Nikkei Electronics has examined the "iPod nano" portable audio player recently announced by Apple Computer, Inc. We tore down a 2 GB model.
The iPod nano is packed with a plastic upper case featuring an LCD and a stainless case on the back. These cases are jointed together tightly using ten tabs and concave areas, respectively formed on each case. Like the previous iPod, the new nano also has no seam between the cases. We had to struggle for 15 minutes, sticking a straight slot screwdriver into the chassis from the connector part, before we were finally able to open it.
The printed wiring board (PWB) includes a number of embedded multipurpose chips, including a codec LSI manufactured by Wolfson Microelectronics plc. of the UK, a power control IC manufactured by Royal Philips Electronics of the Netherlands and a flash memory controller IC from Silicon Storage Technology, Inc. The microcontroller was PortalPlayer, Inc.'s product, the same as the one used in the current iPod.
The iPod nano uses plenty of 0603 components for many passive components such as a coil. The 0603 components are very compact passive components, measuring only 0.6 x 0.3 mm. Since it is difficult to mount them on a substrate, 0603 components are just only about to join the mainstream even in mobile phones that require a severe reduction in weight, thickness, length and size. The manufacturer of the flash memory is Toshiba Corp. However, according to a report, Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd.'s product is also used in the 4 GB model. Apple apparently purchases flash memory products from these two companies.