Apple TV Teardown Reveals Upgraded Wireless, Single-Core A5

We’ve just torn down the 3rd Generation Apple TV, Apple’s streaming home theater device. During the teardown, we discovered that where there was one antenna, now there are two! We expect that Apple added the new antenna to address complaints about range and signal strength in the previous generation, and to help improve wireless speed—we also found a Broadcom 4330 chip inside that supports dual-band 2.4 GHz and 5GHz 802.11 a/b/g/n connectivity.

Logic board of the Apple TV 3rd generation

There’s also a brand new A5 processor. This is Apple’s first product with a single core A5—with half the processing power they ship in the dual core iPhone 4S—which we suspect means that Apple doesn’t have plans for this device to ever run apps from the App Store. The single-core A5 processor is also less expensive than a beefier dual-core would have been, helping Apple keep the Apple TV to $99.

Apple TV 3rd generation teardown

The 3rd Generation Apple TV has received an outstanding 8 out of 10 repairability score, thanks to its easy-to-disassemble case, separate power supply, and standard screws. On the heels of last week’s very difficult-to-open iPad (which we gave a 2 out of 10 repairability score), it was a relief to find snap-together parts and no gobs of glue.

Removing the logic board from the Apple TV 3rd Generation

Chips inside:

  • Apple A5 Single Core processor
  • Toshiba THGVX1G6D2HLA01 8GB NAND Flash
  • Broadcomm BCM4330 (appears to be the same chip in the iPad 3rd Generation).
  • SMSC LAN9730 standalone USB to ethernet controller

All the components are housed on the logic board, which means that if something breaks, it could be expensive to replace—unless you prefer to do board-level soldering.