The Apple iPod For Windows Begins A New Legacy

Inside The iPod, Continued

With the battery removed, it is now possible to flip the Toshiba PCMCIA hard disk out of the iPod. The choice to use the Toshiba PCMCIA hard disk is not really a surprise. While there were other options (limited by size), such as the IBM Microdrive, the Toshiba PCMCIA hard disk appears to be a good choice for this form factor. The MK5002MAL from Toshiba offers quite a compelling case for use in the iPod. At a very light 55 grams, it nicely fits the weight requirements that Apple had targeted for the iPod.

The MK5002MAL uses a one disk/ two head design with an average access time of 15ms, which is more than enough to feed the 32 MB of cache found in the iPod. The drive spins at 4200 RPM, which is very impressive for a form factor that is this small. Toshiba rates the MK5002MAL with a five-year life, which means it should last as long as your iPod does. Currently, Toshiba offers this drive in 5 GB, 10 GB, and 20 GB sizes, which mirrors the same capacity sizes in which Apple offers the iPod. From what we have been told, the drive in the Windows version of the iPod is formatted using FAT32, so it might be possible to replace or clone the original iPod hard drive and replace it with a larger one. We found that these drives are difficult to get your hands on, and if you can, they are expensive, costing as much as a new iPod. At least for the moment, this will keep the upgraders away.

The iPod uses a standard Toshiba MK5002MAL PCMCIA hard drive. This would appear to be an excellent choice, as it does not weigh much and has a good level of performance for a device like the iPod. Photo courtesy of Harald van Arkel .

With the hard drive now out of the way, you get a look at the heart of the iPod, which is the all-important circuit board. As you can see, there isn't really much to see, due to the highly integrated and compact design of the iPod. One thing that we did notice is that the TI 1394 chip looks like it is one of the biggest chips on the board.

Once you peel the battery and hard drive out of the way, you get down to the heart of the matter, the main circuit board of the Apple iPod. We didn't really see a lot here, but it is obvious that pretty much all the space that is available is used, so it will be hard to shrink the iPod to make it any smaller. Photo courtesy of Harald van Arkel .
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