Twelve years ago, the first iPod set sails to the open market with only 5GB of storage (capable of holding 1,000 songs) and a dream.
When other tech companies were enticing consumers with walkmans and MP3 players (remember these?), Apple had another idea in mind. One pocket device, for all your audio media needs. History was made when Apple partnered up with Toshiba in 2001, creating a 1.8-inch hard drive with a 5GB capacity – aka the first iPod.
What did you used to do when your iPod broke? Throwing it away was probably on your list of options. With Apple’s lack of proper design for disassembly, they make devices hard to repair but easy to throw in the trash.
How has design for disassembly changed in Apple products throughout the years?
2001 iPod Original
The teardown by iFixit for this device was not conducted until years after its release, so the information provided was a little lacking. What they did discover is, unlike other iPods where the battery takes up the majority of the space, the hard drive is king in the classic iPod. The logic board is secured to the metal frame by two screws and the battery is adhered to the hard drive by two sticky strips making it simple to remove. Decent design for disassembly tactic.
Now, frames are beginning to be glued in with a light adhesives, requiring prying and a heat-gun. A little tip from iFixit: “aluminum gets hot when it’s heated!” The Li-ion battery is soldered to the logic board, making repair and refurbishment extremely difficult.
The iPod Nano contains a lot of glue to hold everything together and even warns the user parts may melt or catch fire if exposed to excessive heat.
It took less than a minute for the guys at iFixit to soften the adhesive surrounding the framework enough to pry it open. What they immediately found were clips and more adhesive keeping the iPod Touch together. The battery connections were soldered to the battery, which was glued to the logic board. Who are they trying to keep out of these things?
Overall, Apple products continue to use hard to recycle materials, making repair and refurbishment not only difficult, but overly expensive for electronics recyclers like HOBI International.
More design for disassembly and less glue, please!