New Apple TV is surprisingly repairable

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Peering inside Apple's new set-top box.
Photo: iFixit

The new, fourth-generation Apple TV and its smart remote could be among the most repairable Apple devices in history, according to a new teardown carried out by our friends over at iFixit.

Given that Apple’s products are renowned for being almost impossible to take apart and repair at home, the iFixit crew’s surprise at the ease with which they can open up the new Apple TV reads a bit like that scene in an action movie where things seem quiet, almost too quiet — before a zombie horde lurches out of the darkness in search of brains.

To get into the Apple TV, iFixit notes that, “Only a few plastic clips stand in the way here, with no adhesive or screws in sight.” Once inside, they describe how the modular construction and relatively few major components simplifies repair. The power supply is a separate, replaceable component, while even the AC-in jack is modular.

The accompanying smart remote is held together with adhesive, although a wide gap makes it simple enough to pry apart. iFixit writes that, “The remote’s battery and Lightning cable are soldered together — but not to anything else, so they should be an inexpensive component to replace.”

The overall repairability score is a nigh-on unheard of 8 out of 10, with 10 being the easiest to repair.

Whether or not this is a one-off move on Apple’s part or the start of a new repair-oriented philosophy (I’m guessing the former) remains to be seen, but we should find out soon enough with the forthcoming iFixit iPhone 6s teardown.

The iFixit teardown also fills us in on a few more of the technical components of the device, for those readers into that sort of thing. Here’s what you can expect:

Apple A8 APL1011 SoC, with SK Hynix H9CKNNNBKTBRWR-NTH 2 GB LPDDR3 SDRAM
Universal Scientific Industrial 339S00045 Wi-Fi module
SMSC LAN9730 USB 2.0 to 10/100 Ethernet controller
Apple 338S00057 (similar part number to the 338S00055 custom memory controller found in the Retina MacBook 2015)
Texas Instruments PA61
Fairchild Semiconductor DF25AU 010D 030D
SK Hynix H2JTEG8VD1BMR 32 GB NAND Flash

And as for the smart remote:

ST Microelectronics STM32L 151QD ultra-low-power ARM Cortex-M3 MCU
Broadcom BCM5976C1KUB6G touch screen controller (as seen in the iPhone 5s/5c and iPad Air)
CSR (Qualcomm) CSR1010 Bluetooth radio
Texas Instruments TMS320C55 ultra-low-power digital signal processor
ST Microelectronics AS5C Y523

Source: iFixit