkOfHyrule

    I misread Solder as Shoulder

    I thought this story was about the Apple TV sporting some secrete "Shoulder Pads" in some sort of '80s power-bitch fashion comeback!

  21. Anonymous Coward

    can it record?


    I fail to see the point of a TV box device that is incapable of scheduling and recording digital TV streams.

    For me - and many others - that's the whole point. That's why I built my own MythTV box.

    A box also capable of streaming any media you care to throw at it.

    Sure, power consumption is high & it needs a bit of TLC every now and then, but it *works*, it's *open* - in fact, it's awesome.

    Aside from form factor & looks, it *totally* wipes the floor with Apple TV.

  22. Vaughan 1

    More likely test interface

    Looking at the high res photos on iFixit of the dock connector pads it looks like they are used for bed of nails type testing during production as you can see clearly small needle like marks on each pad. This does make sense in that for development they can fit a dock connector to make things easy but then remove it in production, relying on a bed of nails setup.

    It also looks like the dock connector might clash with the screw hole beside it as the plug appears wider than the footprint for the connector.

  23. JaitcH
    Jobs Horns

    Early adopters short-changed again?

    Since this is a new product and the motherboard is unused by any other equipment (note copyright 2010) it is obvious that Apple has in mind it usual annual money-generating upgrade scheme as it has used over most of it's range.

    And Thank You, Register, for "Apple's standard 30-pin dock connector as is used on the iPhone/Pod/Pad" which correctly identifies the common Apple connector for what it is - an Apple standard.

    I noticed on a recent trip to ZenShen that non-Apple manufactured versions of these are available in the Chinese after-market parts catalogues for around $1.31 each in 10-piece quantities which is way less than what Apple charges for just the royalty fee's. Another thing to get Jobs excited.

  24. Robert Heffernan

    Makes Me Wonder...

    ...What would happen if you populated the connector and plugged it in.

  25. Anonymous Coward


    Thats pronounced with an 'L'! not like the rather disturbing anal activity.

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